Saturday, October 17, 2009

Creativity Celebrated

It is always nice to be recognized by one’s peers, and this past week we had another Etsy Treasury find us. This one is especially special because it is of one of my partner’s creative photographs that was found and added to this
“Herd of Dachshunds” treasury made by (If you get a chance to check out her site. It abounds with some of the greatest refrigerator magnets ever - - they are both decorative and show wonderful imagination!)

Any of you that have ever held a camera understand that creativity in photography is a real art, and all the photos on our Etsy sites (product shots), plus banners, plus the beautiful art note cards and nature photographs are all “Images by Victoria”. I am often blown away with the beauty of her macro flower shots, and the whimsical critter shots she comes up with. Recently she took a great art shot of the October full moon, which we’ve added to our photo offerings at

We’ve had some kind of serious down time with medical issues over the past several weeks, so this treasury came at a really good time for us. Sometime when life hands you some downtime, uncertainty, and frustration- - it’s important to remember the good stuff. We’re working at surrounding our days with sunshine, flowers, and all the beauty nature’s bounty holds.

And hey, if you get a chance check out our shops, they’re an easy mouse click from this blog page, and a little “ka ching” is good stuff too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Treasures and Treasuries

Etsy Treasuries are a collection of things that blend because of color, type, style, textures, etc. that someone selects from many shops to showcase together as a “treasury“.

CritterConnection had an item picked recently for “Treasury West” which was in a “Rocky Mountain High” theme. My thanks to Sue at for including our log cabin in this treasury.

This log cabin was made in the 1940's for Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., and given to their employees. It is an exact replica of the log cabin Abraham Lincoln grew up in in Illinois. It is made all of wood, small logs with a split shake roof.

This has been a great teaching tool, and has been to many "show & tells" in the past 60 years. It is still in excellent condition. The cabin is 7 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide, and 6 inches high. The attached shed is 2x2 1/2 inches.

Now this piece of Americana history is ready to be repurposed-- in a Christmas scene? as a Halloween or Thanksgiving prop? (place a light inside for a nice warm glow) Or maybe it could again be a teaching tool? Or just maybe- - this is the perfect gift for the miniature collector who values history and well made things?

Look for this interesting item at CritterConnection plus much much more of vintage and handmade jewelry, figurines, and critter supplies.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Butterfly Sense

“Just living is not enough” said the butterfly. “One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower” - - - - (Hans Christian Anderson)

It’s easy to stick your nose to the grindstone, day in and day out, and there is some sense of achievement in that maybe , or maybe all you have at the end of your week is a “ground down nose”.

Looking up and appreciating the day is important. Worrying about what comes next, Will you have a job? Will the mortgage get paid? Will I ever find happiness? is counterproductive. If you can’t plan ahead to achieve an outcome, if it is out of your control - - breathe out and look around you. This minute will never come again, so for this moment find something to focus on that brings a smile to your lips and lightens your step just a little.

We are responsible for our thoughts and our direction. Intentional sunshine, (or positive thought), is the key to our well being. It’s been demonstrated in many case studies, that staying positive (looking up instead of down), even something as simple as smiling, effects our entire being, even to the effect it has on our immune systems.

Freedom, or free will, is the key. We have the freedom to cultivate friendships, to let those we love know we appreciate them. We are free to pursue special interests - - get out of the rut and try something new! We are free to change our perspective.

Begin the day with a mantra like “Life is good. This day is mine.
I will walk in beauty through my day. I will be kind. Today I will find five things that are good, enjoyable, or beautiful. I am grateful for this new day.”

Don’t forget our butterfly said we also need a little flower. Like the butterfly, we need to seek our flower, it doesn’t come to us. Sustenance, joy, and beauty all have to be sought out - - but first we must look up with our eyes and our hearts!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

My partner and I were kicking a few ideas around about the direction we’d like to see our Etsy shops heading today. (The shops already contain collectibles from around the world, and wonderful ethnic items we’ve picked up along the way).

It’s nice listing items that have been stored away for years, kind of like revisiting old friends. It’s a great feeling when someone sees something in the shops that they like, and places an order. Sending these items on their way to a new home to be enjoyed anew creates an almost a pay it forward feeling!

Jewelry design has always been one of my passions, and many of our items reflect handmade creations of my design.

However, one of our early loves was creating for, and participating in, Native American pow wows in California and Texas. So as we were ruminating about direction - - we decided to make a line of smudging fans. (Smudging is used in many ethnicities and spiritual ceremonies as part of the act of cleansing the energy of a specific space, or even the energy surrounding an individual.)

So, one of our new (everything old is new again) directions is to add a line of these leather and feather fans to our CrystalCreek Etsy shop.

I guess it’s a good thing winter is coming - - a great time to get creative with some of the crafts we love!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

- - With a Little Help from My Friends

Ahhhh, late August - - and the days go by, one very much like the last. Fall is coming (and though I don’t want to rush it), the “dog days” of summer are still holding on with a 100 degree death grip, and one’s enthusiasm level for projects of any kind starts to wane.

That was kind of the way my August was rock’n on. Then one morning I was in kind of a three-way chat with a couple of my “closest and dearest”, and a new idea took root for one of them that has added a lot of pleasure, by proximity, to my life. (We’re all cheerleaders for one another, so one’s enthusiasm for a project soon becomes infectious!)

Having been involved in Etsy shops since February, and being very enthusiastic about the opportunities there, I have been trying to encourage my buddy, the real estate broker, to somehow get involved. (Re-plowing the same ground, i.e. real estate in this market, can start to be a downer no matter how good you are, and she’s better than good).

On the morning I’m speaking of, our Realty “bud” was in her glory in her kitchen, making up a new recipe for an amazing dessert - - happier than we’d heard her in a long time. “V”, the third in our group commented on this and said "If cooking is your bliss, why don’t you follow it? You could combine what you love with the possibility of “ka-ching”, and have fun doing it!"

To make a long story shorter, “A” the realtor, has been researching, cooking, writing and working on graphics ever since with an eye towards opening her own shop on Etsy highlighting what she loves - - and she has been such a delight, and her enthusiasm is so great that I am viewing my own projects with a less jaundiced eye.

“V”, the photographer for our Etsy shop with product shots, note cards,and photographic art, and the Flickr site, has also been re-energized and has entered her photos on “”, and National Geographic.

I’m trying to re-focus energy into our shops by buckling down and making new items to list, and re-working “tags”, descriptions, and sometimes pricing. And I’m having fun again !

----All it took was a little help from my friends !

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vision Quest '09

“Don’t be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
These words were spoken by Steve Jobs at Stanford University.

Recently, I have had reason to recall these words after coming up against a person whom I both love and respect - - but is now espousing such vitriolic narrow ideas that I am both confounded and saddened by their choices.

Tolerance is a word widely bandied about, but not often broadly defined. I believe that to be tolerant, one must be open to all viewpoints, religions, races, and thoughts in general. This doesn’t mean we must abandon our own truths, but that we make room to listen and accept that others have an honest right to own their truths too.

We are not all alike, but we are all on the same journey. I believe that our journey is progressive and needs to encompass the study of our deeper nature and the natural laws and principles that apply to man and all living creation.

There are two kinds of thought, the first is more fluid in form. It encompasses those that support the limitless possibilities of growth and expansion that lie within each one of us. People who are fluid in their intelligence are attracted to studies that aren’t limited to the current paradigm.

The second type of intelligence is more static. People unwilling to consider information or experiences that challenge their established beliefs fall into this category. Unfortunately, these people often use an attack mode when they hear something that is outside “their box”. Is it fear or jealousy that motivates someone to attempt to discredit anything that is outside their sphere of influence?

My choice is to be open to all ideas, incorporating those that resonate with my own deeper nature, and letting go of those that don’t. My daily choice is love over hate, and consideration for those that choose to isolate themselves within a box of someone else’s rationale.

It is our emotional attachment to certain beliefs that limit our ability to see the greater realities.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flower Power

When I wakened the other day and looked out at the morning, I was greeted by such a wonderful array of colors in my gardens, bright and opened new to a new day. I couldn’t help but think how brave all those flowers were, here in the midst of a Texas summer, knowing they’d be blasted by over 100 degrees and drying winds before the day was very old, they still blossomed fresh and bright to greet the new day.

Later in the morning I was going through some paperwork and happened on a quote from Oprah (not always a favorite of mine, but I give her kudos for having the right attitude!), - - “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Now the Universe had my attention. Was there something missing in me or my day? Did even the smallest flowers have a secret I wasn’t paying attention to?
I decided to put my paper work aside for a while and meditate and just to be open to possibilities.

I wish I could say I became enlightened, that everything stressful magically disappeared (my bills were still where I’d left them, and still needed paying). However, before I started my next round of tasks and work for the day, I took some time to look around me and made a list of all the things I am truly grateful for and all the things I enjoy. After looking over what had become a fairly lengthy list I realized one more time how really blessed I am, and the rest of that day went by with more ease and more smiles than it had begun with.

Since this small epiphany, I try and lighten each day going into it with a glance at my (ever-growing) list of “thankfuls”. My flowers still greet me with newly bright little “faces”, and I smile back - - knowing each day is new, each moment is filled with possibilities, and the crystal moment that exists with each breath is one to enjoy right now, because each and every moment is precious.