It's a GIRL!!!!!

>> Wednesday, December 10, 2008


we just found out yesterday that the mini muffin is a girl!!!!! we are so tickled PINK!!!!!
(and here is the pink version of the onesie (by fun2wear @ etsy) that we bought her from Etsy before we knew what she was... her's is rock n roll black!)

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Great ETSY Artists - SmileMoon Woodworks!

>> Sunday, December 7, 2008







i come across so many wonderful Etsy creators - and i have had the absolutely HONOUR to meet the wonderful SmileMoon in person! i also stole some of his precious woodworking time to do a quick and dirty interview... so here are the thoughts of the "Poor Woodsman"!


1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.

This is going to be a light little interview - I can tell! Okay, in a nutshell, I'm a hobby woodworker who's been turning wood into sawdust on and off for the past 18 or more years. I've kinda lost track of exactly when I got into it. During daylight hours, I sell machinery for cutting, grinding and polishing gem and industrial grade diamond. With the economy in the state it's been in lately, though, you can probably guess how THAT'S been going lately.The woodworking satisfies a need for a creative outlet, and serves a useful function too, since it's been earning my family some badly needed income this year.


2. Outside of your creative life, what else are you up to?

Besides my day job (which entails a lot of travel, by the way), I'm a husband and father to a ridiculous number of children. That, of course, means there's the usual assorted activities, like scouts, soccer, college, plays, kiddie concerts, drama, etc. Once in a great while, I like to go out to the used book stores with my wife and peruse the stacks looking for old zeppelin memorabilia. I also hunt down obscure electronic music online and in used CD shops when I can. I'm also the family photographer. The digital revolution has made it so much easier to take a crapload of photos and sort through what you want to keep after the fact. It's so much easier to store them all on a hard drive, too. The only problem is actually getting around to printing them off to stick them in the family scrapbooks. I need to do a better job of keeping up with that.

3. What made you first want to create art?

Way back in college, I had a starter stereo setup and a growing collection of LPs without much to keep it all organized. I decided when I left school that I'd build a really nice cabinet to keep it all in, but my pragmatic side said I should take on a few smaller projects to ramp up to the skill level required for something of that scale. Good idea, right?After this many years of taking on the "smaller projects," including the crafty types of things seen in my Etsy.com shop, artist easels, a cradle, a kitchen's worth of cabinets, and bookcases galore, I STILL have yet to make that stereo cabinet. At least I got around to buying a lot of the wood for it last summer!



4. What do you offer in your shop?

As it says on my business cards, "creative woodcraft." Currently, that'd be balancing wine bottle holders, wooden 3-D puzzles, tea light candle holders, wooden snowflake ornaments, wood slab photo frames, and my most popular item by far: toy swords. I've been taking on custom requests for as long as I've been on Etsy, since my start in woodworking was in custom work.

5. Without giving away any of your trade secrets, what is your creative process?

Hee hee! No trade secrets here. I don't honestly believe there's much new under the sun where wood crafts are concerned - just different skillsets and experience levels at play. There's room for all of us to do what we're doing. As far as a creative process, I guess there's two avenues I go down: I'll either get a brainstorm or see something that inspires an idea to try out, like the tea light candle holders I listed a couple days ago; or I'll respond to a request for a custom woodworking project that allows me to collaborate with other creative individuals. They're both valid methods, but it sometimes takes a lot longer for me to feel that an original idea of mine's been validated, depending on how long it takes to sell!

6. Where do you create?

The ideas (the "creation" part of it) come to me just about anywhere! I just make sure to have some scrap paper nearby so I don't lose them! The woodworking itself takes place in my workshop. Currently, that's my garage, but it's also been the dirt-floored basements of apartments I used to live in, and in one apartment where there was no basement, I actually rented one of those public self-storage places to work.


7. If you listen to music while you make your creations, what is the soundtrack?

Because my workshop tends to be on the extremely dusty side when I'm working, I can't risk cassettes or CDs, so I usually just turn on the radio to the local alt rock station and crank it up! Given my druthers, though, I'd listen to 70s and 80s era electronic space music. Someday I'll get an MP3 player and hook it up to some speakers out in the shop.


8. What are your crafting goals for the next twelve months?

I plan to roll out some of the ideas I've had in the course of the past few months but have been simply too busy keeping up production for "the usual" items in my shop to deal with. That'll not only bulk up my somewhat limited listings, but will also help me work out a few things that'll improve processes down the road. I'd also like to plan for a few craft shows during the more successful Christmas season next year. This year saw me barely break even at a series of springtime shows, which left me feeling disgusted enough to consider staying away from them alltogether. I've since had some encouraging words from several crafters, though, so I think I'll plan ahead for next fall.

9. How do you promote your Etsy shop?

I'm still learning my way around the whole promotions thing, so my stabs at it are pretty basic. I carry business cards with me and take the opportunity to steer conversations toward woodcrafting when appropriate. I spend time in Etsy forums every day where I split my time between some of the games in the Etc. section and trying to be Mr Helpful, answering questions that seem to come up in all the other forums.I try to buy Showcase spaces when they look pretty promising for what I'm making, and I'll advertise on the Heart-O-Matic pages at craftcult.com from time to time, too.I've tried using craft shows to help build a following, but I think I picked the wrong time of year (spring) to try that. I'll probably try again next fall.I just this past week figured out how to upload my listings to google base, which allows you to track hits to individual listings and see where they come from, so we'll see how much that helps.


10. What is your most favorite handmade item that you have made?

Right now, I'd say it's a toss-up between a prayerbox I made as a custom commisson (photos of which can be seen on my blog at http://smilemoonwoodworks.blogspot.com/2008/09/missed-party-but-its-more-fun-at-home.html) and a pillbox I made on commission this past spring (http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=8424856 ). But, as in a family, I'm not supposed to play favorites, so the correct answer should be "my current project is my favorite one!" ;-)


(i bought this for my brother-in-law for his christmas present - oh i can't WAIT to give it to him!)

11. What is your most favorite handmade item that someone else has made?

That's a tough one, because I'd hate to make anybody feel left out! That said, I've had my eye on some granite cups made by TwoBeans on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10121481 ) for almost as long as I've been selling on Etsy! I've been dropping Christmas hints on my lovely bride, so we'll see what shows up in my stocking!

12. What was your best handcrafted "moment"?

There've been a few, actually. I think every Etsian remembers where they were when they made their first sale! For me, it was only a day and a half after my first listing - which was way cool! Getting a shot at a commission job for a company in New York was even better than that, but the best so far would be meeting fellow Etsy seller Muffin Top on a recent trip to her hometown (see Question 2)!

13. Top 5 list – list your top 5 favorite movies, books, bands, and foods.

14. What advice would you like to give to others on trying to sell their handmade goods?

Keep at it, and listen to the advice of sellers with more experience. Good photography will help get you featured in the treasuries and gift guides. Being helpful in the forums will get you noticed by everybody else.

15. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years, we'll be down to just two kids at home if all goes according to plan. Hopefully there'll be a bit more time available to devote to crafting and marketing it properly. If it becomes successful between now and then, I'd love for it to be my only job, but there's a lot of college tuition payments to help make in the meantime!

16. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?
amused, busy, creative, distracted, eccentric...

thanks, smilemoon!!!! and thanks for being so fabulous!!!!!!!!!

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All I Wanted to Know I Learned at the Craft Fair... or The Newbie's Newbie Guide to Doing your First Craft Sale!!!!!!

>> Sunday, November 9, 2008

the MACFair is FINALLY over!!! and for a first craft fair, i have to admit that i was pleasantly surprised and did much better than i thought i would have! three days of selling my wares and talking up my craft... and i'm still alive! someone asked me to write about what i learned, so here it is!!!

1. juried shows ROCK! - the MACFair was a juried show, which meant that they chose the vendors who were at the show. you know how at some shows there are tons of resellers and the handmade goodness gets overlooked? well, that DIDN'T happen here. and it was amazing to see all the talent - not to mention the full time artisans - on display. even though there was an entry fee, it was worth it! (more on that in a bit)

2. prepare, prepare, prepare! - i have to admit that i was at a little bit of a disadvantage here, with all my "prep time" being swallowed up by my first trimester all day morning sickness. i was a little freaked that i didn't have enough energy to make all the things that i wanted to make, but i tried to get some work done in the precious moments that i didn't feel sick. thank goodness that the week before the show, my energy levels lifted... but i still didn't feel like i had adequate stock.

3. displays don't have to be expensive... but it does help to have a plan! - see the rant above about my morning sickness. however, i had talked my display ideas out with the husband and my cousin, and had a general idea about what i wanted to do, and the feeling i wanted to create with my display. i basically used twigs, river stones, floral foam and little metal pails to create "trees" for my necklaces; a fabric shower curtain in a neutral tone to cover the table, wooden and velvet trays for rings, pine cones and seashells for bracelets, and a small moses basket for my sock monkeys. the picture here probably gives you a better idea of what i did:

it was very simple, very inexpensive, and i got countless compliments! however, i do admit that some of the more experienced vendors DID have fantastic displays - self-contained with lights and shelving... i have to admit that i felt like i was out of my league at the beginning and it was a little disheartening. however, this display was perfect for the space i had (a 3" x 6" table) and it was easy for me to assemble and dismantle. because the show was in the Museum of Art, the lighting was already almost perfect.

4. you will need things that you didn't think that you would! - ETSY has some threads in its forums outlining lists of essential items that you will need at a show. i took the advice in those threads, and am adding some of my items here too.

- scotch & duct tape (we taped the shower curtain to the table to reduce the risk of slippage - something i didn't think of until we were set up)

- paper towels (we didn't use any until the very last day, as we were pulling things apart but it sure helped with an accidental spill!!)

- lots and lots of business cards! i actually will look into printing bookmarks or MOO cards because it would have been worth it. i gave out about 75 - 100 cards over the three days and would have liked something a little more "professional" looking

- a little bowl of candy. a nice touch, draws people in and keeps their kids occupied as they browse!

- good signs and tags - i used dollar store plastic frames to hold up my signs, and perfect little tags (thank you, Paula!!!!!!!) to put the prices on my items. (people STILL asked though, so be prepared!) i also kept some extra tags on hand for items that i made while i was at the show

- little snacks and plenty of liquids! 'nuff said!

- several pens (for people who write cheques as well as for your receipts and doodling) and a permanent marker (for signs etc.)

- for you jewelry makers - little clear bags to put the items in, along with some sort of bag or envelope to put that little bag in

- a mirror - you'd be amazed how many people want to try on your stuff and see what it looks like! i put in a small mirror as an afterthought... and i am so glad that i did!

- change! - i took $100 in loonies and toonies and miscellaneous coinage... and while i barely dipped into it, i was happy knowing it was there!

- a craft apron! - i got mine from Yoopers (http://yoopers.etsy.com/) and it was indispensible! she made mine with a little zippered pocket in the front for money, and other little pockets, in which i put my price tags, pens, receipt book and lip gloss. although i had ordered it earlier in the summer once i found out i was accepted into the show, it still fit perfectly around my pregnant belly!!!!!!! one of the other vendors laughed and asked if i was putting on my "money belt"... well, i was never without a pen or paper, i can tell ya! (and yes, there did end up being money in there - so THERE!)

- lip balm/gloss - it was dry in the venue i was in - plus i was getting a little chapped from all the talking! i was definitely thankful!

- plastic bag(s) - for garbage and in case someone buys a lot of stuff

- layers, as in a sweater - the locale we were in was kind of cool (for non-pregnant people!) and the sweater and scarf i brought was quite useful at times!

5. someone dependable to help you - i had brought the husband to help set up (and then he went to sit in the car - craft shows aren't too great for guys unless they themselves are the crafter). but he did come and sit with me so i could have a little bit of a break and some company during the slower times. we also had a wonderful organizer (thank you, Jude!) who would watch your booth while you dashed off to the bathroom or to grab something quick to eat/drink.

6. a strong backbone, your courage, and confidence in your craft! - 'Nuff said. People will have positive things to say about you and your work... and will also have snide comments to make as well. just be confident and have pride in what you do!!!







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The MAC Fair, and my New Year's Resolution... The 10th New Handmade Crafting Technique

>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008

so, i'm thinking that this baby (pardon the pun, LOL) counts as my 10th new crafting project for the year... our first baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the ultimate in handmade!

i'm about 14 weeks or so, and this is our first ultrasound. i've been feeling quite under the weather and have been sleeping so much that i've been neglecting my shop, my jewelry, and the blog! i am hoping that some of my energy will be back soon, because we will be in our first craft fair early in November!



McMaster University, my alma mater, had a call for submissions to their juried craft show... and muffintopdesigns was one they picked! this is my first show, so i've been worrying about what it's going to be like... but like everything else, i'm jumping in with two feet and hoping for the best! let's hope that i sell at least ONE item!!!!!

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"Love Is A Mix Tape" is a really good book!!!!!!

>> Thursday, September 4, 2008

i've wanted to read this book since it came out. and finally, more than a year later, i bought myself a copy. Rob Sheffield, now an editor for Rolling Stone, recounts falling in love, marrying, and subsequently mourning the loss of his wife, Renee - all punctuated by the songs that marked these events.

call me hormonal (which i am) - but i read this book cover to cover in less than 24 hours (and would have been faster if it weren't for the need to sleep) and was sobbing by the end. i already loved many of the songs that were part of Rob and Renee's "life soundtrack" , and now have more reason to do so.

romance? check. dry, wry humour and wit? check. real life drama (without the overzealousness of today's reality tv shows)? check.

thank you, rob, for sharing your love, heartache, pain and joy with us mere mortals.

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i heart my tumbler!

>> Sunday, August 31, 2008


so i saved up and took the plunge and bought a tumbler - a Thumbler's Tumbler, to be exact! now, i kind of felt like i was jumping the gun, given as how i don't think i'm at the point yet where i would need one. however, i couldn't resist!


it took a month for my stainless steel shot to come in, and the whole time i was waiting, the tumbler sat in the box. every once in a while, i'd take it out just to see if i could figure it out, but i'd get a little scared and back into the box it would go!


once the shot came, i finally took it out, set it up according to the picture from the "instruction manual" and filled the rubber "tumbler" with water and one drop of dishwashing liquid. i then dumped a load of fine silver pieces that i had just fired and let the whole thing roll for about a day.


talk about SHINE! this baby polishes like nobody's business! i'm so happy i got this - and it has been inspiring because now all i want to do is make stuff to throw in! it was a little squeaky before, but after a little WD-40, it sounds like a little rushing waterfall in my basement.

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Life, Death, and F*cking Taxes....

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2008

okay. so i was psyched about getting my business license for muffintop. huge step for me, right? well, in the process, i found out that i owe some back taxes. seriously. long story short, it turns out that i had forgotten to claim retail sales tax on some wedding videos we had made back in the day. so, the nest egg that i'd been saving up is pretty much kaput. oh well. just more incentive to start saving again, right? i should have expected that something like this would have happened to me, LOL!!!!!!



what do they say? there are only two things for certain in life, DEATH and TAXES.

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Getting My Master Business License... and Reaching 600 Sales!

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008


so this week has been relatively momenteous (did i spell that right?) for me... i had promised myself that if the muffin top shop was somewhat successful in a year, i would formally register my business in the province of ontario! well, after some discussion with the husband, i did it!!!! i am now officially a small business!!!!!!!! the ontario government has a fantastic website that clearly outlines how to do it - AND you can do most of the registration online too! (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/home_en.jsp) i immediately took the paperwork to my favorite bead store so that i could open a business account with them. YIPPEEEEEEE!!!!

the icing on the cake happened today with my 600th sale on etsy! YAY me!!!! and thank you to everyone who's supported me since i started here! i had set a goal in january to reach 600 sales by the end of the year and i did! i am totally thrilled.

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Strap Me Down...

>> Thursday, August 14, 2008

having a "classic" film camera, i am totally coveting one of tanybug's (http://tanybug.etsy.com) fabulous camera straps! she's also a fellow Torontoian!!!!!!!! YAY for straps!!!!!

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Triumph and Devastation in the Garden of Good and Evil...

>> Wednesday, August 13, 2008

so we go outside yesterday morning to put out the stuff for garbage collection. the husband goes out first... and finds our one zucchini plant toppled over, and the one zucchini - the pride and joy of my little garden - partially mauled by raccoons!!!!!!!!! i immediately burst into tears. silly, i know, crying over a lost zucchini, but it was so much work just to get that one to grow!!!!

the husband quickly picked the biggest green pepper that we have growing to try to save it from the predators. (that's me posing with it above!) who knew raccoons were such fans of fresh produce?

i consoled myself by visiting two farmers' markets here in downtown toronto yesterday... and i got blissfully lost in the joy of browsing the little booths and choosing items for dinner! i also learned a valuable lesson in the world of small business... i was wearing one of my swarovski wire wrapped rings, and one of the ladies from the bakery booth asked for my card! and of course i didn't have any. not a one. at least i had paper and pen... but i think i've learned to carry them with me everywhere! you never know when you might stumble on a prospective buyer! and no never know... maybe one day i'll be peddling my wares at the market too!



i also found a pretty fabulous link to the toronto farmers' market network here at http://tfmn.ca/ - the photos are great and the information is pretty valuable. i know it's a little silly, but i felt a little bit connected to these food artisans! of course, my little garden isn't anywhere near being a farm, but just growing my own organic, pesticide-free vegetables and being able to eat them is a real joy.

the husband and i talked about the possibility of one day owning a little piece of land somewhere a little bit out of the city, growing our own food, milking our own cow, showing our future kids how to make soap... sigh! in the meantime, we settled for sharing some fresh ontario peach cobbler (homemade by me!) made with organic brown sugar and wildflower honey. nothing better.

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adventures in soapmaking... and a total lip BOMB.

>> Sunday, August 10, 2008


i bought some wonderful soapmaking supplies this week! i have been kicking around the idea of making my own soap for a while now, and have been doing some reading and research! before heading into the world of lye and water and possible explosions, i decided to try some amazing soap bases for melt and pour - and here are the results. i have two small batches of two types of soap - peppermint earl gray castile soap, and lavender goat's milk! they are curing as we speak and i am so excited to try it! maybe this will be a new direction? hmmmmm...
on the heels of my relatively successful soapmaking venture, i decided to try another batch of lip bomb. well, that's exactly what it was. A BOMB. the mistake i made was not measuring properly. and adding too much shea butter. it was like trying to swipe a crayon across my lips! oh well. at least it left a fabulous minty afterglow... lucky for me, my fellow etsian, salsagal (http://salsagal.etsy.com) took proposed a fabulous idea to donate them so we're going to do that! thanks, salsagal for the awesome idea... and for stopping me from throwing 20 tubes of bomb into the garbage!!!!!!!
i wonder else i can ruin today... :) hey, at least i knocked another crafting resolution off my list!

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dixie chick divorce

>> Friday, August 8, 2008


when i logged onto the internet today, i read that emily robison - from the dixie chicks - and her husband, charlie robison, have divorced. i'm a closet fan of the chicks (the husband says i must be the only asian cowgirl in canada), love their music, and love their documentary "shut up and sing". so i have to admit that i was a little sad to hear this news.
i suppose that because we're trying to have a baby, watching emily and her sister martie's struggles with fertility treatments were kind of comforting. and i really admire their sense of family and closeness.
just sad, i guess.
(and makes me a little more appreciative of the husband, despite his asian cowgirl jokes.)

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Does This Mean I'm A wRapper? *insert laugh here*

>> Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I finally conquered the art of the wire wrapped briolette!! another new year's resolution down! (i really should keep count, LOL!) for some reason, the whole technique has eluded me for about a year and i finally gave up, despite having made a hundred wire wrapped rings. but then, i guess i had an epiphany!!! i got up early yesterday morning and sat down with a pink crystal briolette and twisted and wrapped it... and the rest is history!

i love the way they've turned out, kind of like little whimsical wire wrapped hats for beautiful briolettes!

yay for wire! yay for briolettes! and yay for me finally figuring it out!



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I've Got a Hammer... and Some Lip Balm... and a NEW Car!!!!!

>> Saturday, August 2, 2008

i'm now obsessed... i've been dying to take the Jewelry 101 course that they were offering at my local bead store, but of course, once i had saved up for it, they haven't run it since! *insert lots of swear words here* so, like i usually do, i totally just took stock of what i had, scoured the internet, got some books off ebay and jumped into the world of cold forging!!!!


after slamming my fingers with my chasing hammer quite a few times, and actually smashing my knee once with it, i'm in love with metal and the wondrous things you can do with it! the earrings i made above were hand formed and cold forged by little old me! can you believe it? i almost cried when i finished them because i was so proud of myself! and now, i have tons of ideas in my head and not enough time to do it all... i'm going to try sawing and piecing and soldering next... so wish me luck!!!!


i've also been experimenting in the bath and body realm... my dream is to make my own lip balm! i don't know if you're like me, but i have hundreds of lip balms. seriously. i have a big mouth and am constantly applying and reapplying... it's driving me crazy and making me broke!




so i did a little research, and tried making lip balm for the first time. i was actually scared that i'd end up burning my eyebrows off, but i didn't! and i am totally thrilled with the results! oh, the miracle of beeswax... this lip balm is super fantastic, not too sticky, totally minty fresh and really moisturizing! it's really similar to burt's bees (sorry to them, i don't have to buy anymore, LOL) but less "grainy" and the minty feeling lasts longer!!!! YIPPEEEEE! i've given "tester" tubes to the gals at work and i've gotten the thumbs up. so hopefully, once i work out the packaging details, i'll be able to sell some in my etsy shop. seriously. i'm thrilled.

i think i'm going to tackle soap next. maybe even this weekend. hee hee! then i'll really burn my eyebrows off!

oh yes, and about the car...


when i had leased my little sporty Honda Civic three years ago, i thought that i couldn't and wouldn't ever fall in love again with a vehicle. however, my sister gave my mom her sweet Audi when her husband came home and told her that he'd just bought a new Volvo SUV (yeah, my sister married for money, i married for love, go figure), so my mom, in turn, offered the husband her old Mazda. well, he was all over that like white on rice.


long story short, we traded in both of our cars. but it was really hard on me because i loved loved loved loved my little Civic! that car can go FASSSSSSTTTTTTTTTT - i felt like Danica Patrick or at least Ricky Bobby everytime i drove that sweet little car. and yes, i had gotten quite a few speeding tickets in it.

because we were into TWO leases - yeah, don't even get me started - we had to trade up a little in order to get out of them both! so... the husband got my mom's Mazda, and i got this!!!!!

i totally feel like a traitor saying this, but i LOVE this car and barely even miss the little Civic at all. it's lovely to drive and since i don't work far from home, it's not too bad in regards to filling it up with gas! (yes, the mileage isn't as great, but oh well.) and we're saving on having TWO car payments, which totally, totally rocks. i do feel guilty about driving an SUV in this era of high fuel prices, but it certainly evens out when i have to move furniture for work!

hopefully soon we'll have tons of babies to fill up the backseat!! (hopefully REALLY soon!)

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Overwhelmed and Underpaid!!!!! (But Look at the Front Page!)

>> Thursday, July 10, 2008




Do you ever have those days where you just feel like your "To Do" list just keeps getting longer... and more convoluted... and more confusing? And then you throw allergies and a headache on top of it all? :) Well, today was one of those days - we're in the process of buying a car and at work i've been part of a planning committee for a huge team event tomorrow. It felt like i crammed 100 phone calls, a meeting, tons of photocopying and the baking of 100 chocolate chip cookies into an hour!!!!! and then to top it all off, a client decides to go ballistic on me.

needless to say, i was soo happy to leave the office finally!

there was a pretty bright spot in this hectic day though - one of my items was on the front page in twobeans' awesome beach-themed treasury on etsy! (http://twobeans.etsy.com/) the muffin top shop got plenty of traffic today! thanks, twobeans!







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And Our Winner is LAURIE!!!!

>> Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Laurie's song was "Just You and I" by Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle. And here is her story as posted on my blog:
"It was my wedding song to my first husband. I have been widowed twice and he was my daughters' father. I loved him for 17 years right up to the day I had to disconnect the machines and say goodbye. That was in 2005."
Laurie - wherever you are, i will put a listing in my etsy shop and you can "purchase" your earrings!
thanks everyone for sharing your story - and your songs - with me!!!!!!!!!!
xoxoxoxo

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And The Bride Wore Indie... SUMMER CONTEST!

>> Monday, June 23, 2008



i LOVE mixed tapes. i LOVE romantic, sappy songs. i LOVE alternative/indie music. even though i've been married more than ten years, i'm in the middle of compiling the best alternative/indie romantic compilation ever!!!! however, there is only so much that i can find on my own, so i'm hoping to have a little help from my friends!



here is my playlist so far -




The Luckiest – Ben Folds - seriously, i get teary-eyed everytime i hear this song
The Book of Love – Peter Gabriel - the husband even loves this one too
When I’m With You – Faber Drive
Closer - Travis
We Are Man and Wife – Michelle Featherstone - one of the most perfect wedding songs EVER
Dusting Down the Stars – Mobile
Like I Love You – BellX1 - a stripped down version of mr. timberlake's classic
Stuttering – Ben’s Brother - yes, i know it's a dentyne commercial, so shoot me
Forever – Ben Harper
You and Me Song – Wannadies
I Love How You Love Me – Beth Orton
Question – Old 97’s - you HAVE to listen to these lyrics!
Everlong (acoustic) – Foo Fighters - of course, Dave Grohl has the soul of a romantic poet
Goreki – Lamb
You and Me – Lighthouse
I Love You Anyways – Travis
Only You – Joshua Radin - a Yaz cover, almost done better!
Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
Just Like Heaven – Katie Melua - so sweet, so dreamy!
Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
It's Only Time - Magnetic Fields



i'm also loving the string quartet arrangements of Coldplay and The Smiths - especially "please please please let me get what i want" and "in my place"



in the spirit of romance, i'm offering up this contest: post your favorite(s) romantic songs here on my blog, and the story behind it! the most romantic storyteller will win a pair of my Bridal Bling earrings (shown here)! (and they don't have to be indie or alternative... i just love a good story!)







the deadline is July 5th - my birthday! i WANT to hear your sappy stories! i can't wait to make the best alt-rom mixed tape!



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Scrabble Tile Pendants - and My Backyard!

>> Saturday, June 21, 2008



i'm still on my quest to learn ten new crafting techniques this year! Here is the latest (and lucky number seven!) - SCRABBLE TILE PENDANTS! i purchased a little kit from SunAndMoonCrafts (http://sunandmooncraftkits.etsy.com/) and these are my first three! i think i'm hooked! i will have them for sale soon in MuffinTopsyTurvy once i perfect my technique!



of course, it's hard to be crafting when our backyard beckons... we spent this morning in the garden weeding and coaxing the plants to grow. i have two tomato plants, a zucchini plant and a little red pepper plant. the rose bush didn't bloom last year, but this year, we have blossoms in SPADES! i'm so psyched! thanks to the husband for getting rid of all those nasty weeds choking our flowers!

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MuffinTopsyTurvy's First Treasury!

>> Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thanks so much to TrueMirage (http://TrueMirage.etsy.com) for including my Hey DJ moleskine notebook in her fabulous treasury!

Seriously, these little notebooks are the BEST!!! I love the original moleskine books, but these are so useful and perfectly sized!!!!! And with the gocco print being the perfect size, what better way to show them off!

Thanks again, TrueMirage!!!!!

xoxxoox



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Tooting My Own Horn! 500 Sales and Counting!

>> Sunday, June 1, 2008


I've reached 500 sales today!!!!!! So, I'm tooting my own horn!!!!!! I am so happy to have had the opportunity to put my creations out there and for people to like them!
Thanks everyone, and thank you, etsy!!!!!

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Lucky Sparrow Gocco Moleskine Cahiers!

>> Monday, May 26, 2008


In loving tribute to my tattooed honey, and my friend Tia (http://heylady.etsy.com/), I've just completed a series of limited edition "Lucky Sparrow" notebooks. The illustration is hand drawn by yours truly - quite painstakingly over two days! This series is in beautiful blue ink on buff Moleskine cahiers, and I've only made 6 in this run - 3 with lined pages, 3 with blank pages. These are the sweetest little books you've ever seen, and if you know Moleskine, you know that these are timeless, classic, and built to last!!!! Check them out here: http://www.moleskine.com/. I'm hoping to continue to develop new designs as time goes on... so check them out here at http://muffintopsyturvy.etsy.com/!
Speaking of my tattooed honey, his new musical venture is now online!!!! I am proud to say that I love his stuff. www.myspace.com/stockfeeder666. His CD will be coming out this summer! If you love death metal, crustcore, grindcore, or any industrial music, this will be right up your alley.

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Resonating for Resin! And Clamoring for Clusters!

>> Wednesday, May 21, 2008






i'm lovin' these new earrings in my shop! the bright colours are courtesy of resin covered silverplated brass shapes... a little splash of sunshine in your ears!




i also can't stop making these amazing cluster cocktail rings! they are so fabulous and surprisingly comfortable to wear!!!!! hmmmm... maybe this is another new design technique i can add to my New Year's resolution list????


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Je manque Montréal

>> Saturday, May 10, 2008


We used to live there. We haven't been back in a long time. Thanks to kritterknitter for reminding me how awesome it is there... and for including my cards!

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i HEART Gocco!

>> Sunday, April 13, 2008


I am officially addicted to my new gocco machine. Check my new stuff out at http://muffintopsyturvy.etsy.com/!!!! Finally, maybe one day i can just sit at home and draw all day.

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Great Canadian Artists - Little Papercuts



I'm deviating a little bit from my normal "Feature" and promoting this awesome artist who NEEDS TO START SELLING IN HER ETSY SHOP!!!!




Presenting... Little Papercuts!




1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I’m 33 years old and I’m a stay at home mom to 2 great kids. I’ve been married for 7 years, but my husband and I have been together for 17 years. My family is kinda my life…as cliché as it may sound, but my whole world really does revolve around them. Since my daughter was born, 6 years ago, my life has been filled with lots of laughter, lots of tears, and everything in between. And when my son came along, he turned our lives upside down. He’s a bundle of energy, and I have to admit…a bit of a mama’s boy . Yup, pretty much kids, family and all the craziness that goes hand in hand with both, not to mention trying to run a small business on the side…that’s my life!





2. Outside of your creative life, what else are you up to?
I kinda summed that up in the last question I think. I think my creative life is very much a part of my everyday life. I love looking for papers and embellishments at scrapbooking stores and craft stores, but I know nothing about scrapbooking itself.




3. What made you first want to create art?
I think it was the first time I saw my grandmother redraw the album cover for The Sound of Music. I was only 6 or 7 at the time and I think in my head I thought she was actually the one who had drawn ALL the album covers all over the world, and I thought that’s what I want to do!




4. What do you offer in your shop?
I specialize in children’s customized name art and artwork. Every piece is one of a kind and tailored to each child. On occasion I have created artwork for adults as well though.




5. Without giving away any of your trade secrets, what is your creative process?
Cut and paste, kind of. I usually sketch out the name in the chosen style first and then transfer that image to colored paper. All the cut paper pieces are then layered onto each other and glued down. I’m trying not to give away too much info, but it really is cut and paste…what can I say I’m a mom. I work in the same medium as my kidsJ




6. Where do you create?
Don’t laugh, but I do all of my work on my living room floor, using our old fish tank as a light box/desk with my paper spread all around me. Space is limited at our house!




7. If you listen to music while you make your creations, what is the soundtrack?
Whatever the kids are listening to…lately it’s been Hannah Montana or preschool tunes.




8. What are your Crafting Resolutions for 2008?
Hmm, that’s tough but my #1 would have to be to get a desk, and not to procrastinate as much as I do. I’m in the process of setting up my website, so that’s definitely a huge thing for me. My goal is really to have my website, blog and hopefully at some point my Etsy Shop all up and running.




9. How do you promote your Etsy shop?
I haven’t officially opened up my shop yet, so probably through blogs or forums. So far word of mouth has been my best friend. My family and friends are the best advertising I could ever ask for.




10. What is your most favorite handmade item that you have made?
Wow, I’d have to say it’s a toss up between Seasons Artwork I just finished for my daughter Alison (all the little girls look like her!) and a duvet cover I had made for her that was inspired by paper dolls.




11. What is your most favorite handmade item that someone else has made?
That’s easy, sock monkeys for my kids from Muffin Top!!!




12. What was your best handcrafted "moment"?
It had to be the reaction of the parents who received the first Little Papercuts name art. They were amazed at my work, and it was really the first time that I’ve thought that I could pursue this as a business. That was over 2 years ago!!




13. Top 5 list – list your top 5 favorite movies, books, bands, and foods.
That’s a hard one…lately all I read watch or listen to is kids’ stuff. OK…top 5 movies would be Rent, The King and I, Man on Fire (soooo amazing), The Last Unicorn (gotta love 80’s animation) and anything from the Young and Dangerous series (Chinese subtitled). The only books that really stand out in my mind are ‘Are you there God, it’s me Margaret’ and ‘Blubber’ by Judy Bloom. I think it’s because my daughter is starting to read novels and stuff now. No fave bands, I’ll listen to pretty much anything. Foods, hmm let’s see…oatmeal cookies from Longo’s, zesty cheese Doritos, beef brisket that my mother in law cooks, rice and peas (a Jamaican thing) and ox tail.




14. What advice would you like to give to others on trying to sell their handmade goods?
Find inspiration from everything around you. Don’t give up! Like I said before, word of mouth is very powerful…it can make your business without you even trying if you enlist the help of family and friends!




15. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Let’s see, in 10 years I see myself with one more kid, still married to hubby #1, still making hip art for kids and parents and in a house with room enough for me to have a desk preferably with a glass insert to use as a light box.




16. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?
creative, reliable, perfectionist, fun, indecisive…wow that sounds kinda boring! Love ya Muffin!!

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Bags, bags and more bags!

>> Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some of my favorites from Etsy's artisans! i wish i had a million dollars!

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Fundraiser for Fanconi's Anemia - Muffin Top Designs Up for Auction

>> Tuesday, April 8, 2008




I was approached by the lovely Karen Granofsky, co-chair of Fanconi Canada, an organization that raises funds to conduct research for Fanconi's Anemia. She asked if I would be interested in donating some pieces to their silent auction, which is a part of their 2008 fundraiser.



I had never heard of Fanconi's Anemia before, so Karen sent me a link to their website and I did a little research, that I thought that I would share.
From the Fanconi Canada website:
"Fanconi Anemia (FA), first described in 1927 by a Swiss pediatrician Guido Fanconi, is the most common of the inherited anemias that lead to progressive, severe bone marrow failure, also known as aplastic anemia. The effects of the disease are devastating, leaving patients weak, prone to severe bleeding due to insufficient blood clotting and susceptible to infection. FA is a genetic disorder that occurs equally in males and females and is found in all ethnic groups. Though considered primarily a blood disease, it may affect all systems of the body. A Fanconi Anemia patient often, but not always, has other physical defects detectable at the time of birth ranging from minor to serious. Patients are also at an increased risk for developing leukemia and other cancers. Many children do not survive to adulthood.
Currently, there is no cure for FA. However, the following treatments are currently available to treat the bone marrow failure:

Regular transfusions; androgens (male hormones) with or without steroids; blood growth factors (such as G-CSF)
While these can cause remission of the bone marrow failure, eventually patients fail to respond and develop severe aplastic anemia. Androgens in particular can cause serious side effects.
Bone marrow transplant
Bone marrow from a healthy donor is introduced into the patient's body after the patients own defective marrow has been destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation. This procedure can permanently reverse the marrow failure; however, it a very risky procedure which is only available if a patient has a suitable donor.
Gene Therapy
Still at the experimental stage, gene therapy attempts to introduce a normal copy of the defective FA gene into a patient's blood cells. There are at least eight laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Europe that are working on gene therapy for FA
Birth defects are found in the majority of FA patients. These defects can involve any system of the body. The defects are sometimes many in number, or very few. There seems to be no predictability about the types of anomalies, even within families where more than one child has FA.
Among the more common birth defects are the following:
Short stature
Thumb, hand and arm anomalies
Skeletal abnormalities of the hip and spine
Kidney problems
Skin discoloration
Small head or eyes
Low birth weight and failure to thrive
Digestive tract abnormalities
Heart defects
Mental retardation"
It took me by surprise how widespread this disorder is, and how it affected both males and females, of all cultural backgrounds. So many children are affected by this disease, and I am so privileged to be a part of their 2008 fundraiser. They have raised over $250 000 for Fanconi's Research over the past 8 years, and are looking forward to raising more in 2008.
On Sunday, April 27th, 2008, Karen and her colleagues at Fanconi Canada are having a fabulous fundraiser! Not only are they having a silent auction, but they are also having a three course meal and entertainment by the Ron Davis Quartet! I have sent several pieces, including the Swarovski ring pictured above, to be part of the auction.
You can find out more about Fanconi's Anemia and the Toronto Fundraiser at the website:
Thanks so much, Karen, for finding me and letting me be a part of this!




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True Guitar Hero

>> Saturday, April 5, 2008


i am married to a true "guitar hero". none of this video game/fake rock star/pseudo-kerry king business... but a real, life GUITAR HERO!!!! he's played in bands his whole life and i think that he should be honoured for his musical genius.this card is in tribute to the man who really and truly plays a Gibson SG like the finely crafted instrument that it is.
check out my muffintopsyturvy hand drawn card (here at http://MuffinTopsyTurvy.etsy.com ) - done on 100% recycled cardstock and comes with a matching envelope. blank inside for your own personal message to your hero.

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In Real Life...

>> Thursday, April 3, 2008






The Cat's Meow!



823 Niedringhaus, Granite City, IL 62040 618-876-3325 Tuesday-Saturday 11AM-5:00PM Sunday 11-2 or by appt.

You can now get my artisan wire wrapped rings from Paula at the Cat's Meow in Granite City, Illinois! It's my first consignment "relationship" (*blush*) and Paula is WONDERFUL to work with! We've already sold one "nest egg" ring!

The shop carries amazingly fabulous handmade gifts and decor - and supports self-representing artists! Her blog keeps us up to date on what exciting things she's found in her travels.

You can check out the Cat's Meow blog at http://catsmeowgifts.blogspot.com/ and Paula's etsy shop at http://picardcreative.etsy.com/. OR even better yet, if you live near Granite City, go and pay her a visit!

Thanks, Paula!!!! Looking forward to working with you for a long time!

xoxoxo

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Happy Earth Day!

>> Saturday, March 29, 2008


How timely. The lovely moonbeads (http://moonbeads.etsy.com) created this lovely eco-friendly treasury including my opal nest egg necklace... just in time for Earth Day!!!! thanks, moonbeads!!!!
We did the whole Earth Hour thing... prompted by our niece, who was really gung ho about the whole thing! Pretty cool for a 6 year old! We lit candles, ate chocolate and played Trivial Pursuit... what a lovely way to spend an evening!

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Yes, this is a VENT...

>> Tuesday, March 25, 2008

i wish i was...

- independently wealthy
- able to craft full time
- a little skinnier
- self-employed (full time)
- could stop eating those darned mini-eggs leftover from Easter... yikes!
- not so tired!

you ever just have one of those days where you just want to crawl back into bed and stay there? it was one of those for me today... disappointed the boss, it's snowing (again), dropped my wallet into a puddle...
sigh.

at least i was able to list this beautiful piece today... a fine silver pendant with a sweet little heart on it!

at least there is always tomorrow!

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