Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Servant's Heart

Last time I wrote about what I am, now I want to write about who I want to be. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from being on a team. I have to thank the ladies who are involved in the team challenge specifically for putting their work up against other people to be voted upon (I think I just threw up a little) and for putting up with me personally. The Eastern Washington Etsy Street Team is full of special talent, with a number of people in the Gift Guides on Etsy. It is full of unique people who have come together to help one another grow and prosper in their handmade business. Being the team blogger, I have had the privilege of getting to know some of these people. Allow me to introduce you to the women who are braving the team challenge. First, a fun look at the shops.
Laura of LCSCottage made the cool pin cushion caddy for the challenge. If I could win, that is the item I would want. When I told her that, she graciously sent me the link for the tutorial from Anna Marie Horner for how to make it. Laura's shop has her original fabrics as well as other sewing supplies. When I read the description of her aurifil thread, I thought, oooh, I need some of that!

Monti of GlitznGlass entered a really cute painted candle holder and candle. I saw her work in person at a local gallery and was really impressed. Monti is a very talented painter and her candles burn very clean with lots of fragrance. I predict that her painted glassware will gain a very loyal and enthusiastic following. I did a little article for the team blog about her.

Andi of Random Scraps has an eye for design that I really enjoy. Having her on the team has really sharpened my learning curve. I appreciate her example, and often use her photos as great examples of product photography and composition on our team blog. For that blog, I did an interview with Andi to get to know her better. Her entry for the team challenge is a wonderful handmade card.

Randi of Ragnazidnar is my role model. She is talented yet humble. She leads by putting others first. She is sweet in a genuine way that never leaves an aftertaste. The article I did for the team on Randi is here. You will enjoy her blog as well. Randi's entry in the challenge is a hand embroidered, hand made sketch book. I think she asks herself, How much love can I pack into every single item I make?

Natalie of That70sShoppe entered a lovely poem for the challenge that she turned into a magnet. I love that she is willing to be so vulnerable. She may not know this about me, but I have a soft spot for poetry. I don't know Natalie very well yet, but I am looking forward to it.

Sherice of FashionablyAdorned and I have a lot in common. We both from the West side of the mountains and our kids are about the same age. Her passion for jewelry shows in her work. Is there anyone who doesn't need a pair of classic black earrings? I like Sherice's take on that.

Gail is the multi-talented maven behind beadedsplendor. Her entry for the challenge is the lovely beaded earrings. She also has a thriving business that is known as digitalexpressions. As if the jewelry and graphic arts weren't enough, Gail has been a professional painter for a number of years. Check out her paintings at GLEntwistle. I did a little article about Gail for the team blog.

If you ever want the person sitting across from you at the office meeting to drool uncontrollably, buy some of DanaBurger's donut earrings. I don't know Dana very well, but I can say this. I love her sense of humor, and I love that she does sidewalk chalk drawing. Dana's entry in the challenge is a fun choker that spells out spring.

Leanna of SeamsVictorian and I are collaborating in our shops. I have a very popular pattern for frame purses, and Leanna sells the frames to go with it. I love her for doing that! Leanna does a lot of custom sewing as well. Her clothing and bags are meticulously made. The article about her in the team blog gives more details about Leanna and her interests, talents and passions. Her entry for the team challenge is a frame purse she made of her special hand embellished fabric. I appreciate the amount of hard work and love that went into that bag.

So now you have the scoop on the challenge participants. If you have not voted yet, I am going to encourage you now to go here and vote for the item you would want to win as the prize. If you follow my blog, you might be asking yourself, Is this woman schizophrenic? I often ask myselves that question. Not really, no more than anyone else who struggles with the two natures inside.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Heart of a Champion

I know I said just a few days ago, vote for someone else. But now I feel like my 10 year old does when I beat him at chess, completely surprised. I see that I have given my children the heart of a champion. We envision ourselves winning before the game ever starts. We never even imagined the possibility of defeat. So I am going to admit it now, I already won in my mind, but I need you to vote for me to make that thought a reality. If you vote for me, your chances increase greatly of winning the frame purse that I am offering as the prize. I really love it, and I wanted to keep it, but I have to admit that winning is more important to me. Besides, I can always make another one and you can't. (Unless you sew and you buy my pattern.) So go now, click on this link, vote for my bag entry #7, and leave a comment on that blog to enter to win. If you do not have a blogger account, you can still leave a comment and be entered to win, just leave some way I can identify you. You can say, for example, this is Cherie's friend Tami S. in Kirkland, if you are someone I know personally, otherwise, do leave a way for me to get in touch with you if you win! From here on out, if the team does more challenges, I am going to opt out and stand on the sidelines cheering. Fierce competitors also make great cheerleaders, and that is what I would rather be for my teammates. Oh, and I wanted to post a link to Elsiee's blog in which she gave an unsolicited rave review of the frame purse she won from me when I did a giveaway here. That way you can see from another perspective how great it would be for me to win and for you to win.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Giveaway over there

Winding down the work week and way too excited about the new stuff I just made to do any blogging. You'll probably see it in my shop by Monday, gotta do the photo shoot. I am the blogger for the Eastern Washington Etsy Street Team though, and if you are in the US, you can pop over to that blog, vote, comment and be entered to win a prize. Don't vote for me though, I think I want to keep that little bag.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lunch and Marketing

I didn't want to make you drool too much over my sandwich, so I kept the photo small, but was it ever good! Rory came home with this sourdough rye bread that a coworker brought back from Seattle for him. She picked it up at the PCC. I laughed, remembering how I used to hear that there was no good pizza outside of New York. And now I get to hear how there is no good sourdough outside of Seattle. So there were 3 things Rory liked about Seattle, sourdough, salt water, and me. I think I'm in pretty good company there. I don't think he'll ever say there's no good _____ outside of Spokane. Can any of you fill in the blank? All I can think of is potholes, dirt roads, and loooong winters. I do love hiking here, but I would rather be on a salt water beach any day.

So the artisianal bread made me think of Etsy's marketing trends for Spring. I did a post on that for the team yesterday. I also included a very brief photo tip tutorial thingy. If you are an Etsian, you might enjoy the links in that post and even learn something, which is good for your brain.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Wife of an Irishman's Blessing

We are wearin' the green today. Well, maybe it's more of a blue, but it makes me think of William Wallace, and his Irish neighbors, fighting for freedom. We may not have political tyranny to fight, but so many people have fears and the lack of freedom that results. I am re-reading an excellent book by Beth Moore titled Breaking Free, so I guess that's why my light St. Patrick's Day post turned serious for a moment.

I look outside at bright sun and sky.
I see fast moving clouds going by,
and I think, no, I pray,
LORD, give me the heart of a child
to see your world free and wild.
My face is to the wind today.
I lift my arms and dream I can fly.

There, I wrote a poem for you, just like that on this wild March afternoon. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, and if the wind is not always at your back, may you dream you can fly.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Things I have in Common with a 14 Year Old Boy

The movies we love:

Hot Fuzz, Die Hard (all of them,) Muppet Treasure Island, My Cousin Vinny, Pirates of the Carribean (all of them, even the third one,) Men in Black, Waking Ned Divine, Grosse Point Blank, O Brother Where Art Thou, Young Frankenstein, The Three Amigos, Spies Like Us, I Robot

Our Music:

The Clash, The Police, Van Morrison, The Black Eyed Peas, Violent Femmes, Duran Duran, The Beatles, U2, Pink Floyd, Supertramp

Our sense of humor:

We were listening to the Clash, and Christian said a girl at school told him that a man in England had been detained for singing London Calling in a taxi cab, because it was a terrorist song.

I said, That's facist.

He said yeah, it is facist, and I'm not even being facetioust.

Here is a list of things that make us laugh on Etsy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Love Brains

I mentioned neuroplasticity to a friend the other day, and bless her heart, she went right over to Wikipedia and found out what I was talking about. I absolutely love the internet as a way to learn new things. Since Rory's dad had Alzheimer's before he died, and statistically we all have a 50% chance of a decline in brain function as we age, I decided to get proactive in learning what we can do to keep our brains healthy.

PBS put out a DVD called The Brain Fitness Program. In one hour it covers a lot of new scientific findings on neuroplasticity, and interviews a number of people who love brains, even someone who had damaged his brain and was able to recover significantly. The fitness part could have been covered in just a few minutes. So for those of you who are not running to the library to check out the DVD, I will recap.(After some brief visual stimulation.)

These things are bad for your brain and will increase your chances of function loss:
*Repetitive tasks, things you can do without thinking (like vacuuming and dishes and laundry - I knew there was a reason why I hated that stuff.)
*Stress, worry and anxiety (In the 37th Psalm, David said "do not fret, it leads only to evil" I can't think of anything more evil than ending life non compos mentis.)

Here is the list of positive things you can do to keep your brain healthy:
*Do the little things in a new way to engage your brain. Try brushing your teeth with the other hand. (Tell me if you come up with an engaging way to dust and do laundry!)
*Exercise to improve your cardio vascular health. The more oxygen you get into your blood stream, the more is also reviving your brain. (If you yawn a lot, it means your brain needs to get some fresh air.)
*Exercise helps in another way too. Brains are actually found to be much more active and engaged during physical exercise than while sitting still. There is a lot going on up there keeping us balanced and making the autonomic systems function together. For me, I love to take a walk in the middle of the morning, especially if I feel stuck in a project. I always come back with new inspiration and ideas.
*Rest and sleeping well is important too.
*Learning obviously is helpful to the brain. What is the last thing you learned? Was it High School Spanish? You can learn more Spanish and build on that foundation, keeping your brain healthy. (At the automated check out at the grocery store, I pushed the Espanole button even though I never studied Spanish, it was engaging to say the least.) Pick up a musical instrument again (if you've put it down) and increase your proficiency. Play chess. The cranium games are good too. We need to keep learning and trying new things.

Now I am going to take along walk through the neighborhood, and pray for the kids in school as I walk by. When I get back, I will be working on a couple of sewing patterns that people are waiting for. If I get stuck, I won't worry, I will read the Sermon on the Mount in Spanish and take a nap.

Hasta la vista, baby! and via con Dios, of course. My spell checker doesn't work in Spanish. I might have to actually learn it instead of just pretending.... 'cause I know some of you are in California, where English is the second language, but that is another story...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Field Trip

This is where I quilt. Heartbeat quilting has 3 Gammill longarm machines, and once they teach you how to use them, you can rent them and have access to this light and spacious studio. My friend, Stephanie, came with me to quilt a couple of whole cloth quilts for her boys beds. She was the photographer and a great assistant. For me this was a fun outing, a chance to get to know Stephanie better and talk about sewing and our kids. I remember being amazed the first time I heard about these machines. Rory came home from running errands one day and told me he had popped into a quilting shop and had seen a demonstration of a sewing machine that you drive over the fabric. Rory doesn't sew, of course. He only went in because he knew it would interest me - boy was he right! I've included a great (and clickable) collection of pieced quilts below to whet your appetite for the still very much alive art of quilting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

STA Rider Alert...!

STA Rider Alert...!
Originally uploaded by chrstphre
Somebody commented on this photo on Flickr that the ads are an eyesore and everybody would be happy if they kept the benches and got rid of the ads. Here's what I say: In communist countries there were no ads, but somehow it still wasn't utopia. Just the fact that we have a city council member who would want to take away bus riders' seating and another person's advertising income stream makes me want to say something really clever, but I haven't had enough coffee yet.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Small Victory, Still Sweet

I think I just started a poem there with my title. Today I completely cleared off my cutting table and my sewing table. They are both banquet tables by the way. Now I have more room to work. As you can see, I filled up my scrap jar and organized my bobbin threads. My deep thought for the day is: Do something small today. As the drop falls into the bucket, it becomes part of a larger purpose. Now I'll go take a walk, letting the tables enjoy their emptiness before I let loose with my next three bags and an apron or two. (I know I won't even get half of that done today, but I can dream.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bananas for this Recipe

Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Vanilla Frosting

This is my kids favorite recipe. (I love it too. Rory eats them sans frosting, the party pooper.) My family rigs it, so that two out of every bunch of bananas I buy get ripe enough that I have to make muffins.

Mix until creamy -

1/2 cup softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 ripe mashed bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt (I like Mountain High, original style)

Combine these dry ingredients, then add them to the mixture, stirring until well mixed-

1 and 3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fold in about 1/2 cup of dried fruit (I make some without the dried fruit for the boys, and then add the fruit for the rest of us) I like to use orange flavored cransins and raisins, some of each.

Makes 18 regular size muffins. Line your muffin pans with cups or spray with cooking spray. Spoon into cups (the batter will be pretty thick) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. They should be slightly browned on top.

After cooling, frost with one of these:

Make Honey Peanut Butter Icing by mixing equal parts honey, butter and peanut butter


For the not so naturally inclined, use this one:

1 pound of confectioners' sugar (that is 1/2 of a package - I don't measure it)

1/4 cup of softened butter

1/3 cup peanut butter

about 4-6 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat his until smooth. There will be extra, which I store in the fridge and let the kids use on graham crackers when the muffins run out.

Now, I am going to sew elsiee's frame purse, so she doesn't think I am some kind of lame blogger who gives prizes but is slow in sending them. If you want to share this recipe with anyone, just link to the blog post, if you would. A side note, if you search for "recipe" on Etsy, some actual recipes come up as well as recipe cards, etc. Cool!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

She would look good in a potato sack...

I grew up with the notion that that was the ultimate compliment. If you could make burlap look good, baby, you got it. Meet Amy Butler, she makes burlap look good. People often ask me where I get the great fabrics for my bags. If you are in Spokane, the only place to get it is The Top Stitch. The owner, Carrie Jarvis, gives sewing lessons too. The shop, in its new location at 3808 N Monroe, is roomy, well lit, and chock full of fabrics that make aprons look good enough to wear out of the house. I have to admit that the burlap was not my idea. These bags are part of a custom order I made for a great gal on the East Coast. I am headed from here to post photos and a funny listing for her in my shop. Thank you Carrie, and thank you Amy Butler for making me look good, even in a potato sack.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Originally uploaded by studiocherie

It feels so good when it's all over.
To be freshly cleaned and organized, is my goal by the end of this month.
Step one, put on an apron with pockets, that will help.
I really can't inspire you any more myself yet, so I will let these other beautiful art studios do it for me.