If handmade is what you crave, you need to check out this amazing Etsy shop! PhotoMamaRegina creates custom paper art that is both intricate and delicate. Each piece in her shop is a work of art itself.
Anyone can find a gift...but making it personal takes a little more work. And if you're looking for a personal gift, you'll need to visitSweet Ride Designs and see the amazing pieces available there. Here are a few of my favorites!
It's that time of year again...getting Christmas decorations up all over the house, moving everything around in the living room to make room for the really fluffy tree, and asking the eternal question--how much is too much when it comes to listening to Christmas songs? (For me? Never too much. For the hubby? Once is more than enough.)
So, in a fit of shameless self-promotion, I'm having a Cyber Monday sale in both my Etsy shop and ArtFire Shop! Any purchase is 10% off with coupon code HolidaySavings2010! Here are a few items that are my favorites for the season...
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that the loss of a loved one is keenly felt. My Poppop was a person that you immediately felt at home with and he never met a stranger--just a friend he hadn't been introduced to yet! Poppop went to be with his Lord seven years ago and while I have the promise and assurance that there will come a day when I will feel his arms around me in a great big bear hug again, it's not always easy to be patient for that day.
Chris and Poppop The following is my eulogy from his funeral . I hope it encourages you to live each day to the fullest and to love without regret.
Poppop and Rachel building a snowman
Once upon a time there was a wise man that used to have a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work for the day. One morning, he was walking along the shore, and looking out across the sand, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guessed that, but why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely, then bent down and picked up another starfish. He threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said--"It made a difference for that one."
Poppop lived what he believed. It was evidenced in the care he took in preparing his Sunday School lessons. It was shown in the time he spent with his family. People who had the opportunity to sit next to him in the doctor’s office or stand in line with him at the store couldn’t help but discover the kind of man he was.
As the world counts importance and noteworthiness, Poppop wasn’t even in the ballpark. He lived in a modest home on a dead-end road in a little town that defines one of its borders by a back bay. He worked hard—not to accumulate wealth or fame, but because there was a job to do and he did it.
Last week, people around this country celebrated Independence Day. Symbols of our country and its freedom were everywhere. But on that day, God began to prepare us for Poppop’s Independence Day. And the symbolism of his final hours is nothing short of remarkable. On the first day of the week, as the people here at Heislerville Church gathered to take communion to remember the death of Christ and the finished work of the cross, we as a family gathered to say good-bye. And I believe that as the family he loved so much was gathered around him, physically and in spirit, and the church family he loved as dearly gathered around the communion table, God’s timetable was complete and Poppop was called home to be with his Lord.
Poppop’s life followed the road of the cross. It involved giving up his will for his life so that God could work through him and touch others. He talked about it whenever anyone was willing to listen and lived it for everyone else to see. His entire focus was on pleasing God and everything he did was with this in mind. If you ever had a meal at Granny and Poppop’s house, you heard him say grace before you ate. The final sentence of his prayer was always, “Help us to please You in everything we say and do.”
Many times he made decisions that from the world’s standards made no sense. Poppop looked to God through prayer and reading the Bible to help him choose what he should do. And once he made up his mind, there was no turning him from that path.
He and Granny prayed for each of us every single day. While there were many prayers for each one of us through the years, the prayer I remember hearing over and over again was that we would each understand our need for salvation and that we would be willing to walk in the path God had set before us. Poppop’s life touched many others, but his first concern was always for his family’s spiritual well-being.
Poppop’s last days weren’t spent in his bean field. They weren’t spent in the home he had built. But they were spent with his family surrounding him. I know his most fervent prayer and wish was that he would be surrounded in Heaven by all of us again one day.
If you are looking for unique handmade gifts (and who isn't?) you're going to want to check out Eluna Jewelry on Etsy. Gorgeous wire-wrapped earrings and pendants--many created with reclaimed glass! Here are a few that caught my eye...
When you see someone with an amazing talent, you just have to share it with others. And when I first saw Scroll Saw Treasures I knew this was a shop I had to share with all of you. Detail and color are the trademarks of the amazing pieces you will find here and I can only imagine what can be done with a custom order! Happy Tuesday!
Although this is a separate post, I canned my dill pickles the same day as I did my bread-and-butter pickles. It was a looooooog day, but it's not often I can be on my feet that long without being in a lot of pain so it was worth it!
Dill pickles require a little more than the bread-and-butter pickles. You can't use just any cuke at the local produce stand. You need Kirby cukes. They are smaller and crunchier but taste pretty much the same. And you need fresh dill and fresh garlic. And short, wide-mouthed jars. And the lids and rings that fit the wide-mouthed jars.
Anyway, once you've made sure you have everything you need (preferably before you start the process...unless you have a hubby that is willing to drop everything and run to get you whatever you didn't realize you absolutely had to have until you are at the point you can't stop to go get it yourself...yes, this is my life!) it's time to make pickles!
So, here are the Kirby cukes, washed and waiting to be re-created into something a little more tart!
You may be wondering what in the world I was doing to the pickles. Dill pickles should be crisp when you take a bite and the last time I made dill pickles (all four recipes and about 20 jars in total) they were soggy, limp and not a crunch to be found anywhere.
So I did some research and everyone suggested to have some extra crunch to soak the cukes in a lime bath. You may be wondering where ketchup fits into a dill recipe. The simple fact is...it doesn't. Cukes tend to float and I was trying to make sure they all stayed submerged to get the full benefit of the lime bath. But it confused my hubby when he first walked into the kitchen and saw it. Lots to be said for keeping the mystery in the relationship (or the kitchen)!
Here's the jar with the sliced cukes, fresh dill and fresh garlic just waiting for the brine to boil!
This quart jar is full of the little pieces that were left over when I cut the cukes down to fit in the smaller pint jars. Couldn't see wasting them and thought dill pieces would be a great idea!
Wish I could tell you this batch and new process (for me at least) turned out great, but dill pickles need to sit for a minimum of EIGHT WEEKS before you can open them and try them out. So the beginning of November we'll open on of the jars and see how it turned out. That's a long time to wait to see if you did everything right, but life isn't always instant gratification!
You never know when you will discover an artist that creates pieces that makes your heart sing. I was featured in a collection titled Let Me Entertain You on ArtFire by Gypsy G Designs and that is how I was introduced to Kiln Fired Fine Art . I hope you are intrugued enough to check out all her work!