Saturday, November 29, 2008


We gathered.

We ate.

We are worn out.

Advent starts tomorrow. Christmas time is here!
I will meet you back here Monday with a Christmas Craft.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today the weirdest thing happened. I am still not sure how exactly it happened. But happen it did. What happened was that I went into work at the library late. 4 hours late to be exact. I won't go into all the details (mostly because I am not sure about them, how it happened, why it happened, where the mix-up came from...) But my calender said one thing and when I got there my boss said another. In these situations I feel you gotta go with what the boss says. Hands down. And since my shift was only 4 hours there was no need for me to stay. When I left I felt so bad about it all...lost,confused completely, and utterly embarrassed and on the verge of tears. So I did the one thing that I knew would calm my spirit, and settle me down. I drove straight to my favorite flea market this side of town.

To me, there is almost nothing more soothing than walking around a funky flea market, in a half-trance, half- thinking mode. Just meandering, absorbing and keeping an eye out for bargains has this tranquil effect on me (much like what my sister tells me hiking up a mountain is for her. I can't imagine it is half as fun, but to each her own...)
And if I am lucky enough to find a bargain, well that is just icing on the cupcake...
Today my icing was white Christmas lights on white strands for 95 cents. Those and a dozen vintage Christmas ornaments for a $1.
When I could finally think straight again, my wits back with me, still confused about what happened, but no longer flummoxed or on the verge of tears, I headed back home with my treasures in hand.

When I got home I realized what a gift the unexpected 4 hours had become. Lately my days have been so tightly packed, every minute of every hour planned. Even my hours of fun or rest have been squished and squeezed and scheduled. There hasn't been much room for the unexpected, the spontaneous around here lately.

To come home and have unplanned time - time to plug in and spread out my new twinkle lights, time to sit in my squishy chair and eat a warm bowl of pasta, time to dig in the dirt with Miles, and time to sweep the leaves off the back patio in anticipation of tomorrows feast, was a gift of the richest kind. Unexpected and much needed.

Today I am thankful for small unexpected strange gifts that bring light and peace with them.
I still feel bad that the mix-up happened. I of course want to be a good and prompt employee. But I can't help but feel that somehow, the mistake, honest as it was, was a gift of time given back to me. I am so thankful I got to enjoy my home so much today, and that tomorrow I get to share it with so many of the people I love.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Would You...

Buy the kit to make these?

(You know, if you were the kit buying, crafting making type...)

I have often toyed with getting into the Crafty Kit business. I love to make the "first" of anything. The proto-type. But what I don't always love is being a one-woman factory. And when you are a one-woman factory you can't really make more than one or 2 products in mass quantise without losing your mind or your family or both.

So I thought that with today's economy and with my desire to create new products maybe doing kits is the way to go for my newest ideas and creations... Just a thought...

I am going to start with a few of these little tree kits when my new LolliShop opens after Thanksgiving and see how that goes. Let me know what you think - would you or wouldn't you?

Thankful for...

Today I am thankful for so many things. For the sun that is shinning in through my office window, for my warm cup of coffee, for my sweet boy Wylie who greets me every morning with a hug and hair wildly out of place, and for 2 extended mornings at home. Today and tomorrow I don't have to go to work at the Library till a little later in the day and I am so glad. This reprieve could not have come at a better time. Between Thanksgiving (which we are hosting) and orders (which need to go out NOW!) and upcoming Church events (that I am sort of in charge of) I have a lot on my plate this week. But it is ALL things I am grateful and thankful for. These are things that I am happy to be busy with and that are worth all the effort.

I have been meaning for months to write about our new church. I have wanted to properly take the time to write a nice long post about how full my heart is right now, and how amazing this journey has been to our new church home, but I can never find the words or the time at the same moment. So this is going to be my brief (ha!) attempt at summing it all up.
This past Mother's Day our little family visited this little church because some of our oldest and dearest friends were there and Mark had asked Nathan to play with him that Sunday. The boys and I went along for the ride and to see some old pals.

What we experienced that day was something I thought would never happen again in a church. It felt like home. Purely and simply home. Some of you know our church story (I have written some about it here, and Nathan has written about here) but over the past 18 months I have not written about it really at all because there wasn't much to say. We were in transition. We had found a wonderful resting place in another church. A great church where we made amazing God-given friends and where we had time to recover, heal and rest. The fit wasn't perfect but we knew that was as much about our "stuff" as it was anything the church itself was doing or not doing. Both being Preachers Kids, Nathan and I knew better than to blame our disconnectedness on the pastors or the church as a whole. We had found ways to serve, we had made friends, we knew the hearts of our leaders to be good and the church was almost in walking distance of our house. We were not looking to leave, but we were not cemented in either. So that Mother's Day when we walked into Vineyard and I could not stop smiling, and when we went out to lunch and Nathan and I just kept shaking our heads and saying "well, what did you think?" over and over, it became very obvious very quickly that we were about to make a change. Several other things reaffirmed this decision in our hearts and by Father's Day we were officially part of our new church. And I have not stopped smiling.

Things are not perfect there either (no church is don't ya know?) And as a church body we are small and we are simple and we are in transition as we grow and change. But maybe it is because I lost it once -this knowing that I am home-that I am so very, very grateful for it now. So grateful and so happy that I want to try and not take it for granted this time. I am want to nurture and protect and encourage it to grow, because to lose your home - even your spiritual home - is heartbreaking and gut wrenching in ways that are hard to explain if you have never had it happen. It is as if your whole world has suddenly come undone and you are left without a net. So to have that back, to have a net and a home is an amazing gift that I am so very, very thankful for this season.

(PS- if you want to know who won my giveaway - go here)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Week of Thanks

We are now entering into the Week of Thanksgiving and I think we should take this week to post about things - big and small- that we are thankful for...

This could not come at a better time for me because I am extremely worn out after 2 weeks of non-stop working and living life at a supreme holiday fever pitch, which is making me a little punchy and cranky. Today when I woke up I knew the end had come. My body and soul were just done with all that. Rest it is screaming, REST!
So today I took a nap. And it was nice. The supreme madness is over and now it is is just regular busy, which is fine. I like regular busy. And I am actually anxious to get to bannerin' later on tonight because guess what I am thankful for today?

My NEW desk! A beautiful heavy duty craft-perfect hand-me-down.

This 8ft white beauty was a gift bequeathed to me by a good friend after the death of her first marriage (she is happily re-married to a wonderful guy so all is well there.) Her new house didn't quite have the exact right place for this particular bit of furniture so guess who she thought of for it? Me! Let me tell you it is a crafters delight - even if it currently does take up the majority of my office. (Mostly because we choose to float it in the middle of the room instead of putting it up against the least for now.)

My favorite feature has to be the huge lazy-susan feature on the far right end. I mean what crafter doesn't love a great lazy-susan? All the things I need on a daily basis are now at an arms reach, sitting on this great little turntable.

There are so many drawers. Drawers for glitter...

Drawers for stamping supplies...

For die cuts and hole punches...

And for paper! All my paper, loose and in book form now has a home tucked away in big sturdy drawers. Oh happy day!

On the left end of my desk is my "tool center" where my large paper cutter and Ellison machine hang out. Again, perfectly located.

We moved out the pitiful card table that my tools had been on replaced it with my previous craft table. This is now my Wrapping & Shipping Center. A whole table just dedicated to wrapping and shipping. I feel positively spoiled.

Yesterday I spent the morning using my new arrangement to get some last minute Thanksgiving banners sent out and let me tell you it was SO nice not to be on top of myself the whole time. When I get going, trying to get banners made and mailed in a short period I tend to look like Clark Griswald on the cover of the Christmas Vacation Movie box, but instead of being covered in Christmas lights like Clark I am covered in ribbon and packing-fetti. It is pretty funny, well sorda.

So you can see why I am VERY VERY thankful for my new desk.
And it is cute to boot!

So this week I am going to try and write about something big or small, deep or silly, that I am thankful for every day and I would love to know if you want to do the same thing!

(PS- big hugs to everyone for your sweet support for helping me kick Velma to the curb, it is working!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

News on the Storia HOME Front

First of all I just wanted to let you know that my article on setting a Vintage Thankful Table for Thanksgiving is up at Vintage Indie Mag.

Secondly I wanted to let everyone know that I am have a 1 Day Sale over at my Online Holiday Open House. Today is the last day to buy the Christmas in a Bottle items. What doesn't sell today will go in my local shoppe here in town.
I am going to leave the vintage listed in Storia VINTAGE for the time being. Several of those items have free shipping so be sure to check them out!

Thanks to everyone who entered the give-away drawing. I will announce a winner on Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Up Close and Personal Part 3 - The Final Installment

I am really excited to share this last shop with you. The name of it is Park Hill Home and it is right here in my neighborhood, by the same name.
The store is owned by Todd Smith and Charlie Groppetti, 2 local fellas who also happen to live on my street. They have a great old craftsman style bungalow and their yard is absolutely beautimous thanks to Charlie's green thumb and addiction to over seeding it with Rye Grass.
It is so beautiful in fact that Miles refers to it as "the beautiful field."

I have been secretly keeping tabs on Todd and Charlie ever since I bought a few items at a garage sale of theirs about 3 years ago and then found out they had a booth in a local antique mall. Once you have encountered their goodies it is easy to pick their booth out in a crowd. They really stand apart from many other local designers and stores with their soothing color pallet and love of old and weathered things.

Last year I found them at our local Christmas bazaar shopping extravaganza put on by the Junior League called Holiday House and and went gaga over their Christmas selection.
There collection was so old fashioned and simple. I was in love..

So imagine my giddy delight when I saw the items that were filling up the display windows on the old house-turned-shop on the busy road that runs down the middle of Park Hill. I could not believe my luck - they were opening a real shop, and within walking distance of my house! Oh happy day!

In addition to the new store Todd and Charlie also have a Wholesale line that they show at markets called Park Hill Collection
They show all over the country, and last week Sandra Bullock even placed a big order for her shop in Austin. How fab is that?

In a recent interview Charlie said that before they started PHC they never saw "the story we imagined being told at market." You know that anyone who refers to "telling a story" through design is speaking my language. After all I named my shoppe with the same idea in mind - Storia = Story in Italian. It's no wonder I love these guys and their wares so much.

One of the neat things about their store is that because it is in an old house -turned-shop they have left some things very true to the original design. For instance in the kitchen is where they sell all sorts of important jams, jellies, Italian flat breads etc. There is also a working sink in there.
Don't you just love this row of canned goods? What a great display!
The first time I went in to Park Hill Home Jeanetta was with me and for fun I made her stare this "gift horse" in the face while I snapped a shot.

Last night At Home in Arkansas threw Todd and Charlie an open house (the new store is featured in the upcoming holiday issue of the magazine) and Nathan and I stopped in to wish the guys well and pick a few baubles for myself

These guys love birds nest as much as I do and I have bought several from them over the years, so last night I picked up one more small one and a beautiful glass ornament that I just could not resist. Isn't it lovely?

I am so proud to have them and their store as part of our re-emerging neighborhood and if you live near by or visit here you must stop in and say hello! There is so much more than what I have shown here (for instance for Christmas the whole top floor was filled with amazing red holly garland!)

Thanks for going on these little jaunts with me - it has been a lot of fun to share them all with you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Velma Be Gone

I have a new obsession. It is called Picnik and I found it throught Flickr.

It is the most user friendly photo-editing program I have ever encountered. It makes sense to me, it is simple and flexible and highly user intuitive.
Which is good, because there is no more room in my brain or my day for dealing with Photoshop. I just don't have it in me anymore. I am too fuzzy around the edges of my mind these days. But Picnik has brought some ease and happiness to my photo editing once again and I am so grateful for that, even if it is sort of a silly thing to be grateful for.

Besides my new obsession, I also have a confession I would like to share. I feel a green eyed monster rising up in me these days and I am not proud of her. I want to her to go back away, squish her back down.
Jealousy is not one of my bigger issues, but when she does take the time to make an appearance, boy does she make it!
Liz @ Mabel's House is having a giveaway contest to name your Metabolism. I think we should have one to name our Green Eyed Monsters. What would mine be I wonder? Velma the Vicious? Ungrateful Gertie?

But despite the grass that I (AKA Velma) have been eyeing lately and thinking that it is greener/more popular /lovelier than my grass, I realize that it in fact is not greener grass, it is just different grass. And really, when I take a moment to breathe and count my blessings, I remember that I adore my grass & am proud of my grass even if it is currently covered with a ton of leaves. And I am very grateful and that alone puts Velma to rest most days.

To that end I would like to take this moment to thank several people who have "left their light on" for me so to speak and encouraged me lately. Please go visit their blogs and sites and encourage them too if you don't mind. This time of year I think all of us can use a little extra attention and encouragement. Or is that just me and Velma?

So a BIG THANKS and HUGS to:

Gabriel for always including me and encouraging me no matter how busy I am...
take a look at her fab Vintage Indie Market - it is chocked full of GREAT finds & shops!

CeeCee of Womenpreneurs who included me in her cool new project:
Handcrafting Women of the Web

Amy from The B-Line who featured my banner on this post

Shelia from Lookiloos who posted another banner on this post

Cathy of Cathymacs Holiday Hamlet who came out on a Sunday with her sweet mother to visit my Shoppe and hug my neck! You made my day!

to Lisa from Lula Bells Daughter who gave me a great award ages ago and I never passed it on or properly thanked her for it.

and last but not least I need to thank Jeanetta who is my loyal partner in craft crime
and who puts up with my crazy bouts of uncertainty and overcommitted-ness.

These are just a few of the people who have encouraged me lately, and I do not need to let Velma and her self-centered ways cause me to forget all these gals and so many more - like all of you who read my blog, who pass it on to others, who comment & who shop with me, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to each one of you for making each day a little brighter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vintage Tuesday

Today is Vintage Tuesday at the Online Holiday Open House!
Lots of great steals and deals to be made...

Here is one of my favorite finds for sale over there:

a great Santa tin from England. The colors are so great and vivid!
Make sure you stop by the OPEN HOUSE so you can enter to win a banner!

Here is a sweet picture of Miles being my helper doing my little shoppe "photo shoots."
I love how all the light is flooding his face in this picture, it seems to capture just how bright that smile makes me feel, andhow it can light up any room.
This kid is my supreme snuggler and last night when he crawled into bed with me in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn't help but pull him close and bury my face in his hair. He might be my last baby and it is hard to imagine that someday it might be just Nathan and I in our bed together every single night without little visitors in need of some cuddling. Even though I might not get the best rest in the world sandwiched in between all my men -big and small - I am convinced that I get the best love in the world.
Everything comes to an end sooner or later, and someday so will the cuddling, so I guess I will trade deep sleep for warm snuggles and count my blessings.

Monday, November 17, 2008

1 2 3 OPEN

My Online Holiday Open House is NOW Open!!

I will be adding new items daily - both handmade and vintage, so be sure to check back often!

Click HERE to see what is for sale today!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

1 Down

Hallelujah, the hardest part is over!
The biggest craft push is done. I would say it is all downhill from here, but I know better. Maybe it will just be nice even ground the next 2 days. Steady yes, but maybe not crazy. Let's all hope.

Here are a few pics from the Holiday Bazaar that I participated in today. The lighting was not spectacular, so my pics are less than stellar, but you will get the general idea...

Turnout was OK for a small first time event. I made a profit so that is a good day for me - especially since I have discovered that I am not the craft fair type...
But I am glad I did it and help to support a good cause, and I was able to do a teensy bit of Christmas shopping myself.

If you look closely you will see a few sneak-peaks from my upcoming Online Open Holiday House which is going to feature both Handmade and Vintage Holiday Goodies, along with some Supplies... So stay tuned, I am just getting started.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crafty Crazy

Guess who is buried under banners and glitter and glue?



Because I have 3 - count them 3- Holiday Selling Events in 3 days....

What was I thinking?



Noon-5PM @ The Shoppes on Woodlawn

If you live close please come by and have time to pop over to say hello I would LOVE to see a friendly face and maybe even get a hug? I think I am going to need an IV of Coffee before it is all done.

Both of these events should be lots o'fun even, if I am left limp like a noodle at the end of them...


And if you are anxiously awaiting my Online Holiday Open House, please hold on just a tad longer... I am going to start selling on Monday instead of Saturday to hopefully preserve some small tinsely shred of my sanity...

If you think of it say a little prayer for me... It is going to be a crazy weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Up Close and Personal Part 2

Sunday my little family and I took a day trip up to Eureka Springs
to hand deliver a wholesale order to the beautiful and lovely Gina from Feather Your Nest.

Eureka Springs is one of those cute artsy Ozark towns that has unique shopping, great food and that fun independent air about it that happens when so many artist and tourist co-exist in the same small space. It reminds me a lot of Juneau, AK the town I grew up in, and so it is always a lovely, somewhat nostalgic trip for me.
Having the deliver the wholesale order was just a convenient excuse for going this time...

Our first stop in Eureka was Gina's wonderful shop - Feather Your Nest.
Nestled in an adorable shopping old-town style shopping center on the outskirts of downtown proper, this shop is so full of eye candy and so cute I could barely stand it!

I met Gina through Blogland and it has been so great to get to know her - of course in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of her but I did manage to get her way in the background of this shot, behind all the yummy sugary & tinsely Christmas village items.

I love all these Farmhouse Laundry goodies. I would love a laundry room that had shelves full of this great smelling prettily packaged brand of cleaning products all lined up in a row.

In my opinion, a perfectly decorated laundry has got to be the ultimate luxury.

Here's Gina's kid section. I just love, love that Happy Birthday bunting and she had just gotten some more styles in from England while I was there. No wonder I love it - it's from England!

If I thought that it wouldn't be dirty five minutes after I bought it, I would have snatched up this great tea-towel bag - and it was such a great price!

Little kitchen set up. Look at all the red dots and stripes. I will take it all!

I love the sign propped up on this bench of pillows - great entryway piece.

More Christmas. Some of those little Christmas houses you see came home with me. My favorite is the one with the green "tin" roof. Too cute!

More cuteness!
If you live within driving distance of Eureka Springs I would encourage you to go - even if just for the day! And make sure you stop by Gina's shop and see what kind of new goodies she has.
This is as close to the type of shop that I would have myself that I have seen in a while and it was so refreshing and fun!
If you don't live close enough to visit, never fear - Gina sells lots of her goodies online , so go gather your pennies and get to shopping!
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