Sunday, November 30, 2008

Which Came First...the Story Or The Bead...?

I'm still in the middle of the big Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales that a lot of Etsy sellers are doing this weekend. I'm in several different street teams that are participating and you can read more about those in my shop announcements.

One of those street teams is the very active EtsyBloggers Street Team and one of our most active members is the featured seller for the month of November, Storybeader.

I've mentioned in a previous blog entry that I'm not much of a jewelry wearer, but she makes beautiful beaded necklaces, bracelets, and all kinds of fun stuff and they're all so interesting. You should really take a few minutes to browse her Etsy shop and see what I mean.

Be sure you look at the necklaces ...the description for each one starts with a haiku she wrote especially for that necklace!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Merry Christmas, Darling!

With Thanksgiving becoming a memory we can now officially turn our eyes toward Christmas. I've been wallowing in Christmas for weeks now, working on a large order for my Mini-Puzzle Ball Christmas Ornaments.

Here's another series of projects I've been working on. These are just right for using as tags on your presents, adding to your package's ribbons as decorations, include them with your Christmas cards, or pin one to your lapel to make someone smile. These are a few I've come up with so far, but if you have other ideas, feel free to leave a comment or send me a convo on Etsy if you'd like to order Custom Christmas Buttons this year.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Mom's Thanksgiving

I think I've mentioned before in this blog that my mother out-Martha Stewart-ed Martha Stewart long before anybody ever heard that name. She was an artist and her home was her canvas. (I'm not sure if her kids were her masterpieces or if we were the dollops of paint splattered along the way, but that sounds like another blog entry!)

While my firstborn was home from college for Thanksgiving we sifted through a pile of old snapshots from her childhood and I found a few that I just had to share with you tonight, before the day gets away from us.

This is the centerpiece on my mother's dining room table one Thanksgiving Day years ago. Nothing special, mind you, just something she'd put out when the season was right whether company was coming or not. Being the snap-happy photographer that I am, I had to preserve it for posterity. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

She Almost Made It to 101

Well, she almost made it to 101. My grandmother passed away last Friday and was buried yesterday. Just a simple graveside ceremony...she never wanted to be any trouble to anybody. Her 101st birthday would have been December 4th.

She was doing really well and living in a nursing home just a block away from where my father and step-mother live, so they could visit her regularly. It's the town where my husband and daughters and I lived for 11 years, too, so I knew all the folks at the church who would be checking up on her, and that was nice.

Grandma was 98 before she gave up living on her own and finally moved to a nursing home. She was still getting around pretty well with her walker until a few weeks ago.

She was ready to go, though, and had lived a long and happy life. So although I'll miss her terribly, I know it was her time. And I know where she is now.

For years, my grandmother and "Granddaddy Cy" ran a hamburger stand in Temple, Texas on South First Street. When my father was a ministerial student at Baylor University, he introduced many of his classmates to them and got them hooked on the specialty of the house, the "Cyburger". As these students scattered to preach and lead revivals in many small town churches around central Texas, they knew they could always get a burger on the way back to the campus. And help was always available if they had a flat tire or needed a tow. When my husband was a student at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth I met many of my father's former classmates and they'd get a little twinkle in their eye and say "I remember those hamburgers!" Later, when my husband was a campus minister at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton one of our students was doing her student teaching at a school up the road in Temple. I had told her stories of my father's roots in that area, so she knew just what the teacher was talking about when she mentioned the wonderful hamburgers they used to make at a little hamburger place on South First Street.

Here's a picture of her (undated) with a baby that I think is my older sister, her first grandchild. I've started to digitally clean this one up some, because it's got a lot of spots and creases on it. It'll take a while to finish that project, though, so I'll go ahead and share it with you as it is because I love her smile in this one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What's Next...?

I'm currently trying to finish up that large order of Mini-Puzzle Ball Christmas Ornaments that I've mentioned before...I'll start #14 of 15 tomorrow...but my thoughts are already turning to what's next.

The calendar says the next big thing is Thanksgiving, which is always fun for me, because my husband is the chef in this family. It'll be a big family day with lots of food, football and fun. But before the day is over I will turn my eyes eagerly toward Christmas, my favorite time of year.

I think I figured out why I've always enjoyed Christmas so much. It's because that's the one time of year my mother would let herself be silly. Mom was very practical, efficient, thorough and out-Martha-Stewart-ed Martha Stewart long before anybody ever knew that name. She was always working on something, and there was plenty to be done around Christmas time, that's for sure. But I loved hearing a childish giggle and a shout of "You can't come in here!" from behind a closed door when she was wrapping presents, or a conspiratorial "Wanna see what's in this bag?" when she was planning surprises for someone in the family.

I come from a very imaginative family so we always had lots of special little things to make the holidays fun. I'm working on something I'll be listing in my Etsy shop soon that may be just the touch of fun your family and friends need this holiday season. I'd show you what it is, but I don't want to spoil the surprise....

I'm also checking my supplies to make sure I have enough on hand to make lots of custom promo buttons for my fellow Etsyians, so if you need some drop me a convo on Etsy and I'll be glad to help. (Check my Sold items to see ones I've made for others.)

In the meantime, I've been playing around with a re-designed banner for my shop and reorganizing my sections, too, so it'll be easier to browse through all the fun stuff you can find there. Take a look and leave a comment and let me know what you think. And be sure to check my shop on Black Friday to see what's on sale!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Aunt Fiesty's Camera

One thing I've learned how to do since opening my Etsy shop is to take pictures of the things I make. I worked as a freelance photographer for several years, so I have experience in journalistic and documentary photography and black & white darkroom work, too. I also used to do a lot of casual portraits. But product photography was new to me.

In a couple of other posts on this blog I showed you how I take my pictures using window light and reflectors (see "Taking Pictures" and "Taking Pictures Part 2: Reflections") so I won't elaborate on that here.

I decided to apply those techniques to my collection of vintage cameras. One of my most recent acquisitions is this Argus C3 35mm rangefinder camera.

This particular camera once belonged to my Aunt Fiesty. That wasn't her real name. We just called her that because she was. I heard that the nickname came from my grandmother, a classmate of Aunt Fiesty's in college, but that was before she married my grandfather, Aunt Fiesty's brother. My grandfather's nickname was "Speedy". Yeah, it's that kind of family!

My family is aware of my fascination with vintage cameras, so when my Aunt Fiesty passed away, they knew I would give this camera a place of honor in my collection. It was kept in a leather case that barely had a mark on it. I thought if the case was that pristine, what must the camera inside look like! And I wasn't disappointed.

As you can see from these pictures, it looks almost like brand new.

If you'd be interested in getting a photo of this Argus C3 camera, I have it available in my Etsy shop as a 5x7 photo and an ACEO.

If you've had some experience with the Argus C3, leave a comment and tell me about it. And if you have an "Aunt Fiesty" of your own, I'd love to hear from you, too!