Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Once upon a bag

Handbags were originally nothing more than sacks made of leaves and animal hide. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict men, not women, wearing them about their waist to hold flint and money. Peasants wore fairly large bags that carried seed, while gentlemen’s bags carried pomanders to mask bad environmental (or human) smells. These sacks were actually pockets attached to the girdle with a cord. The risk, of course, was that a thief, known as a “cut purse,” would slash the string and steal the bag. By the Middle Ages, both men and women began wearing bags as a sign of affluence. Fashioned of the finest silks with tasseled strings, embroidery and jewel decorations, they represent the first designer bags. These early designer bags continued to be fastened to the outside of garments, but the really wealthy hired servants to carry their bags for them.

Eventually, however, women started wearing bags beneath their dresses, and men ceased wearing them altogether because inside garment pockets were developed for their trousers. As fashions changed and women’s skirts clung more closely to their bodies (especially during the Regency period), it became impractical to wear a bulky bag beneath the fabric. In the 1800s the first real handbags--purses intended to be carried by the hand--emerged. These were practical purses, or reticules, that carried perfume, smelling salts, a fan and visiting cards.

It is interesting to note that 100 years later, men and women once more were using handbags, but men’s handbags were actually luggage bags that looked like today’s briefcases, and women’s handbags were feminine versions of the same bag, with compartments for women’s accessories. These bags were made from metal and leather until World War II, when a shortage of these materials led instead to the use of wood and plastic in handbags, and eventually to many other types of materials. Today’s handbags are made of all of these materials, but also include many types of fabric from rough burlap to the finest silks and velvets, synthetics, natural and manmade fibers, and faux animal skins. Nearly all bags are suited to specific occasions. There are designer bags that match a formal event such as a gala or a wedding, power bags for the business woman (or man), tote bags for the shopper or yarn enthusiast, book bags for the student, and so on.

In some ways, handbags have come full circle. The bags worn once exclusively around the waist have become today’s fanny packs, shoulder bags and backpacks, and are worn by men and women alike. Some bags are for show, others are used on the go, and multi-functional ones go “with the flow.” Illustrating this diversity are BBEST team members’ bags. Janine of TalkingDog, for example, has designed this Hand Painted Silk Drawstring Bag that can be carried to formal events or tied to a casual jeans pocket.

This gorgeous Tina Brown and Blue Batik Quilted and Beaded Bag by Kym of kimbuktu is both a shoulder bag and a backpack.

HomeMadeOriginals has repurposed part of a striped wool sweater to fashion this Wristlet bag, perfect for your cell phone, keys and credit cards.

This crocheted Teal Hobo Bag by Pam of bagsandmorebypam is the ideal tote for the market, the beach, school, the plane, or shopping at the mall.

Dayna of scottieacres designed her Helpful Hannah Tote in Embroidered Denim "to go anywhere but be stylish as well." The roomy tote holds just about anything, but also features a tiny inside pocket for keys, wallet or an electronic device.

This Bling Bling Black Evening Bag by NoDuplicates is probably not too different from the reticules carried by noblemen and their ladies during the Middle Ages.

Finally, this Bag with Heart Wet-Felted Blue Purse by Chrissie of makeyourpresentsfelt is a perfect example of a casual purse for daily essentials, intended to be carried by hand.

To learn more interesting facts about the history of the handbag, you may wish to refer to the following resources:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

B is for...

Christmas present buying is looming!  The last days for posting will be here much sooner than we expect, so now really is the time to start thinking about the things that we need.  It was the ideal time for me to do another alphabet search for interesting items offered for sale by the Bbest team.

The first item I found is from luckygirltrading.    

I was particularly drawn to this item because it is made using one of my favourite techniques.  Here's what she has to say about it:
'I made this pretty kumihimo braided necklace with black satin cord and fuzzy novelty yarn. The yarn includes bits of pink, yellow, blue, purple, and rose. It's approx. 22.5 inches long, round with a 1/4-inch diameter, and has sterling silver-plated findings. Very nice on its own, it also works with a large-bailed pendant or slide. item 114K.

Kumihimo is a centuries-old tradition, dating back to the days of the Samurai who used kumihimo braids to lace up their armor, wrap sword handles to create a secure grip, and to hang a sword on their belts.'

I love it when old techniques are brought up to date with new materials, and I think you will agree that this interpretation is certainly a success.

Looking a little further I found Blue Shells in the Sand Hat and Scarf set

bagsandmorebypam describes it as 'cuddly, soft, warm, beautiful' and I would agree.  Hand-crocheted, the scarf  is 71" long by over 5" wide.  Blues, browns and beige combine to make a delightful matching set with a hat that fits all sizes.  This would make a really cosy gift.

The search continued and I discovered this lovely Beetle Cuff from streetnoodles.

This has a central plate with beaded chain.  Dimensions are given, but the chain can be lengthened to fit the wrist if required..  It is made of raw & black painted brass filigree with a laminated beetle picture and linked black faceted crystal beads.  Doesn't it sound enticing?

Mystic Silks is reknowned for her silk painting.  This original silk painting of Beautiful Balloons shows her skill.
Hand painted using french dyes and paints, it is a view of the Austrian Alps at sunrise from the perspective of a hot air balloonist.  Imagine sailing over these wonderful mountains, valleys, and rivers. MysticSilks says 'I love to watch these gorgeous balloons float through the skies.'

Bbest artists work hard to bring you quality goods, and Chris1 is no exception.

She admits: 'Capturing the beauty of this little gem was hard and you will love it more when you can see it in real life.  I've used a black base with a blue dichroic glass. It has blue and yellow pansies on it that will not wear off or scratch off because it is melted into the glass.'  You have to admit that Blue and Yellow Pansy is beautiful and would look delightful around the neck of a loved one.  Designed by Chris1 in her Michigan studio it was fired in the kiln up to 1480 degrees and then cooled using an annealing program which takes up to 24 hrs!  Annealing give it added durability.

I am sure there is something here that is just right for one or more of your gifts, however, if it is already sold all is not lost.  A quick click here will direct you to a search amongst all Bbest items that are currently available - from A to Z. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Hey everyone! A short post to announce the 3 winners of our first grand prize giveaway. But first, thanks to all our wonderful buyers and those that entered our contest. We so appreciate your participation in this fun event.

Our winners are (their etsy names)
jhancey (Nightsky's buyer) wins set one
leanan (sassalynne's buyer) wins set two
ghouliegirl (joonbeam's buyer) wins set three

To refresh your memory just one more time... these are the prizes

Congratulations to our lucky winners!!!!! And a huge thanks to all of you that donated these fabulous prizes!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hair today

Blues in the Night Hair Stick

brought to you by NoDuplicates

Native American Rain Clouds Beaded Barrette with Rain Fringe from the shop of

Ghi-Goo-ie Designs by Joni Stinson

Lavender Vanilla Solid Shampoo 

by SylvieL - Soaps and Lotions

Red Flower Button Barrette

from Big Island Rose Designs

ACEO - Blue Hair Goddess

from LemachiDesigns

Mango Zephyr Fragranced Shampoo That Rocks

sold by In a Lather Soap Company

These are just a few of the neat items that come up when you search for hair....Why not look for more?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sally and the Hidden Treasures

I opened the door. “Sally,” I exclaimed. “It’s so good to see you! Come in. Here, let me take your coat,” I said.
“Thanks,” Sally replied. “Brr! I think winter is close at hand. That wind is sooo cold!” she continued.
“Well, it’s warm in here by the wood stove,” I responded. “Let’s go sit there and I’ll tell you about hidden treasures.”
“Hidden treasures?” queried Sally. “You’ve discovered treasures? Is it gold?” she asked.
I laughed! “Well,” I answered, “It isn’t that kind of treasure. Maybe I should have said Treasuries!”
“You mean like the U.S. government treasury?” Sally questioned.
“No,” I said, still giggling. “I mean Etsy Treasuries.”
“Well,” said Sally, “Do they involve money?”
Smiling, I said, “Money is what we all hope for when people see our creations in an Etsy Treasury.”
“Tell me more,” said Sally.
“Well,” I began, “A treasury is a collection of the creations of various artists. The collection can be chosen by any Etsy seller. When you are on a team like I am.......the Bbest Team to be specific....and I look for items to put in a treasury, I choose them from the shops of my team members.”
“You said you have over 300 members on your Boomers and Beyond Team,” said Sally. “How in the world do you decide which items to select?”
“You are right,” I replied. “And the thing is, you can only choose 12 to be shown at one time, and four alternates. So, it isn’t easy to decide.”
“Can you do this every day?” asked Sally.
This time I snorted with laughter! “I wish,” I answered. “Getting the opportunity to create a treasury is a trick in itself. There is a main treasury, and for that one, you have to wait until there are 333 treasuries on the list, and then the second it changes to 332, you have to be ready to create a title in a box that pops open at the bottom of the page. And, you only have a few seconds to type in your title and hit the Save button, or it goes away.”
“Well,” Sally continued, “What happens after you make the title?”
“After that, you can take as long as you want to select items to put into the treasury. A few times, I have just happened to be at the computer when the magic number appeared, and I had to hurry and type in a title, and then go looking for the selections, or treasures, as I prefer to call them. But, I don’t really like to create treasuries on the fly like that. It takes too much time, and then it is a bit awkward to arrange them in the boxes. What I really like to do is find what I want ahead of time and use the Poster Sketch Tool to arrange the items in the order I want. Then I write the ID numbers down for each item and when the box pops open, the title is entered, and the treasury page is there, I can easily type all the ID numbers in the boxes provided.”
“That sounds awfully complicated,” said Sally.
“Oh, believe me, when I first joined Etsy a little over a year ago, I had no clue how to do a treasury. And I was in total awe of those Boomers who created such beautiful collections of items. My friend, Pearl, in Colorado, and Zuda, in Illinois, told me it wasn’t hard to do, but it still took me a long time before I tried it. And now, I love it. Simply love it! I especially love creating treasuries for the Bbest team because so many of them leave such nice comments about the treasury, and they click on everyone’s items and even look at more things in those shops! And not only that, they comment on people's creations in the weekly chat thread.”
"Chat thread?" asked Sally.
"That's another whole topic," I said.
"Okay,” Sally went on, “But, you still haven’t told me how you choose what to put in the treasury when there are so many members on your team.”
“First, I type in bbest team in the Search box next to handmade, tags, titles, and then I can see what people have listed from their shops. And then to be quite honest, I look for a color scheme. I find something I like, and then look for other things in the same color family. That’s my favorite way to find treasury items. I also try to find different shops than the ones I chose before so more of my team members get a chance to have their items seen.”
“Well, that’s all very nice,” said Sally, “but who looks at them and how do folks know they are in a treasury?”
“If someone has chosen an item from your shop and placed it in a treasury, and you scroll down through the lists, you will see a gold star next to that treasury. So, what I do to see if anyone has chosen one of my items for a treasury is scroll down through the lists and look for gold stars! But, there is something else that is really neat about the Boomers and Beyond team members. They always look for treasuries made by their team members and comment on them even if they don’t have an item in a treasury. That is one of the things that makes the Bbest team the Best team! They are so supportive.”
“I know,” said Sally. “You have told me before what a great group the Boomers are. You sure are lucky to be part of that group.”
“Yes, I am,” I agreed. “They really are the very Best!”
“Earlier, you said you all hoped being in a treasury meant money,” said Sally.
“Oh, yes, that!” I replied. “Well, each of us who has a shop on Etsy hopes that folks will find our shops and want to buy what we make. Other sellers, and those who set up buyer accounts on Etsy, may look through the treasuries to see what is there. And, if they click on your item, and visit your shop, they may find something they want to buy!”
“Will you show me a treasury?” asked Sally. “I want to see how this whole thing works. Maybe I’ll find something I like,” she smiled.
“My pleasure,” I answered. “Bring those brownies, and let’s head for the computer. I’d be delighted to show you the wonderful talents of the Bbest team! Sometimes, there are quite a few made by Bbest team members.........lucky us!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meet the Boomers!

This week we were lucky enough to snag an interview with our “Duckie” from circleinthesand!

1. What is/are the name of your shop/s?il_430xN.28167655
My Shop name is Circle In the Sand. I named it in honor of my wonderful hubby!! It's named after the song of the same title by Belinda Carlisle - it is one of "our" special songs. Anybody who has ever received a package from me can thank hubby, cos he makes ALL my post office trips. And he supports my insane yard sale hobby.

2. What kind of items do you sell?
The majority of my shop is supplies and destash. I decided a while back that since I am now in my advanced "Boomer" years, that I could not possibly complete all the projects I had on hand, so I needed to start passing them along to others. I also have that previously mentioned yard sale obsession thing going on, along with antique stores. I also have a fascination with buttons and have tons on hand.
I really do love "creating" and I do have some handmade items in my shop, but due to time constraints, I don't get to play with my projects as much as I would like to. My favorite is plastic canvas and cross stitch, but I have recently developed a liking for ephemera and embellishments. I absolutely love to sit and punch out shapes with all my punches and scrapbook papers.

3. How long have you been engaged in your art/craft?
Oh goodness, as far back as I can remember, I've always 'played' with something, either needlecrafts or sewing, I've also done painting (on clothing and wood), appliqu├ęs....there's not too many things I haven't at least touched on.

4. Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson?
I am definitely a hobbyist. I don't even have a business license - sssshhhhhhhhh. I am a horrible bookkeeper, I figure if I have a plus balance in my PayPal account, then I'm doing ok.il_430xN.34121019

5. What inspires you?
Everything!!! It's a sickness, I tell you! I can't go anywhere or look at anything without studying it and thinking - OK, what can I do with that???? I love looking at items and thinking how they can be altered into something else. I love bright pretty colors, but then again, there is nothing prettier than basic Black.

6. Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio?
I don't really have a typical day....since I don't do this "professionally", I don't have set hours that I 'create'. I do work as a Medical Assistant 4 days a week. And, hubby and I have a killer schedule, we get up at 3:00 a.m. every morning because of his work hours, so needless to say, we're in bed earlier than most people. So, I kinda play with my projects on a "catch it when I can" basis.

7. What keeps you company while you’re working on a project?
AOL radio or my own CD's. I love 60's Oldies, but I also like Celtic and Piano CD's, and of course Christmas is coming and there is nothing I love more than Christmas music. I just load up the CD player and go!!

8. What is your favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
I love the planning stage, when I first get an idea and start to think it out, and then I love the very last finishing touches.il_430xN.25858034

9. What is your least favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
I detest cutting out - whether it's plastic canvas, or patterns, or shapes. And I really don't like the listing process, and taking pictures uses up soooo much time.

10. What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop/ware?(Do you blog? 11.To which teams do you belong? Do you use other sites? Which ones? etc.)
Again, due to time constraints, I don't have a blog, or a MySpace. I am really fortunate to belong to a few awesome Street Teams on Etsy, (BBEST, Wild,Wise and Witty Grandmamas, Etsy Supply Street Team, North Florida Craft Revolution)....and those lovely ladies keep me in treasuries and promote me on threads and look at my Flickr photos. I appreciate and love and thank everyone of them!!!

12. Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know about you by talking to you in the forums.
I am totally Suthen' honey!! Just listen to Dolly Parton or Paula Deen and you get an idea of how I sound....I was in New Jersey once and went to the hotel desk to ask a question and everybody's mouth just fell open - I guess they hadn't talked to a real Southerner before, hehe.il_430xN.15470059

13. What’s your favorite book and why, favorite movie and why, favorite kind of music?
Oh dear, unfortunately I don't really have time to read anymore - I used to read constantly. I love dramas, love stories, nonfiction, medical dramas. That goes for both books and movies. I'm not a real science fiction fan, but the Star Trek Voyager series is a favorite of mine. And, back in the Chicago Bulls basketball era of Jordan and Pippen, I was a huge fan!! I have dozens of old VHS tapes of recorded games and interviews, along with a lot of memorabilia.

14. Would you care to share any 'words of wisdom' with other aspiring artists or crafters?
Yes, listen to the ones who have gone before you cos they are soooooooo wise and knowledgeable. I cherish the friendships I have made on Etsy and wish it was possible to meet everyone of these beautiful ladies in person. Thanks everyone who has ever helped me, given me advice, or just listened to me whine!!! I love you all!!

Please don’t forget to leave a comment for this great team member! She would greatly appreciate hearing from you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not just a quilt

Once upon a time quilts were only used on the domestic scene. They covered beds, served as wall and window coverings, were draped over pieces of furniture, and could be wrapped around a human body for both warmth and comfort. Today quilts are still used in these traditional ways, but the definition of a quilt is quite broad, no longer being limited to a bit of soft filler sandwiched between two fabrics.

The art quilt has been born, and is evolving as quickly as artists can locate and experiment with new materials. Their world is peppered with phrases such as rust dyeing, sunprinting and burned-edge applique. Yes, quilt layers can still be stitched or tied together, but they can also be fused or stapled or buttoned. Instead of fabric, an artist might use newspapers, paper bags or even upcycled metal beverage cans or plastic soda bottles. Fabrics are just as likely to be painted or distressed as they are to be dyed.

A burgeoning world of new fibers, textiles and techniques is available for experimentation, and a number of BBEST artisans are leading the way in this exploration. Marion Barnett of artmixter, for example, writes about a textile called Lutradur in her e-book called “Lovely Lutradur,” available both in her Etsy shop and through her blog.

Rust as an artistic medium is explored by Liz Plummer. In her Dilapidation wall hanging, for example, she describes the “rusted silk habutai fabric which was originally hidden underneath linen squares, stitched in a grid pattern which was then cut back to reveal the rusty fabric underneath.”

Gunnel Svensson
has mounted her art quilt on a wood gallery frame. It consists of handpainted fabric, with a thick carpet of embroidery fibers.

Finally, Margaret of libertybelle melds together fabric, embroidery, buttons, and a photo transfer on Lutradur to create a fabric post card.

Today's quilts are not just for comfort, color or home decor. If you are interested in learning more about any of the techniques these BBEST artists use to create their version of a quilt, you may wish to read Fabric Art Workshop: Exploring Techniques & Materials for Fabric Artists & Quilters, by Susan Stein.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's A Wonderful Life with BBEST!

Lemachi Gallery

Our Next Team Event: It's A Wonderful Sale! Holiday Sale: Wednesday, Nov 12 ~ Nov 17. Life is Wonderful this Holiday Season when you shop our BBEST Limited Time Sale and find handmade and vintage treasures for everyone on your list. Over three dozen BBEST Shops have signed up and many generous artists have donated their art to be included in our prize package! So, watch this blog for further deatils, the promo thread link and prize package photo collage on Wednesday morning. Spread the good cheer!
It is a Wonderful Life and a Wonderful Sale!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meet the Boomers!

This week we are glad to have an interview with one of our fearless leaders, Joon. Read on to see what she has to say…

1. What is/are the name of your shop/s? 2. What kind of items do you sell?
My original shop is joonbeam, where I sell earth friendly upcycled art and vintage finds. My second shop is flyinghousewife where I sell handwritten letters on one-of-a-kind original designed papers and envelopes with extra eco friendly surprises tucked in.


3. How long have you been engaged in your art/craft?
In the 1980s when I was a young mother I had a little sewing venture called Dinky Duds which were my handmade, original designs of tot sized chef aprons, totes and bibs with appliques. I didn't have an outlet for vending though. I lived in a very small town and craft fairs were few and far between. I recall doing only one. So it was just word of mouth. Then in the late 1990s, I started Bumblelina's Boutique and attended quite a few art/craft shows in the Eugene/Corvallis/Bend, Oregon area. I made decoupaged collage mixed media recycled art. This is when I first started using thrift finds for art. I loved it and experienced a {small scale} success and following this time. I also found the art community, which kept me inspired to create and became very good friends with a few artisans that remain very special to me. I started sewing paper items in 2003 when Scout started her Monkey's Way T shirts and we attended some small Holiday Craft Fairs in rural NH.

4. Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson?
I am a professional housewife and mother. I don't consider myself a hobbyist or a craftsperson. I do what I love and I consider it art. Selling is not a natural gift of mine. If I ever became a professional craftsperson, it would be through chance or fate.

5. What inspires you?
Art. Many people say nature inspires them and that is true for me, but I am more inspired by what my fellow men & women create. The power of the human spirit is life's greatest gift.

6. Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio?
I work sporadically unless I have flying housewife orders. I rarely create in the evenings. And I am S-L-O-W.

7. What keeps you company while you’re working on a project?
The pets are never far. Sometimes too close! But I love them and their presence brings me a lot of happiness. I listen to music at times - John Denver, Elton John, Josh Groban, Seal, Madonna on Pandora or AOL Radio now. Scout's my DJ.

8. What is your favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
Anything scissor related and design. I love the spontaneity. I never know what I will make or assemble ahead of time. So everything is a delight. To have a creation unfold before my eyes is my favorite aspect of art. Who doesn't love a surprise? I also love the photography. I have photos of things I've designed and made since forever ago. When I find them it's like a treasure to me because I'd never remember all of those things or believe I ever created them without the photos.

il_430xN.36021794 9. What is your least favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
Practical matters like mailing issues, book keeping (which I stopped. Smart move.) or assorted people nonsense. Life is too short for the mundane, isn't it?

10. What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop/ware? (Do you blog? To which teams do you belong? Do you use other sites? Which ones? etc.)
I do blog and I love flickr, but I don't get to do either as much as I'd like because I need the desktop & it's inconvenient for me. I only belong to one other team, eco etsy, which I am leaving. I am dedicated to this BBEST Team. I love it. I do have a website. It's nothing much because I am not savvy enough. But I'd hate to lose my domain name so I keep it. I did sign up for the Austin Makers Faire as a maker and I enjoyed making connections there and did get exposure.

11. Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself in.
We were at a Show in Corvallis, OR on July 4th. Scout was 2. Because we were 6 adults who hovered over the girl - we all thought someone else had her - at one point she wandered off and none of us realized it. It was a nightmare. Because of the community of artists, the panic spread quickly and we were not far from a creek, too. Well, it was only a matter of minutes, though it seemed like hours, when Kristoffer scooped her up from a police officer. She'd tugged on his pants demanding he find her mother. Typical Scout. We learned she gave him the all encompassing info about me ... 'She haves a boof.' (booth) Before we all had stopped crying hysterically upon her return, two sisters, oblivious to the trauma, walked into the booth, la de da, all bubbly and excited and chose a couple hundred dollars worth of my items as gifts for all their family. Talk about a bizarre half hour in my life. We still talk about that day. The boys were scarred for life I think. (And we still hover over her!)

12. Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know about you by talking to you in the forums.
When I was 12, I talked two other girls into trying to kick our way across the ocean inlet from NJ to NY. We were all just hanging onto one canvas raft. There was a huge Cathedral on the NY side, which was looking closer now than the diminishing NJ shoreline. We joked about walking in in our bikinis. Of course, the tide was pulling us out to the ocean, but we couldn't tell. A man and a little freckled face boy, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, arrived in a small motor boat to rescue us. He said my father sent him. We were undeniably three distinct nationalities. I nudged Joanne and whispered 'Ask him how he knows our father.' The man was incredulous. Exasperated, he barked: 'He's small, he's waded out to the boats, fully clothed, standing in water up to his waist, holding his socks and shoes in one hand and every vein in his head and neck is bulging out.' I said: 'THAT'S my father.' And we climbed in the boat. It was a a good 30-40 minute ride back in. I've never lived this one down. I often wonder about the other two gals.

13. What’s your favorite book and why, favorite movie and why, favorite kind of music?
My favorite books are biographies, cookbooks, non fiction and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I love people and history. Favorite movies is impossible. Naturally, To Kill A Mockingbird. I love Wonder Boys, What's Up Doc?, Moonstruck, As Good As it Gets, Romantic Comedies, Wes Anderson films, Chaplin, Juno, Dave, Tootsie, Anne of Green Gables, the PBS Goodbye Mr. Chips, Waiting for Guffman & classics. There's a start. Besides the music listed above, I like movie scores and Broadway Musicals a lot.

14. Would you care to share any 'words of wisdom' with other aspiring artists or crafters?
About 6 years ago, I had a gorgeous little blank journal book that I called Good Things. The challenge was that every night I had to list three good things that happened that day. I did it for a year and a half straight. I wrote it in an artsy way and it has doodles, too. It's precious to me. I need to start one again. It takes some real dedication and stamina. It's not easy, but it has to be the best gift you can give yourself and you deserve it. I cannot recommend this too highly.

Please leave a comment for Joon! She would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Holidays Are A Comin’. Get Ready!

Oh you say to yourself, “What is she talking about, the holidays aren’t coming for quite a while. Think again my friend. Count em… between 45 and 50 days depending on which holiday you celebrate. Now it’s not that I don’t enjoy this time of year. The lights, the cookies, the music, the cookies, (yeah, I know… so what? cookies are the best) It’s that I’m never “ready”. Last minute shopping can be a drain on both your energy and your wallet, which adds up to be a drain on your sanity. I don’t know about you but I have little to spare in that department. So this year….. shop with your bbest friends.

Need something for Mom? How about this from Libertybelle?

For Dad? Put some hot chocolate it, he'll love it. This is from fehustoneware

Sister? How about these from Nightsky?

Your brother will be happy with this from BethPeardonProds.

Don't forget something for the baby. this is so cute from bagsandmorebyPam

Your bff needs a great gift. Check this out from AltheaP.

So there you have it. Just a few of the great gifts you can get by shopping with bbest members. And... from November 12th through to the 17th.... Many of the bbest shops will be having a sale.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yes I know it is 3 November but in UK we celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night on 5 November

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...


The picture is of the 'Gunpowder Plot' conspirators

Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot ....
The words of "Remember Remember" refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5 November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London from his country manor. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practiced (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

The Tradition begins...
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. A genteman by the name of Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".


In the evening as we all gather around the bonfire having placed the 'guy' on the top, favourite foods are on offer such as burgers, hot dogs, jacket potatoes, baked beans. Often the night will be cold so soup would be a very welcome warmer! Or, later partake of some hot chili, bangers and mash, whilst taking off your winter coats indoors. Children might enjoy toasted marsh mallows or toffee apples. As for a drink, a hot punch or mulled wine for the adults and punch made of hot apple juice for the children would be very welcome!

Smaller children might hold sparklers whilst fireworks would be organised by adults for a showing at the end of the evening's entertainment.

Here are some ideas from some of my BBEST friends to remind us of autumn and impending winter as we huddle around the bonfire to keep warm.

Aceo Original Painting Carmel Apple Autumn Treat Questimage by


As the moon rises in the sky you might well encounter a scene such as this collage by image


Take a Hike....(Original Collage)

As we stand around, the wind is starting to whip around us; even a few snow flurries could be forecast!

As shown in

Art Quilt Autumn Flurriesimage by


When the festivities are over and the little ones have left to go to their homes and so to bed all that remains is for the adults to round off the evening with a nice mellow glass of wine using these beautifully hand painted ......

Autumn Leaves Wine Glasses by


Glitz n Glass

And so the dying embers from the huge bonfires around the country smoke and splutter their last sounds before collapsing into the scorched soil underneath; next year it all starts again as the children make their 'guys' and look forward to bonfire night!