Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is It Live Or Is it Mucinex?

Right around Thanksgiving R brought home a flu like bug. For the next six weeks we proceeded to pass it back and forth. I was beginning to think I was never going to get over it completely. But I finally did.

About a week and a half ago I was in the grocery store and the woman and child behind me were coughing and sneezing and sure enough...being the human petrie dish I am thanks to asthma, I have it again. I have spent about 36 of the last 48 hours in bed asleep.

It comes with a wracking cough so violent that I actually had things start to swim in front of my vision a couple times. Thankfully I never passed out completely. But it's been brutal on my shoulder problem because every time I do cough it bunches those muscles up compounding my problem. Mucinex has been a life saver through this ordeal. I wasn't even aware the stuff existed before the last bout I had with this thing.

The only downside of it is that for some inexplicable reason it causes me to have the most vivid and weird dreams. Even stranger is that many of the dreams have one component in common. I always wake up and then something else happens, but I am not really awake. It's all within the framework of the dream. Then I do wake up and wonder if it was real or not.

Last night I had several of these dreams...I think. The first one I woke up and heard a trickle of water in the bedroom. But then I really woke up and fumbled around in the dark running my foot over the carpet to try to find a wet spot to see where the water was. Of course there wasn't any.

In the second one I woke up and could hear people talking, but I couldn't tell what they were saying. The odd thing was when I woke up for real the cat was growling. So maybe there really were people talking somewhere outside in the dark? She has a habit of growling at people outside.

The third dream was the most alarming, because I don't know for sure if it was a dream or it really happened. I woke up with a sharp searing pain in the left side of my chest. The thing is I only woke up once and I then the pain subsided and I went back to sleep. So I don't know if I really had the pain or not? Nor do I know if I really woke up or if I just dreamt that I woke up? I have been mildly concerned over it all day long. If I did in fact have the pain, was it related to my shoulder? I haven't had any other pains like that ever. If it was real should I be going to the doctor to have something checked?

I finally had one last dream much later in the morning where I heard people talking again, this time downstairs. At first I thought it was the phone. I have a phone downstairs that tells me who is calling, but then I remembered I took the phone off the hook so I could sleep. I am pretty sure that was just a dream. In fact, now that I think about it, people talking seems to be another common thing I dream while taking Mucinex.

While it's great to suppress the cough for the most part, not being able to discern between what's real and what's not is disconcerting.

I hope I am not dreaming this...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Customer Service

Anytime you order anything online it can be a risky proposition. It can be even riskier when you order from an individual crafter or cottage industry. I have always been big on customer service for my own business. I like to let people know what's going on with their order, when it's being shipped, etc. I think as a business woman it's my responsibility and I like to try to treat people how I want to be treated as a customer.

Unfortunately I haven't always had the same courtesy extended to me when I have been the customer. Sometimes even from well established and popular people in the industry. When that occurs I choose not to purchase from them again even if they have something else I might really like.

Today though, I want to tell you about Sally Jean. You have probably seen her work, but if you haven't, she makes cute pendants with glass and sterling solder that house vintage scrapbook type images. I had made a purchase before Christmas that arrived without incident. So I decided to make another purchase for Valentines Day. My order didn't arrive and didn't arrive, so I sent a polite note. I wasn't upset, because I understand that sometimes things simply go awry. I was just wondering where it had gotten to. They sent it straight away and it arrived a couple days later. When it arrived there was another little issue with one of the pieces I purchased so, again...not upset I sent another polite little note asking how to return it for an exchange.

I have to tell you, I received a response in record time! The matter was handled so expediently and without much effort on my part. (I really appreciate that since I am so busy!) This ladies and gentlemen is customer service at it's finest! Despite the issues with the order I wouldn't hesitate to order again. I am sure it was an isolated incident and their level of professionalism was great!

I think good customer service is something we should all strive for. It's heart warming to know that there are people out there who still do, and who still care that we are spending our hard earned dollars with them!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Curious Questions

I just got back from a fun filled afternoon of x-rays, poking and prodding at the doctor's. I didn't quite get as definitive of answers as I would have liked, but at least I know what it's not. I guess that's good right?

Over the course of my outing, I found myself wondering about a few things just for the entertainment value.

Life is full of many mysteries, and these are a couple I contemplated:

Why do they ask you "How are you today?" when you go into the doctors office? Isn't that a little redundant...if you were fine you wouldn't be there.

As I left the building I found myself wondering why it is that no matter where I park, there are always minivans and SUV's on either side of my little car when I am ready to leave...making it impossible to see if anyone is coming? Do they train drivers of big obnoxious vehicles to do that at the dealership when they buy them?

On my way home I grabbed a burger and a salad, which led me to wonder why is it that many vegetarians won't eat meat because it comes from an animal which is alive, but yet they have no qualms about eating plants which are also alive and have been proven to feel a certain amount of pain as well when they are harvested? Plants also have a certain amount of cognition. In fact there was once a case where a plant solved a murder by hooking it up to a lie detector. (Yes really, if you don't believe me...I am sure you can find it on Google.)

I have a great many other things I find puzzling and wonder about, but those are the ones that came up today. On that note I am going to go ice my shoulder.


They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. While I can understand where this notion comes from, I can't quite say I agree. Most people that have this happen, not only feel less than flattered, but they also feel a little violated.

I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt and think that if they came up with something around the general time that another person did, it wasn't a case of one copying the other. Often we are influenced by outside sources and what is popular in society at any given time without realizing it. Lets face it there are no new ideas under the sun, there is bound to be overlapping ideas when it comes to artwork. However where there are too many similarities there can be little doubt.

I was rather disappointed when someone directed me to the fact that another artist had copied something I had done. It wasn't a bear, but instead it was some of my online work. I had worked very hard for many days to make something interesting and unique that wasn't the mainstream concept, and I know for an absolute fact my work existed first.

I guess I should try to be happy that they liked what I had done so much they chose to use my concept for their own purposes. Try as hard as I might to feel that way, I find I am having a little trouble with that though...

Love And Hearts Treasury

My Strawberry Heart was featured by CrochetBouquet in a great Valentine themed treasury tonight!

You can go have a look at it here:
Love And Hearts Treasury

Don't forget to stop by CrochetBouquet's shop and check out her items. Among other things she has some really pretty flower bouquet's that will never die. They would make the perfect gift for someone special in your life!

Crochet Bouquet

Monday, January 26, 2009

Calling All My Lollishops Friends

This weekend the Lollishops Guild was gone in the blink of an eye without any forewarning so we could save information. I think we are all left feeling a little bit like bereft, straggler survivors after our city was destroyed in a disaster because we didn't have a chance to salvage anything.

I feel extremely sad about the loss of my friends list because I have no idea how to stay in touch with many of those people. I knew so many of you by name and not business name. It never occurred to me it wasn't going to always be there, so I didn't think to save that information. I will know better next time. So if you see this please post a comment or send me an e-mail to I don't want to lose the friendships I have made because you are all very special people.

Hugs to you all! Kelly

Works Of Heart Blog Award

I was thinking about blog awards, they are nice. They make people feel special to be recognized for what they put in their blogs. I think everyone needs to feel special once in a while. So I decided to make one of my own to pass out.

The Works Of Heart award is for people who put their heart and soul into their work, their words and/or their kindness to others. As I pass it out, I will put the names of the people who receive it below.

It's going to be an ongoing project and the people who receive it may feel free to pass it on to two more people if they so choose.

The first person I want to give it to is Treasurefield because she is so kind hearted, makes amazing fun things, and is an inspiration to all!

The next person I want to give it to is Glass Dragon Bears because Bettina is so hard working and make utterly adorable bears, but she always takes time to work towards the greater good of all bear artists. She really deserves this award!

I think Teddies By Laura Lynn deserves it as well. She is kind hearted, friendly and makes such cute bears!

I want to give it to Jenny Love Benny because she (unknowingly) gave me the final push I needed to do this. I had been thinking about it for a while, but when she gave me a blog award it felt so nice I wanted to spread that feeling. Plus her work is the personification of cute! She definitely deserves it!

I want to give this award to Jenny at Crafty Goodness. She has always gone out of her way to help people, give kind words of support, and her artwork is truly amazing and I am sure everyone on the planet is going to be aware of it before it's all over.

How nice...both Jenny's presented my award back to me! Isn't that sweet of them!

I presented Ginger at Bearbits with it today. She is new to blogging but she has gotten the hang of it quite quickly. I love her blog, you should check it out!

To Janice at Jigpaws. She is just as sweet as her bears...and that's saying a lot because they are really sweet!

And to Tammy at Dolls N Dreams because she is always so kind, a great animal lover and makes wonderful fantasy bears!

Holly at Haute Country Vintage definitely deserves it! I thought I had already given it to her.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Etsy's Favorite Colors Treasury

Meezi had the honor of being featured in a treasury by CrochetandCrafts today.

You can visit it here:

Treasury Link

Also don't forget to stop by CrochetandCrafts shop and visit her lovely items!

Crochet And Crafts

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Getting Mad

All of us have witnessed an exchange where someone has been really mad about something and another person says the inevitable phrase; "I don't see why you're so upset over this."

I rarely get mad. I am not mad now, so don't think that's what this post is about. I, and many other people get accused of being mad when in fact we are not a lot on the internet because people can't hear how things are said. I have mentioned before there is an odd perception on the internet to think in extremes. People seem to sometimes forget there are other emotions between really happy and really angry when they read in black and white.

But when people do get genuinely mad, why are they mad? Think for a moment about the last time you got mad. What made you mad? Why were you angry about that particular thing?

Lets take a hypothetical situation for a moment. Suppose you get up and you're reading the newspaper over coffee. You read that 9 homes have been burglarized this week by someone who breaks in at night while the occupants are sleeping and robs them. As you read the article you have a flash of compassion for the people who were robbed. You feel bad that they lost their stuff, think to yourself that you hope the cops catch the guy soon, then turn to the sports page and continue reading without giving it much more thought.

20 minutes later your dear sweet elderly Mother calls and says she was one of the people who were robbed. You are outraged, you hope your Mother is ok, you fear for her safety, you want to know WHY the police haven't hunted this character down yet. How dare he go around breaking into innocent people's homes and making them feel violated. You are mad at the theif, you're mad at the police, you're mad because you feel helpless to do anything about the situation, you're mad in general!

So what changed? The answer is obvious right? It's because it became personal. But why is it personal? It's because you care about your Mother. It's not that you didn't care about the other people when you read about it, but you don't know them. So to a degree you're apathetic because it's hard to put a lot of effort or emotion into something that you have no concept of or doesn't relate to you in some way.

I have found that when people get mad as a rule they aren't getting mad just to cause a big drama. Sure I suppose a few individuals feed off of the limelight in that way, but for most of us we don't put emotion over something out there unless it means a great deal to us.

You get mad at family members when they do something you percieve as harmful to themselves or others, you want that person to be the very best and safest they can be because you love them. You get mad about job related issues because you want to succeed in business and you want the business as a whole to succeed. Anger stems from fear and caring.

The next time you see someone getting mad about something, maybe the best course of action would be to pause for a moment and think about what their motivation is. If they are mad at you, don't retaliate. Don't try to get even. Just think about it, try to help them. Because ultimately they may be trying to help you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Playing Favorites

You may have heard at some point that everything in the universe can be broken down to a mathematical equation. But did you wonder how that is possible? You might be surprised.

Take the things you prefer more than others for instance. Why do you have a favorite color, piece of music, pair of shoes or anything else for that matter? Why do people have different preferences over one another? It all comes back to that mathematical equation. Every single thing in the universe is comprised of energy. Energy vibrates. Every thing vibrates at a different frequency. We are most drawn to the things that vibrate closest to our own frequency. That is why not everyone shares the same favorites or taste in things.

But what happens when you run a business? Of course we are going to gravitate to things we like, but in order to run a successful business we have to be able to stick within our niche and yet sell things that appeal to more people than ourselves. For instance I am not partial to purple, but a lot of people like it so sometimes I accessorize bears in purple, make them in shades of purple and I even made a purple monkey once.

As you know if you have been reading my blog at all, I have been studying handmade online selling venues for a while now. I sell through several of them along with my website. Today however I was viewing them from the other side of the fence as a consumer.

Etsy has created some new gift guides for Valentines Day. At first when they created the Christmas ones I was pretty enthralled. Then I noticed so many repeat sellers, many of which sell the types of things that don't appeal to me. But here we had a new holiday and new gift guides so I figured they would have new vendors. I was wrong. A lot of what they put up was the same stuff from the same people. Etsy claims to have 250,000 why am I as a customer seeing the same ole same ole all over again? Especially when the seller is in multiple gift guides and the front page at the same time? Is it lack of staff to go out and look for more vendors, is it laziness or do they think they really are featuring what every single customer wants to buy? In the end it seems like they would be losing out on new customers and a lot more money that could be made. I realized I was simply bored looking at these same types of items for sale and left.

I moved on to the next site, and the next and the next only to discover that everything I found was predictable on each one. While each one has a different set of things they seem to favor, I knew what I was going to see on each one even before I got there. If I want to see the same types of items, I will just go to individuals websites that have things I like and not waste my time rifling through the pages and pages of featured stuff.

I have heard sellers over the months say they felt it was unfair to keep featuring the same people over and over again. But what about the customers? Are they looking at these sites and seeing the same thing over and over and leaving? If so what about the rest of the hard working sellers on the sites that aren't getting any feature time? What if one of them had something I would have liked? Sure I could have done a search, but in truth many window shoppers wasn't sure exactly what I might like to buy. I was waiting for something magical to jump out at me. I didn't buy anything from any of the sites today. In fact I thought back about it, and I haven't really made very many impulse buys from just looking at them. When I buy something I normally have something specific in mind and use the search feature, usually to have to go through 100 pages of items to find a few that are what I was really looking for.

I sat and thought about this for a while and finally went shopping in the real world. I came back with something fabulous that I found in a window display from a shop here in town that is privately owned. (Go figure.) The owner is a master at creating a unique look and feel with different items each time, but yet staying within the concept of her store. As a result she has stayed successful even during trying economic times. She knows how to draw people into her store by changing it up and appealing to a larger audience.

I would be willing to bet that she doesn't always put the things in her window that primarily appeal to her. I understand it's easy to get caught up in doing that, but perhaps people should step back and think about it a little more. As a result of today's observations I am rethinking all these online selling venues.

Every time I go into a thread related to one of these sites and see people complaining about one, inevitably someone will recommend another site that might be better...but I am not so sure because for the most part they all seem to fall into this trap. Some are worse than others.

Now I am the first person to say continuity is important in establishing a look that is recognizable, but that pertains to us as creators of art. It's important we are identifiable, even so we still change it up a bit to keep it interesting. But in the shopping sales arena, these websites need to have a little more diverse mix in order to keep people interested and gain new customers, particularly in the case of a site as large and diverse as Etsy. What we make will only appeal to some, in order to keep people coming back to these sites as a whole they need to have something for everyone and stop playing to their own favorites or their perceived target audience. Lets face it...if I can't find something I like, and I am bored shopping, you have to be doing something wrong because I have always been a serious shopper with a diverse and eclectic set of tastes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Blog Award!

I received a blog award from Jenny Lee at JennyLovesBenny! Isn't that fun, I feel so honored!

This award is for:
“The authors say that blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in proximity in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these awards are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give your kind attention to these writers!Deliver this award to 8 bloggers who will choose 8 more, and include this cleverly written text in to the body of the award."

I need to pass it on to eight more people...but it's going to have to wait a bit. I have been so insanely busy it's not even funny.

~*~ Wilhemena Gingersnap ~*~

I finally got the new bear done from the pattern I made. She is bigger at 17 inches, and a bit of a departure from my regular work. You can visit her here:

Wilhemena on

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Love The 80's

I was looking for something the other day in a trunk and ran across a box of costume jewelry all of which I had bought in the 80's. I had some pretty fabulous stuff. I have several hundred pieces. It had all been packed away very carefully, each piece wrapped in tissue.

I was looking at it and strolling down memory lane and trying to decide what to do with it all. Etsy considers anything vintage that is over 20 years old. (Talk about feelin old myself!) I decided to put some of it up for sale on Etsy. I am going to add pieces as I go along. It takes a while to photograph each one. I had such a great time in the 80's. It's a little hard to let some of it go, but lets face it I am probably never going to wear most of it someone else might as well enjoy it.

I have to admit, it's kind of weird to put things on Etsy that I didn't make, but it's within the rules so it's going up there. I added three pair of earrings last night. If you like jewelry from that time period, go have a look. Most of it is in perfect condition.

You can see it here:

My Etsy Shop

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

So here we are on Inauguration Day. There isn't much else on TV and the whole world seems tuned in...but I am not. I choose to not watch these events. I suppose you could say I am missing history, but I don't really care. I think that the amount of money spent on these each time is obscene. A lot of tax payers dollars go into paying for that, from many tax payers that can barely make ends meet, let alone have a party. I can think of a thousand ways this money could be put to better use. There are countless homeless people in this country who could be fed or shelters built with that money, there is always much needed funding for AIDS, cancer and other disease research, it could be spent in schools or animal shelters just to name a few. I am just a bear artist and I manage to do plenty for these things. If I were President I would have a simple swearing in ceremony and put that money that would have gone to a big party, increased security and a show for foreign dignitaries and movie stars to better use, proving that I do in fact care about this country and the people who live in it right from the get go. But I am not President and nobody asked my opinion about it. In fact none of us get asked our opinion about it. In a country that is clamoring for change, that would have been my first change!

This time we are getting President Obama. I have seen people of every race celebrating the fact that we have our first "African-American" President. I don't get that either to be honest. It seems to me if we want racism to become extinct we need to stop making a distinction. We don't make any other distinctions like that. If you choose not to like someone for ANY superficial reason and not what is inside that person you are missing out on some amazing and wonderful people.

Have you ever heard phrases like the first "Irish-American" President or the first "Italian-American" President? Wouldn't that seem a little silly? From my perspective I don't really care what race or gender the President is as long as they are the right person for the job. To be honest I am not convinced either candidate we had this time was the right person. I sincerely hope President Obama proves me wrong. So today I will sit here watching movies and reflecting on the fact that we have a new President. Not black, not white, not male, not female...just new. I will pray that he makes it safely through today and that he turns out to be a great leader for all of us...of every race, religion, persuasion or gender..for the UNITED States of America.

Just Like Riding A Bicycle

I am sure we have all heard the phrase "It's just like riding a bicycle, once you learn you never forget." What no one ever says is that even though you remember might be a lot harder for not having ridden it in a while.

Today I was working on my new bear pattern. It's a big bear. I haven't made a big bear in quite a while. Even though I certainly remember how, I had forgotten how hard they are to stuff if you have a sore shoulder. I worked on him all night and didn't get nearly as far along as I should have. I don't mind taking my time, but it's frustrating to deal with the pain slowing me down. Especially when I have another idea burning in the back of my brain that I want to make after I am done with this one. I want this one to turn out really well though because it's a big of a departure from my usual work and I was kind of excited about it when I designed it. I think I like it, but it's hard to tell yet. I guess it's kind of hard to learn to ride that bike in a new direction when you have been riding it with a different goal in mind for so long.

Hopefully he or she should be completed today, so I will have something to show you then. In the mean time, I am going to go crawl into my bed that has a brand spanking new latex Sealy mattress on it. I have only spent two nights on it and already noticed an improvement in my quality of sleep. If you aren't familiar with latex mattresses, they are along the lines of memory foam only a little better. It's like sleeping on a nice warm cloud with no pressure points. Sadly I don't think it's enough to fix the problem I am having with my shoulder. I am hoping it might help prevent future problems. I have a doctor's appointment on the 28th so I will know more about what's going on then. I am sincerely hoping it's not another bone spur. A lifetime of making bears has taken it's toll.

It's been worth it, but I would like to make another couple thousand before I have to pack it all in. At any rate I am exhausted and babbling a bit so I think I will head to bed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Six Random Things

I was tagged by Maria Lavis to tell six random things about myself. (I am pretty sure Maria's were more interesting than what I will write.) You would think telling random things would be easy...but it's not! Anyway, here goes:

1. I have an terrible phobia of live rabbits even though I have no problem making mohair ones.

2. I don't know how to gargle. I don't even know how people learn to gargle. It's just a mystery to me.

3. I have moved 189 times in my life. (Yes really.)

4. I don't own any socks even though I live in Colorado where it gets cold. They just seem like a strange and useless article of clothing to me.

5. I use an egg timer to clean the house. I give myself a time limit to do a room, set it and have it done by that time.

6. I hate whipped cream. I know most people love it, but I think it's gross. I didn't even like it as a kid.

If you are on the list below, you've been tagged to post about 6 random things about you!

Bearbits By Ginger


Esmerelda's Studio

Julietk Bears

Cormorant Studios

Angelic Gems

THE RULES (for this game of tag):







7. DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN (not actually a rule)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Serenity Treasury

Bijoux was included in a treasury by hjmart. You can visit it here:

Treasury Link

Also don't forget to stop by her shop and visit her lovely works of art here:

hjmart's shop

Friday, January 16, 2009

Starting And Stopping

I have a little follow up to yesterday's post. I managed to actually sleep for six consecutive hours last night with a little help from Tylenol PM. I hate to medicate to sleep, but my shoulder was in a lot of pain so I did it. I have a doctor's appointment today to find out what's going on with it. Wish me luck because the last time it was a bone spur and it took me six months to recover from the surgery. Now part of that was because I had a psycho doctor that let me go on in agony for over a year so by the time I got to surgery it was really...REALLY bad. That's why I quit making bears for a year and a half. She even told me at one point I had a brain tumor and made me leave her office in an ambulance for a cat scan. I didn't of course but she was always too busy to truly listen to what I was telling her. I was really specific about the pain and how it felt, but she just didn't care. I don't want to go through that again if I can avoid it. Luckily I have a different doctor who listens to what I tell him and takes action right away. I have been dealing with this now for a couple months but it's my own fault because I just kept hoping it would go away.

I wasn't feeling too bad this morning so I decided to pop in the DVD and start my ballet lessons. The first obstacle I had to overcome was my hair. I know that might sound silly but I have an insane amount of hair. It's to my waist and I have tons of it. Two chopsticks, two bird clips, a barrette, and a chair and whip later I had it tamed.

So I pushed play ready to go. I learned a couple things about myself this morning. I actually have pretty good balance which surprised me. I am also really stiff, which did not surprise me. I suppose part of that is the result of this shoulder thing. I haven't been working out because of it. I only managed to go for about 20 minutes before the pain got to be too much and I had to quit. I was disappointed but also hopeful. I think I can actually do this. Like I said I just have to get my shoulder issue under control first. In the long run this may end up helping by strengthening it. Last time after surgery and I had a green light I joined a gym and started swimming. Swimming saved me because it's low impact and it really brought my shoulder back to working order after all those months of recovering. I did the back stroke most of the time. In retrospect I wish I had known why accupuncture works, I would have done it while we were trying to get pregnant too. Of course thats ship has sailed with my hysterectomy. (I know too much information huh!) A lot of people told me to try it but I am not keen on needles and I couldn't figure out why it would work.

Being ever curious about all things under the sun, one day I decided to google accupuncture. I wish I had done it years ago. We have all heard about it, but how many people really know WHY it works? In case you don't, I will tell you now. Accupuncture does exactly one thing, it stimulates your nerve endings and brings increased blood flow to the area. Your shoulder and your pelvis are the two areas that heal the slowest because you have the least amount of blood flow to them. If you ever have to have surgery on either thing, or break a bone there go check into accupuncture.

If it turns out I have to surgery again, I am certainly going to do it. It will shorten the recovery time. I have had surgery on my shoulder, my hand and the above mentioned hysterectomy. I have also had an exploratory years ago to find out why I couldn't get pregnant, my tubes tied to prevent ectopic when we tried in-vitro and I had my tonsils out as a child. I also had 17 stitches in my head when I was a kid because I split it open. I REALLY don't want to have another one. I hate surgery, doctors and hospitals. I think I have filled my quota. I am not a good patient because I am impatient and don't like people waiting on me in that respect. So I would be delighted if this is not another bone spur and something that can be solved with a shot of cortisone. I will keep you posted...but for now I am going to go hop in the shower. The ballet will continue, I will succeed at this!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Very Special Pair Of Shoes

On December 27th I made a post called Boxes where I talked about making a New Year's resolution that involved a very old dream. I told you when what I ordered arrived I would let you know what it was. The package arrived today finally. Inside the box was a very special pair of shoes and an instructional DVD.

When I was a little girl I lived with my Grandmother for a large portion of my childhood. We were very poor. In fact she lived on a small pension of $300 a month. Even in the mid 60's that wasn't very much money. When you're a kid being poor isn't that big of a deal. You don't really know you're poor so I wasn't unhappy or really felt that I was missing out on a lot because I didn't know any different. Even if I had I doubt I would have cared. I always found plenty of ways to amuse myself, including dancing. I would watch old musicals on our tiny black and white TV with her and then twirl and dance around trying to imitate the beautiful women in their gorgeous gowns. The one thing she always wished she could afford was to get me ballet lessons. To be honest, I wished it too.

Every once in a while over the years, I have thought about that. I see women who have taken ballet as a child and they have a certain grace I always wished I had. Somewhere along in my thirties I really regretted that I hadn't done it, but of course at that age I was too old to start.

Perception is a funny thing. The minute you tell yourself you can't do something, you can't. The word can't is the kiss of death if you let it enter your brain in conjunction with something you want to do.

I started thinking about it again last month. Sure I am a lot older, stiffer, and chubbier than most girls who start...but so what. It's not like I dream of dancing Swan Lake or even performing in front of anyone. It's simply something I want to do for myself...because unlike Rizzo who decided to put her best foot forward and help me take the picture above...not all of us are born with the grace of a cat. When I put the shoes on today, I already felt more graceful and a little younger oddly...and I hadn't even done anything yet. But I know I can, and I WILL.

Your age should never let you stop yourself from learning new things and fulfilling a dream. So that was my learn ballet. It might seem silly and you can laugh if you want to, I will probably laugh along the way with you. But at 45 I learned I am young enough to do anything I want!

The Light From Within

I think inside each one of us is a little light that casts a warm glow. When we are feeling tired, stressed or sick that little light dims. This week my light was definitely dim from not feeling well and not sleeping enough.

I have noticed that when I am feeling that way my posts reflect that. I make posts that are harsher or just plain weirder than usual. I took a 3 hour nap tonight so I am feeling a little better. If I could get my other two small issues under control I think I would feel great.

Sometimes it's hard to keep that light shining brightly. Most people don't get enough sleep these days. I try to, but lately it's been hard. My shoulder has been bothering me again so I am not sleeping comfortably or soundly. Buster can't seem to go longer than 3 hours without needing to go out so he wakes me up. I guess it's no surprise I get crabby sometimes.

My goal for the rest of the week is to get my light shining stronger. Hopefully that will get me, and my posts back on track.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank You Miss

I had to take the dogs to the vet today to get their shots. Buster, my massive cocker spaniel (54 pounds in fact) has an ear thing going on. I had to get him several creams and cleaners and they gave him a perscription that needed to be filled at the drug store.

I just went to get it filled and it takes about 15 minutes. I am tired tonight and I was feeling sort of old. While I was waiting, I was standing there looking at the myriad of antiaging creams, foams and gels that promise miracles on the packages. I nearly gave in to temptation and bought one little tiny jar for an exhorbitant price that promised a few more miracles than most, but in the end I didn't.

Shortly after I was paged to the pharmacy counter. When I paid, the pharmicist...who was probably younger than me, said; "Thank you Miss." Seriously...that made me feel younger than anything you can get out of a jar! *Smiles*

Cowries, Tanks and the LHC

I have a deep and abiding love for ancient history, art, theology and a few varieties of science. Mostly types of physics, but also some oddball things like crytozoology. I can sit and watch or read about these things for hours on end. I also get fixated on silly little things. It's almost like a glitch in my brain.

Ever since I saw my first tiger cowrie shell as a child I was fascinated. When I see one I have a very strong compulsion to buy it. Luckily they never cost more than about two dollars so at least it's an inexpensive obsession. As a result they are all over my house. I gathered a few of them up and took the pic above because I am also obssessed with my new camera, but there are more. There is something very comforting about them. I don't know why, I don't particularly care for the ocean because deep water and all the things living in it kind of freak me out. Nor do I know why that type of shell attracts me more than any other.

A while back I got it into my head that I wanted a white tank top because the one I had was worn out. Somehow it turned into buying every good white tank top I saw until I finally realized I couldn't fit any more of them into my white tank top drawer. Yes...I really have a drawer devoted solely to those. But lets not delve into my closet shall we. It's enough to strike terror into the faint of heart.

I have noticed that scientists get really obsessed over things too, especially theoretical scientists. I can understand that, I have had a few theories of my own that I got a little nuts with wanting to prove. Sadly the nature of theories is that they can't be proved while they are in the theoretical stage. Many theories stay in that stage for a very long time until a new theory arises that makes more sense. Sometimes they stick around so long that people start accepting them as fact.

So tonight I was watching a show on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider if you don't know what LHC stands for.) This is a project I have been familiar with for a very long time. In fact I first heard about it's conception back in the 80's when I was working at Boeing Aerospace on the Peace Keepers. That was my side job while I was kick starting my bear business. I know it's odd, but if you read my blog regularily nothing should surprise you by now.

While I would dearly love to have my own little particle accelerator to play with, I have never been on board with the LHC project. Not because of the potential black hole hype, and not even because of that pesky little quinch problem...but because one of the main driving forces behind the project is to create a mini big bang. I have a huge problem with people trying to recreate something that is in fact theoretical. The big bang is not a proven theory, there are other theories and I for one just don't buy it. I always come back to the same question...what was the catalyst? I know the short answer is all those little particles became over heated and went kaboom, but what overheated them? Still back to the catalyst. It's a question that no one can answer definitively. I am still in favor of static membranes in string theory, but I digress.

Another thing they hope to create and study is dark matter. Don't even get me started on that. At any rate I was watching these scientists in their glazed eyed zeal and pondering this whole thing. They touted that the vast amounts of radiation the machine gives off isn't harmful since it's in a tunnel deep underground. I realized they were fixated on proving their theories. They were taking comfort from their tunnel, shiny machine and even shinier theories. But they didn't stop to ask should usual they only asked could we. Sometimes I think we have far more to fear from scientists than anything else. Maybe they should just switch their fixation to tiger cowrie shells. They are cheaper and they don't harm anything in the process since the innocent creatures living in them die before they wash up on the quinch involved.

Monday, January 12, 2009

~*~ Stawberry Heart ~*~

I made my first Valentines piece. It's available on my website, you can visit it here:

Blondheart Valentines Page

A Treasury

Little Garbanzo was included in a lovely treasury today from ThreadedExpressions.

You can see the treasury here:
Treasury Link

Don't forget to stop by her shop and check out all her lovely quilted goodies:


Suffering For Your Art

What you are looking at is the under side of my arm. Now before you think I have some sort of horrible disease or disfigurement...I don't. I keep my mohair in tubs to keep it safe and organized. But I have allergies. One of my allergies is to wool. Mohair is a type of wool in it's purest form, and sometimes I have a bad reaction to it. I am also allergic to dust, mold, pretty much anything that grows with the exception of rag weed, (go figure) milk, nuts, chocolate, oats, potatoes, eggs, most metals including gold, and a whole host of other things. With the exception of oats, which I have always been allergic to, I developed the rest of these allergies late in life. It can happen to anyone. I live with the hope that they will go away someday as quickly as they came.

So what you are looking at is my arm after I reached into a tub of mohair for about ten seconds. Those nasty looking welts are hives. I took that pic about an hour ago and they are still there. They itch, they burn, and there isn't much I can do to get rid of them other than take allergy meds or just wait it out. Today I chose to suffer because the meds put me to sleep and I had work to do.

I know that an artist suffering for their work is an old cliche', but some of us really do it. In fact sometimes I break out like that everyday once or twice a day for weeks at a time. If anyone out there has any info on how to get rid of hives when they hit, I would love to hear it!

Now I am going to take my arm, grin and bear it and go back to work!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ex Libris

When I was a very little girl my Grandmother used to read to me. My favorite book was called "The Animal Fair." I wanted the poor woman to read it over and over and over. I don't know why I liked that book so much, but I did. She read it to me so many times that I memorized it. But I wasn't happy with that, I wanted to be able to read the words, so she set about teaching me to read when I was barely 3 years old.

I didn't go to kindergarten, but when I started first grade I was already reading at a pretty advanced level. Back in those days they had a reading program where you could read at your own pace. By second grade I was reading 7th grade equivalent books. Oddly enough they put me in a remedial class in 3rd grade because they though I was slow. Later they found out I was incredibly smart and just bored with all the drivel they were teaching me. Go figure.

However, learning to read at such an early age set me up for a life long love affair with books. One of my favorite things to do is go to the book store. It's only the 11th and I have been to Barnes & Noble three times this year.

On the second trip I got a new craft book. I don't know if you're like me...but I LOVE craft books. I have four book cases full of nothing but those. I have tons of other books too. My dream is to someday have a house with a library room in it.

Despite buying all these craft books, I have never made a single thing out of any of them, nor do I ever intend to. I have a stack of craft magazines I can't let go of that would probably reach the ceiling if I stacked them all on top of one another. I also have a whole trunk full of patterns that I have never made and never will.

Now if you don't have that gene you probably don't understand why I would have these things. The short answer is I like to look at the pictures. I gain inspiration from them. I have the patterns for the same reason, I like to see how people put things together. It helps me envision a new pattern when I sit down to make one. Craft books inspire me. I remember seeing a wonderful Christmas stocking in one book that inspired me to make a bear vest years ago. That's how those inspirations work. The vest didn't look anything like the stocking, but something about it connected in my brain and spurned the new idea. I looked at a pattern for a cute penguin and it gave me the information I needed to create a pattern for a pig. It's hard to put how that process works into words. I just know it works.

Many bear artists I know sit down and sketch out what they want to make as a whole before they make the pattern. I have never done that, I don't know how to do that. I don't even know why I would want to do that. Even in art class they always wanted us to block out what we drew or painted. I never did that, I just sat down and started drawing my picture as I wanted it to be. Every artist has a different process that works for them. I just picture something in my mind and if I can't quite turn a two dimensional pattern into a three dimensional image in my brain I go look at my stash for inspiration. It works.

I have countless other books on every subject under the sun. They say that someday books will be obsolete and everything will be accessible online. I hope that never comes to pass. There is nothing better than the scent of a new book...or a very old book. When I was little I had an odd notion that if people completely stopped reading a book the characters in that book would die. In retrospect I guess that's kind of true. As long as I am on this earth and have eyesight, I will continue to love and read books.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Accountability Factor

All of a sudden I am really wordy again huh! *giggles* But I was just reading something interesting in the Etsy forums. There was a discussion over feedback being left for someone that was more about a post they made in the forum rather than the item purchased. Several people said that what we say in other areas online is an extension of our business and it reflects on us so we should be held accountable. They didn't understand why people always separate the two.

I sat and thought about this for a bit. I find that an interesting notion to be honest. Now I know our opinions can be colored by what we hear or read of someone we are thinking about making a purchase from. But should it be and if so, to what extent? I like to read other artist's blogs for various reasons, but rarely does what they say color my choice to purchase or not purchase from them. That's not why I read them. There are a lot of people out there that I find really nice, fascinating and fun people that I will probably never buy from for any one of a thousand reasons that is no reflection on their personality or how I feel about them. There are also a few people I don't care for personally, but since they didn't offend my moral or ethical code I might buy from them because I like what they made. I wouldn't buy from someone I knew by their own admission was harming animals or people, but that's a little different.

When we go out into the world and buy things in stores we have no idea for the most part what the store owner or the manufacturer of the product is like, especially if it's a big company. But yet we don't hold them accountable for what they say in their day to day conversations. It has nothing to do with our choice to buy something. Human beings aren't perfect. I am sure many of the things in our homes come from people who do all sorts of despicable things we don't agree with. It doesn't take away from our enjoyment or use of the product.

While I agree we should try to be professional, where did we come up with the idea that everyone online with a small business has to be held accountable for every word they have ever uttered or in this case typed into cyberspace? People have bad days, they are misinterpreted so easily and sometimes they simply have personalities we don't mesh with. It doesn't take away from what they make if they make a quality item that we like. We are buying their product, not them.

I am also curious why are customers actions not scrutinized so hard as well? Clearly some people set out with the intent to ruin another person's business by their actions for various reasons. Some people can't seem to just tend to their own and live and let live. They have this erroneous notion by ruining someone else's business theirs will do better. I don't know where that idea came from either. I never worry about any one else's business or if their sales are better than mine because it has nothing to do with me, and there is plenty to go around in the end.

The internet is a funny thing. We tend to judge things so harshly on here. We also react harshly to what we read, especially with other people. I was dimissed immediately in the thread and told that my logic was faulty and that I was wrong by several people. I guess the fact that I have been in business for nearly three decades where I met the customer face to face and never had a problem doesn't count for much, because Etsy is afterall the end all be all of selling online right? (That was sarcasm in case you weren't sure! *winks*) For the most part those customers didn't want to know every detail about me even when they were standing there talking to me. They were more interested in knowing about the bear they were thinking of purchasing. Kooky huh!

In this trend towards cafe culture people seem to want to know every detail about the artist they are purchasing from. I think what we have to stop and ask ourselves is can we really get the full impact of any given personality online and are you wanting to buy something or make a new friend? If you are tracking down every word they have typed online before you buy, then perhaps you have larger issues. Maybe you should back slowly away from the screen and seek help for stalker tendencies. I guess the only way we can protect ourselves would be to stop talking online all together, but I am not willing to do that. If you're going to judge the merit of my work based on what I have said, then you are missing out because obviously anyone who makes teddy bears can't be all bad. We have to have a warm fuzzy side to us in there somewhere in order to make what we make now don't we?

Keep that in mind the next time you are about to make a purchase and stop because of something the artist may have typed somewhere else online at some point. Would you want artists tracking down every word their customers have ever typed before they sell to them?

The End Is Near

I guess I did have something I wanted to post about. I really like to watch the History Channel since they quit doing shows about nothing but the nazi's and the war. This week has been "Armageddon Week." Yes...they have an entire week devoted to that.

Ever since we got all worked up over the nonexistant Y2K crisis they have had it at the first part of January. I find it an interesting correlation between the new year turning over and the end of the world. (Lets keep in mind man invented the keeping of time, and yet the universe and all the higher power in it should bend to our schedule at the stroke of midnight on New Years as if that means something anywhere but good old Earth. I would also like to point out we don't even reach that magical stroke of midnight at the same time on this planet. Silly humans, Trix are for kids!)

So I was watching last nights episode since I wasn't supposed to be doing much according to R. He has this weird notion that I overdo it sometimes and might break into a million pieces because I am so fragile. *smirks* The shows are all about Doomsday Prophecies in many and varied religions. The show I watched for two useless hours claimed that there are signs all over the world in many religions pointing to the same end date of December 21st, 2012. Apparently that is the date we all go poof according to these guys on TV. Of course the show wouldn't be complete without the prerequisite references to the Mayans, Nostradamus and the Knights Templar. They are very popular right now. Then naturally they had to dig up that cliche image of the hippie with the sandwich board saying the end is near.

Then they went on to portray possible scenarios for the end of the world and humanity as a whole. If you buy into all these scenarios, it's amazing we survive as a species at all. By the way what ever happened to that bird flu epidemic that was gonna get us for certain? You never hear a word about it anymore. Could it possibly have been another case of scientists getting overly excited over nothing again? How about that Hadron Collider that was gonna create a black hole smack dab in the middle of the earth? But I digress...

I find all of this extremely fascinating. I don't know where these guys get their information. They are supposedly experts. I have to wonder if that's self proclaimed in the hopes that if they say it long and loud enough people will believe it.

These shows quote all sorts of references from the Bible and the Mayan codices. They toss in some quotes from various other religions and cultures to back up their claims. The thing they don't ever touch on is that not one single religion actually predicts the end of the world...or even the end of humanity. Yup I said it...not one! (You can check if ya don't believe me.) I know you're probably thinking right about now...but Kel what about Revelations. Well if you have ever read Revelations or any other of these sources that they quote from, each one tells you that we will go through a very rough period and have a final battle. But none of them say end game...ya had a nice long and thanks for all the fish! (The last one is a Douglas Adams book title in case you're not familiar.)

The Bible says after the final battle there will be a thousand year reign of peace where the lion lays down with the lamb. It would make it pretty hard to have a thousand year reign of peace if we are all toast now wouldn't it? Maybe you don't believe in the Bible, a lot of people don't anymore...well ok, you don't have to. But think about this; the Bible says that when the prophets appear at the wall the entire world will simultaneously witness their death. Now when the Bible was written there was no TV, no internet, and that was a concept that people couldn't even fathom. And yet there it is, in black and white for the past couple thousand years. The Bible is full of things like that, maybe you should reconsider havin a look at it. It's also quite specific about what will happen before the final battle of good versus evil, alot more specific than Nostradamus...the only thing it isn't specific about is the date. A lot is going to have to happen before 12/21/12 if that's the day things all change.

But what about those kooky Mayans and their calendar you ask? Well when the Spaniards invaded they destroyed most of the codices, so who knows what all else they had to say. Besides all they said was that on the winter solstice in 2012 we align dead center in the middle of the Milky Way, Xialba Be...which translates roughly to the dark road opens, and it signifies the end of the 5th long count. Their calendar didn't extend past that date, but they never said time stops there. Lets keep in mind that the Mayans believed time was circular and not linear. So perhaps they believed that it simply circled around and starts over. There is really no way to know since so little information was saved. For all we know, maybe the calendar ended then because it's when the last living Mayan dies. Why do we think the Mayans knew so much more than the rest of us anyway? Why are we so ready to believe they got it right over every other culture around? They aren't even with us anymore as a society. If they were that clever and could predict the future so specifically couldn't they have saved themselves?

It's a guarantee that at some point our planet will end. Our sun will expand and engulf us. That won't happen for a very long time however. Most likely it won't happen while humans are still on the planet. Species going extinct is nothing new even before global warming and pollution and it happens to all of them included.

So what about our little pal Nostradamus? People put so much stock in what he said. The interesting thing is that soooooo many things that man said were pretty vague and open to a lot of interpretation. If he could really see into the future and see all these events, why wasn't he more specific? Even Nostradamus covered himself by offering more than one possible ending. If I saw these horrific future events and didn't lay out clearly for the masses of the future, wouldn't that make me the most evil person ever? Seriously if you have that kind of info and were certain without a doubt these things were going to happen...wouldn't you find a way to make the people know? Plus have you ever stopped to think that it's odd that most of his predictions pertained to the current time period and in the US? A little vain aren't we.

But lets not forget those Templar's...what is the truth about them? No one knows. They were very secretive and so much of what is currently presented as fact about them is speculation that has been parroted so many times it has seemingly become fact. We have Dan Brown to thank for much of those notions, since he made them popular again by virtue of his work of fiction. Naturally there were TV shows about them with half baked truths and the cycle starts all over again.

So I think it's pretty safe to say the end is not near. A time of incredible hardship may be near, or it may not be quite as near as we think. Humanity has thought the end was near since the beginning of our time on this planet. All religions and cultures have basically the same story of how things are going to go, so I am sure they will go that way...we just don't know when. Each one also predicts a calmer time AFTER the rough period. These shows on TV saying the end is near are TV shows...TV shows that like to get good ratings so they make connections where there are none and omit details for effect. There have always been wars, pestilence, famine and extreme weather conditions. The only difference is we have TV and the Internet to bombard us with news about them on a daily basis so it seems as if there are more things happening now.

As for what will happen on December 21st, 2012? I personally am terrified, planet wide mass hysteria is very scary. I think we should stay safely in our homes because as usual humanity as a whole will go a little nuts on that day and probably the days leading up to it since there has been so much hype already. It's what we do whenever we scare ourselves into a frenzy because we get a little full of ourselves and believe we have the power to see into the future. But I think this absolute date for the end of the world will pass quietly into history like all the other absolute dates the world was going to end and didn't. We will resign ourselves to the fact we don't know when the world will end until we find a new blurb from history to grab onto and pick a new date. It's almost as if we like having a termination date. Maybe it stems from a fear of the unknown?

Isn't it funny how we are supposedly so enlightened and scientific in this modern world and yet we use science to give ourselves permission to buy into the most ridiculous superstitions that are based on nothing more than a simple calendar of a long gone race ending and information that has been distorted and sensationalized simply for ratings in the media?


I can honestly say I have never photographed my food before I ate it before, but my tart was so pretty on the plate and the placemat...and I have a new camera so I couldn't resist the urge. Looks mouth watering doesn't it? It was!

I redid all the photos on my website and I can't believe how much better they look. You don't realize how bad your pics are until you have better ones. If you want to check it out you can click on the link to the right.

I worked so hard on it the past couple days I pulled a muscle in my thumb. I am hoping it will be good enough tomorrow to start on my new Valentine piece. I am going to make something small and fun! I want to get some more cleaning done and I have to take the dogs to the vet for their shots too.

Other than that, it's been a busy week and I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog. I am sure next week will be better.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

~*~ Bijoux ~*~

I finally finished her and I think she turned out great! I finally managed to use my new camera too. I will be redoing all the pics on my website a little later, and Bijoux will be available on it then.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Random Thoughts

I know I haven't written a whole lot lately. I am finally over the flu so I have been playing catch up. I have been working very hard to get the house put back in order after the holidays and I have a long way to go. I managed to make a bear today too. She isn't costumed yet so I don't have pics.

She turned out really pretty. I had a piece of mohair that was sent by mistake, and wasn't what I ordered. I kept it anyway, but I never really liked the color. So once she was done I changed her color. It turned out exactly the shade I wanted too. I love it when that happens. But then again, I have always had an odd ability to mix exactly the shade I want every time on the first try. I guess we all have our little quirky talents and that's one of mine.

I have a vision of how I want her dressed her, but that doesn't always turn out the way I want every time, so we will see what happens. I should have pics of her ready either today or tomorrow. I have a lot of errands to run if it isn't too cold and snowy today.

I have been really thinking about a lot of things lately too. Some serious, some not. One of the things I was thinking about was Etsy. While they are pretty happy to work with people on problem issues in your personal shop, they are not willing to work too hard at what people seem to want as a mass majority. I haven't really seen much effort on their part to provide proper venues for promotion. I touched on this issue a while back in my very long post about my journey with them. It occurred to me that I don't have a whole lot of respect for the site as a whole. While I am still not going to close my shop...I haven't put any effort into promoting my shop on there, nor have I been renewing anything lately.

I much prefer Bearpile, Lollishops and of course my main focus is my own website. It's gotten a lot of interest this week and that makes me very happy. I worked extremely hard on the new graphics and I can't wait until I complete it by taking new pics with the camera I got for Christmas. That should all be done later this week.

I love January because I don't really care much for it. I know that probably doesn't make any sense, but since there is no holidays and nothing to distract me, it always opens up new possibilities.

I have also figured out what I want to do with this house. When we lived in an apartment I used to dream of what I wanted to do decorating wise, but when we moved into this house nine years ago I couldn't do much. I think it's because I had SO many ideas for so long that when it came to choosing one I couldn't pick. We have done a few things, including wallpapering and carpeting the guest room, the incredibly time consuming fresco painting I did in the work room, my shower, the lower foyer floor and the upstairs bathroom and kitchen floors. But I never got any farther because I couldn't settle on one thing. In the past couple weeks I have had visions of what I want it all to look like, and I think it's going to be spectacular. Now I just have to wait til spring to paint so I can open the windows. That's the price of asthma.

Anyway I guess I should go to bed because I am kind of rambling. I didn't have a lot to write about, but felt like I should. I hope everyone had a great new years and will continue reading. Even professional writers fall into slumps sometimes, so I guess it's no surprise that a non professional would too. I am sure I will have more to write about soon!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Look For 2009

I have been busy for the past few days redoing my website. I really love the new look, I hope you will too!

You can go have a peek at:

Happy New Year!

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