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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hot Dogs Lead to Fulfillment of Dream - The Shawnee News-Star

My son, Anthony's organization for the homeless is growing by leaps and bounds. Here's the latest newspaper article on the charity which hits newsstands this morning. Enjoy!


Hot dogs lead to fulfillment of dream - Shawnee, OK - The Shawnee News-Star

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Labor of Love Charities - "Homeless, Not Hopeless"


I'm a firm believer in the fact that when things are meant to happen, they will. Sometimes it will happen so quickly it can make your head spin. For me, it's always meant that this is God's will. A good example of this recently occurred with my son, Anthony. He has always had a love for helping the homeless. Earlier this year, I blogged about the experience we shared in volunteering for "Hot Dogs for the Homeless" in downtown Oklahoma city. This small act of love has exploded into something wonderful which will benefit so many of the less fortunate in the months and years to come.

In a nutshell, Anthony decided to start helping the homeless in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he currently attends college. He makes lunch for the homeless each Sunday and delivers it to them in the streets where they reside and started a non-profit organization called "Labor of Love Charities." He decided to take this a step further by checking out buildings for rent with the intent that he would turn this into a homeless shelter/resource center. One building of interest - a 1901 two-story hotel - was available for rent. Anthony contacted the owner of the hotel and told him of his plans for the building. The owner of the building happens to be a doctor in the area who also has a love for helping others. He decided to DONATE the building to Anthony's charity. In addition, the doctor and his wife (who is a nurse) have graciously offered to provide FREE medical care to the homeless who seek assistance through the Labor of Love Charities. They will be working hand-in-hand with Anthony in making this dream come true.

The doctor, a gentleman named Keith, is also quite the publicity man. He contacted the television show "Extreme Home Makeover" to see if they would possibly be interested in renovating this hotel/future shelter. The television show has since requested a video of the hotel. Please keep your fingers crossed! If the show decides to take on the task of renovating this hotel/shelter, it will mean that more of the charity's resources can be used to assist the homeless. I'll keep you posted!

The Shawnee News-Star wrote an article about Anthony's efforts which they have featured in both their online and print newspaper editions. Please feel free to check it out if you get a chance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

EBay Negative Feedback Horror Stories

It's no secret that many EBay sellers are frustrated with the changes EBay made to it's feedback system about a year ago. Sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for the buyers, so the ball is definitely in the buyer's court. Unfortunately, this has resulted in inaccurate and unfair negative feedback being left for sellers by some unscrupulous buyers or inexperienced new EBayers out there.

For the most part, I've been pretty fortunate with my feedback situation. I've had my share of difficult customers like everyone else, but, for the most part, those have been a rarity. Until this past month. I don't know if people are extra cranky from the heat, the economy or if there's been a continuous full moon out there, but WOW, I've been slammed with 4 negative complaints in a 30 day period. That's more than I've EVER had in ALL of the years I've been on EBay.

I wrote an EBay guide on my latest feedback experiences entitled, "EBay Feedback Horror Stories". Please be sure to check it out - and vote "yes" for it, if you would like to. Also, feel free to share your comments with me here on my blog. As always, I enjoy hearing from you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Winner of "Name My Etsy Store" Contest


Well, it's been an interesting month for me. I've received lots of great suggestions for my new Etsy store, but there can only be one winner. The winning name for my new Etsy store will be "RETRO REVISITED"; the suggestion for this store name came from Krista Lassiter. Congratulations, Krista! You win $25.00 of FREE merchandise from my EBay store!!!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Help Me Name My New Etsy Store Contest



It's not a secret that I've been a packrat, collector and appreciator of vintage items and oddities for a long, long time. I'm the one who goes to the antique stores with visions of decorating my entire home in vintage quilts, head vases and other cool stuff. And let's not forget those other charming things I just have to have, like vintage hankies, tablecloths, old dolls, knick-knacks and other items I can't stand to leave on the shelf at the antique store. Well, I've decided to turn my love of these things with others. I'm opening up a brand new Etsy store. It will be a shopping haven for people who like cool vintage items but want to do their shopping from their home computers. This will be the place where you can find vintage items like chenille blankets, boudoir dolls, chunky brooches, jewelry findings/supplies, fabric, old patterns, hankies, cake toppers, games and game pieces and much, much more. Many of the items listed will be things that can be repurposed into something else.

I have one dilemma, though....I don't know what to name my store. I want something catchy, cool and clever that people will remember. I was steering towards something like "Funk-a-Licious Finds", but wanted to see what other names people can come up with.

This is where you can help me. I'm holding a "NAME MY ETSY STORE" contest that will last through the end of May. Please leave a comment for me with your ideas for unique store names. There is no limit to the amount of suggestions you can give; I encourage you to think out of the box. Nothing is too crazy and all names will be considered. The contest runs all month and will end on May 30, 2009. There must be a minimum of 100 name ideas before I will select a winner. The winner will be announced during the first week of June. The winner will have their blog and/or website featured here on my blog and will also get to select $25.00 of merchandise FREE from my EBay store. Don't worry - you don't have to have an EBay ID to participate. Just pick out any "buy-it-now" item(s) you'd like from my store, and I'll send them to you.

Good luck, everyone! I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. IMPORTANT - Please make sure you leave an email or blog address in your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finished Product - Necklace Using Unconventional Mold


Back in January, I showed you how I often use unconventional molds, like product packaging, to make my resin pendants. Here is the finished product of the Our Lady of Guadalupe resin pendant I demonstrated at that time. I found these awesome pale blue and amber glass beads on EBay. They perfectly complement the colors within the pendant. Oooh la la.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Make a Button Fairy Doll - Great Earth Day Project!



Happy Earth Day! Here is a fun (and addicting) project to make if you love dolls, altered art and quick projects. It's a great way to use up those extra buttons you may have at the bottom of your sewing basket.

DIRECTIONS:

Thread several buttons onto a piece of flexible wire that is 10-11 inches long. Push the buttons towards the middle leaving wire at both ends.



Select wings and a face or a face with a torso. Use a glue stick to glue them onto poster board. Cut out, leaving an area between the wings uncut (please see photo.) This is where you will glue your top button so important to leave it there.


Place tacky glue on bottom front of doll's torso. Slide it under the top button. The top of the wire goes behind the doll and will be used as a hanger. Let dry.


Glue the doll onto the wings with tacky glue. Let dry. Decorate as desired. Isn't she lovely?



Some other examples of button fairies to get your creative juices flowing:

Enjoy!!!

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

My First Blog Award! Very Cool!



I received this terrific award from Cindy Celusta. Cindy, what can I say? I'm honored to be recognized by such a talented individual like your self. Thanks so much! You made my day!

This is what the award is all about:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. 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 prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

In the spirit of paying it forward, I am to pass this award onto 8 deserving bloggers. In no particular order, here they are:

1) Lisa Kettell:
I met Lisa on FLICKR a couple of years ago. She is one of the most generous and giving people I have ever met in the art world. She goes out of her way to make others feel special and she doesn't hesitate to share her tips and success with others;

2) Melissa Ustik:
Melissa is another awesome artist I met on FLICKR. I am forever amazed at her unique artwork and am thrilled to be the owner of a couple of her art pieces;

3) Christine Alvarado:
Christine is an amazing dollmaker. I became hooked on her dolls the first time I laid eyes on them on Etsy and I am proud to say I own of her gorgeous creations;

4) Victoria Gertenbach:
This lady can make the most interesting things out of fabric. She never ceases to amaze me with her charming creations;

5) Mary Ann McKeating:
Mary Ann is the brainchild of the "Itty Bitty Book Club". She got me hooked on these mini art books, and just like Fritos, you can't stop at just one. These things are soooooo addicting.

6) Claudia Sullins:
I met Claudia on EBay. She started out being one of my customers, and we quickly became friends. Claudia is a generous, friendly spirit and I'm so glad I got to know her. Her handmade crucifixes are beautiful;

7) Gillian Allen:
I have been a long time admirer of Gillian's work and Art-E-Zine website. She doesn't hesitate to share her artsy tips with others. Needless to say, I was thrilled when she invited me to participate in a recent Goth Postcard Swap she hosted;

8) Elizabeth Bonura:
What can I say about Elizabeth? Her polymer clay designs are exquisite. When you look at one of her polymer clay flowers, you can't tell that it's a sculpture. She has created some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen - a true inspiration.

Please be sure to visit these blogs. I think you will see why I find these people - and their work - so amazing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hotdogs for the Homeless - A Labor of Love

My middle child, Anthony attends St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Each Sunday afternoon, he heads over to Oklahoma City and does volunteer work for Hotdogs for the Homeless. My daughter, Brianna and I visited Anthony this past weekend and also had the opportunity of volunteering for this very worthwhile cause during our visit.

Hotdogs for the Homeless was started by a man named Rick Swyden 6 years ago. What began as a loving gesture to feed one hungry, homeless man on the street has evolved into Rick and his volunteers providing 300 hotdog lunches to the homeless in Oklahoma City every Sunday. To date, Rick's group has served nearly 85,000 lunches since the program began in 2003.

At 12:00 noon, the volunteers meet inside of a large vacant room in a strip mall. Here, they boil two tamale pots full of hotdogs, place them on buns, wrap them in foil and assemble bagged lunches in white paper bags which have been decorated by local school children. Each lunch consists of a hotdog, snacks, napkins, condiments and bottled water. Extra hotdogs are wrapped for those who would like seconds. By 1:00 p.m., once everything has been prepared and assembled, the lunches are put into large plastic storage boxes and placed into the backs of the volunteers' vehicles. They then drive out to three designated stops within the poor sections of the Oklahoma City streets to hand out the lunches.
The homeless are gathered at each stop. This is not only an opportunity for the homeless to eat a meal, but to talk with others, share stories and human companionship which is so often lacking in this situation. Rick often gives hugs away with the lunches; he has befriended many of these homeless people and has helped at least 30 of them get off of the streets and into homes and jobs.

The spirit of giving is contagious. Many of the volunteers add their own bit of love into the mix. One regular volunteer bakes cookies each weekend and gives them out at the stops. Others bring gently used clothing, new scarves and backpacks to share during this time. Honestly, I'm not sure who enjoyed this time more - the homeless people or the volunteers - but in any case, it is a heartwarming experience for all concerned. In our current economic situation, it's nice to know that even the smallest gestures of kindness can evolve into such an amazing and touching event.

CBS Evening News ran a touching story on Hotdogs for the Homeless in 2007. Please be sure to check it out on the Hotdogs for the Homeless website. Also, if you would like to donate to this worthwhile organization, you can find out the details through their website.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Conversation Heart Resin Belt Buckle


Just in time for Valentine's Day, this funky and fun belt buckle features real Conversation Heart candies. It is made from resin so it is durable and will last for many years to come. It is available for purchase on Etsy and EBay. This is definitely one of my favorite creations to date.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ice Storm Causes Destruction in My Town

On Monday night, my little town of Springdale, Arkansas was hit with a devastating ice storm. We knew the storm was coming but we had no idea of the damage we would experience from this. Tuesday morning, 1/2" to 2" of ice had accumulated on the roads, sidewalks and trees. Schools and businesses were closed because it was too dangerous to try to drive. My daughter, Brianna and I were inside our home listening to the trees make popping noises as the branches collapsed under the weight of the ice. We are photograph nuts and we've never seen anything like this, so we snapped pictures like crazy outside. Little did we know that many of our pictures would be the last of our home with it's big beautiful ornamental pear trees in the front yard. As we snapped pictures, we watched our huges trees buckle under the ice. One of the trees split in half; part of it landed on my car; the other part of it landed on my son's car. My entire neighborhood experienced damage like we have never seen before and it literally looks like a bomb went off in my neighborhood. My entire town and the surrounding areas lost electricity on Tuesday. It is now Saturday, and I anxiously wait for my power to be restored. Word has it that 95% of my town will have power restored by midnight tonight (Saturday). Our Governor, Mike Beebe, has declared our town a Federal Disaster area. I understand that there will be funding available for clean up and repairs but that's really all I know at this time.

In any case, I am thankful for the use of my town's library computer today. I am a big news junkie and I literally feel like I have been cut off from the world for the past 5 days. Between that and the cabin fever, this has been a frustrating experience. Thankfully, my family and friends are all alright. We are also fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood where people still help one another. We don't have to worry about looting or anything like that. Neighbors I have never met before came over and sawed tree branches in my yard, helping to remove them from the vehicles and the street. In times like this, it is comforting to know that people are willing to help one another when times get tough.

Once I am able to access my computer from home, I'll be posting pictures from the storm on Facebook and Flickr. Please stay tuned.....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Art Circus has FINALLY Been Released - Yay!


My dear artist friend, Lisa Kettell, has a new book on the market titled, "Art Circus, Techniques for Journals, Paper Dolls, Art Cards, and Assemblages." Lisa is a wonderful artist - her designs are full of magical whimsy sure to inspire creativity in others.

Lisa's book also features artwork from several guest artists, including: Gina Smith, Eileen Grobeck, Jennifer Hayslip, Lori Karla, Debrina Pratt, Izabella Pierce, Laurie Duncan, Marla Tomlinson, Amanda Howard, Ann-Denise Anderson, Alejandra Pliegro, Sandra Koterba and....ME!!! (WHOO HOO!) I know many of these fabulous artists from Flickr and other internet groups. Their artwork really is eye candy for the soul. I think you will agree once you check out the book.

Art Circus was originally scheduled for release on 2/1/09, but I received notification that Amazon.com shipped copies that I ordered for gifts yesterday. A few weeks ago, Lisa had informed us that pre-sales for the book were doing so well that the publisher (Quarry Books) decided to release the book a month early. I live in a small town and we aren't normally first on the list when it comes to receiving new things. That includes books. I think I've worn down the carpet in my local Barnes and Noble looking for Art Circus there. Oh, well, maybe my publisher's copy of the book will arrive any day now. I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival; it definitely gives me something to look forward to over the next few days.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

World Wide Blog Giveaway (OWOH)



......And the winners are.....

CAROLYN (aka DAFFY)

and

CINDY CELUSTA!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!


I just found ou
t about a terrific worldwide blog event being held on Thursday, February 12, 2009.

The event is called "One World One Heart" and is the brainchild of Lisa Swifka of A Whimsical Bohemian. This is an annual event in which bloggers from around the world hold a giveaway on their blog. The giveaway can consist of anything including, but not limited to: antiques, supplies, etc., but original artwork of any kind is encouraged. Lisa thought this would be a great way to connect with other bloggers while celebrating the spirit of giving and friendship.

Please be sure to visit the One World One Heart Blog for list of those holding giveaways. You can also sign up to participate in this awesome event. (As of just a few minutes ago, when I signed up, they had 344 different bloggers from all over the world signed up to participate.) This is a great way to meet others while checking out some fantastic blogs and artwork. And of course, you have the chance to win free giveaways, too! ;)

Since I am not one to pass up a fun event like this, I am happy to tell you that I am giving away not one, but two handmade resin rings (pictured above) as part of this event. The first ring consists of a real conversation heart candy piece and sprinkles embedded in a clear resin base; the second ring consists of a handmade fuschia polymer clay rose set in a deep black resin base. The rings are adjustable. Two lucky winners will each receive one of the rings. To enter, please leave your name and email address or blog address in the comment section below this post no later than February 11 at 11:59 p.m. (After all, I will have to contact you to get your mailing address if you win.) That's it! Isn't that easy? The winners will be drawn and announced on February 12.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quick Tip - Getting Resin Out of Molds When It Sticks

When using larger molds such as the ones for belt buckles and paperweights, the resin will often stick and can be difficult to remove from the mold. As these molds are not flexible, you can't pop the resin piece out like you can with the smaller jewelry molds. I had this happen once when making a belt buckle and I almost threw the whole thing away out of frustration. I contacted the resin manufacturer and they gave me a very helpful tip that really works.

Turn the mold upside down so the resin part faces the table. Take a heat gun and move it all over the back and sides of the mold. Pick up the mold and slam it against the surface of the table a couple of times. The resin piece will inch it's way out of the mold. The heat from the heating tool constricts the resin which allows it to slide out of the mold. It really works!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quick Tip - Polishing Sanded Edges of Resin

One frustration often shared with me by people who make resin jewelry is that once they sand off the rough edges of their pieces, they are left with dull, matte edges.

I have a quick tip I'd like to share with you that I use on all of my resin pieces after I sand them. I submerge the resin piece in water to remove the dust caused by sanding, and then I dry this off with a soft lint-free towel. I place a dot of Diamond Glaze on my index finger and lightly apply it to the sanded edges. Once the Diamond Glaze has dried, you can't tell any difference on where the resin ends and where the Glaze begins.

I would not, however, recommend using Diamond Glaze over the entire resin piece, as it is not as indestructable as resin is. It easily picks up scratches, so the overall beauty of your resin piece may not withstand years of wear and tear. Take it from me - stick with glazing just the edges and you'll come out alright in the long run.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Using Unconventional Items for Resin Molds


If you search any website or craft store which sells resin molds, you are bound to see the same ones at each shop. I like a little variety in my jewelry making projects, and I don't want my designs to look like everyone else's. For that reason, I often make my resin molds from unconventional items.

One of the items I love to use for resin molds is the pre-molded plastic packaging you often see on a myriad of items in regular stores. These are terrific because you can find all sorts of sizes and shapes, many of which are perfect for resin projects. Because the packaging was not originally designed for resin projects, please keep in mind that you can only use each mold one time. Be sure to plan accordingly if you need several pieces for a project.



Supplies:

Plastic packaging (For the project shown here, I used packaging from mini Christmas ornaments.)
Mold release spray
Resin mixed according to manufacturer's instructions
Scissors

Directions:

If your plastic comes in several sections, cut out one section to be used for your project. Be sure to leave a rim around the outer edge of the packaging so you can easily lift the item.

Using a soft, lint free towel, wipe out the inside of the mold.

Lightly spray mold release into the mold and let dry. After this dries, if you notice small spots left by the spray, wipe these off with your towel. If you don't do this, these will transfer to your design and you won't be able to remove them later.

Pour resin into the packaging and add prepared embeds or photos as desired. To remove air bubbles in the resin, circulate a heat gun over the top of the resin. You will see the bubbles pop as they are zapped with the gun. Use caution in doing this, though. If you overheat the resin, it can cause problems in the setting of the resin and it also can melt your mold. Let the resin cure.

Once the resin has cured, use scissors to snip away at the outer edges of the mold. Use your hands to tear away what can't be cut with scissors.

And there you have it! Your completed unique resin project made from your own mold! Enjoy!

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