Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Etsy Artisan of the Week

I choose this week's Etsy artist because when I went into her shop it felt much like 
the current shop that my husband and I have. We opened them much around the 
same time. We both dabble in a little bit of everything. Some of the things we 
dabble in are the same and some are different. Like my husband she is a recycler 
or up-cycler. Like me she does some jewelry and crochet. This week's artist is a 
talented gal named Stephanie and she is from the great state of Michigan. 
Her shop is called New Vision Designs. She is an artist of many things; nature 
photography, jewelry, crochet, moss 
terrariums, and aquarium plants. 

Up till now my artist have been the knitters and crocheters. While Stephanie 
does crochet, I wanted to feature an artist who creates things that I don't and who I
think, does it well. I absolutely love photography and wish I was so much better at it.
Some people just have that knack and Stephanie is one of those who's got the knack.

She has excellent prices for her pictures!! Buy one, get one free on her 4x6 and 5x7's!! 
And a guarantee and I quote:

Picture is taken by me, Stephanie Tilmann and will be signed and dated on the back. Printed on a professional
 printer, at a photo lab.

Clearly every attention to detail has been made and it shows in her photos and in
her postings. You can order any size and you can order magnets, calendars, canvas 
prints and on and on. These 2 photos are just a few examples of the dozens of 
awesome landscapes she has photographed.

Stephanie also makes these beautiful little terrariums! Nature in a jar at your work or 
home to, I think, inspire relaxation. Gives you a moment to take your mind off of the
stress of it all and watch plant life change right in front of you. She includes
instructions on how to care for it. AND the part we love? The moss comes from around her home
and the jars are recycled. You know our family we are all about reusing that glass!!
AND she makes beautiful bracelets!!! I am all about creating your own
bracelets, as you all know. I really like jewelry that adds that perfect
touch to an outfit.  I am in love with her bracelets. I think they are so 
pretty and each is different clearly coming from a moment of inspired 

With a little bit of everything to choose from you can't go wrong
with New Vision Designs! You know Mother's day is right
around the corner! There may be a perfect gift there for that
wonderful woman you would like to say thanks to in a special
way!! Check it out today!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Paper Beads- Part 3!!!

I know I have been really bad about the blogging this week. 
Life happens. Work, kids, community group, practice for 
Good Friday and Easter services. But I am feeling in the 
mood for some paper bead making. As stated previously it 
is very relaxing for me. AND I bought a Easter dress for
the first time in years and I thought, I need to make
some accessories to go with.

My dress is white with blue flowers. So I picked a blue 
polka dotted paper. It will not look like polka dots
once I cut, roll and make the beads. It will just look
like white and blue beads. Maybe I will make a necklace
and earrings too. I haven't decided yet. So Here we go.

I really like a smaller bead and so today I decided to
actually make a bracelet out of one of the smaller beads
that I have made. I just used a ruler today instead of 
a template. Small triangles are what I will used today.
Because I know about how many beads I will need to make
a bracelet for myself I just made 10 triangles.
I also decided to make some earrings. I have a plan to
do a blog about how to make earrings. So I will just
show the earrings in the pics. But I also made 2 beads 
for the earrings.

I rolled the beads on my roller as shown in my paper beads
part 2. Then I coated them with 2 coats of regular Mod Podge
and 1 coat of out door water proof Mod Podge. I allowed 
about 15 minutes of drying time between each coat.

Once everything is dry it is time to string your beads. I use
stretchy cord and because the glass beads I will be stringing
between each paper bead are bigger, I will use a thicker 
stretch cord. I cut about 12-14" of cord and I put a piece
of tape on the end to hold the beads while I am stringing 
them. I alternate stringing a glass bead and a paper bead 
until I reach the desired length.

Then I cut the tape part off 
and I use a square knot to tie the bracelet off. This part 
can be a little tricky trying to get the beads as close as 
possible in the knot without the beads getting crossed. 
Once you get the knot tied it is good to knot it a few times 
for good measure. Then cut the little ends and pull the 
little ends left into a bead to hide the knot.

I was very pleased at how these turned out. I love how you 
can turn paper into an accessory and it is so fun.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thyroid Thursday- My Story

SO I have been racking my brain about a new blog I could have. My 
 desire is to be able to post something new every day of the
week. What do I know about that I could pass on to you, my reader?
Hmmm? Well I was diagnosed with thyroid disease about 15 years ago.
I don't pretend to be an expert but I do have some knowledge and I know
there are things that I can still learn and pass on. Thus came to be 
Thyroid Thursday!!

For my first post I think I will tell my story. I was reading some symptoms I
could tell you about today and I realize now that my thyroid disease probably 
started about 2 years before I was diagnosed if not longer. My mom had made 
me this gorgeous graduation dress and it fit perfectly and then the next week Not. 
Obviously I did not gain a boatload of weight in a week, but water retention is 
one of the symptoms and I really think this was one of the early signs. Fatigue is a sign
 that I have always had a problem with. I was in college and just could not get up in 
the morning. I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night and my husband, who was my fiance 
at that time, could not figure out why I was so tired. I said it was because of all that
 I was doing. He said he was doing the same amount and he was normal. I also
 remember one day I woke up and had the worst muscle pain in my legs that I had 
ever had. I did not remember doing any exercise in the previous days. Then as quickly
 as it came on, it left. The next day I was fine.

I was 19 years old and with a up and coming wedding I went for my first
real physical. I was actually about to leave and the nurse practitioner
looked and me and said, "I think I see a shadow on your neck." She felt my
neck and decided that yes my thyroid was enlarged and that we would
do some blood work. Sure enough I had a low thyroid- Hypothyroidism. It was 
a difficult time for me. Instead of having weight gain I had actually had weight loss 
because I never ate. I went from never eating to feeling the need to eat all the time.
I went from me controlling the food to feeling like the food was controlling me.
It also hit me that I would have to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life. I
felt like I was too young to start down that path just yet. Now I think really
with all the stress of college and preparing a wedding and the remodel of an
apartment for us, when we added this it was like the last straw for me. 

The providers I saw from age 19 to age 23 were at the student health. When
I finally graduated and got a real job with real insurance, I started to see an
endocrinologist. Which is who I recommend right off the bat for everyone. 
He did an ultrasound on my thyroid right there is his office and this was the first
time I had ever had this done. From his ultrasound findings, he decided to run 
another series of testing that had never been run before. This testing showed that I
in fact had Autoimmune Thyroid Disease called Hashimoto disease. This is not 
just having a low thyroid. This is when our bodies physically attack our thyroid. At 
this time it was also discovered that I have a spot, which has not changed in the 
10 years since we found it. This spot is thought to be a cyst or just part of 
my thyroid. But because we did find it, I now have to have a yearly ultrasound to 
check it.

The last 14 years has been a ride I tell you. After having babies, my thyroid function
has changed dramatically. It is extremely difficult to stay on one dose of 
medication for very long. And weight loss and gain is often a mystery. But I
have learned some things along the way. So stay tuned. Next week I will talk about
signs and symptoms. If you have any ideas or questions for me to explore, let me know!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Featured Etsy Artisan of the Week

One of my favorite things about Etsy is the Pattern Section!
I love that you can get the satisfaction of making your
own scarf, hat, etc. And that is why I chose this week's 
artist. Miriah Gilbert resides in Lake Stevens, WA with her
husband and three daughters. Like many of us crafty moms
she started making hats for her youngest. People saw the
adorable hats she was making for her baby girl and of course 
admired them. And thus Emie Grace Creations came to be. Now
 you and I can go to her shop and get the patterns to make 
the same hats for our children and there are some 
treasures for us grown ups too.
One of my favorite patterns is the EMIE Bear Crochet Hat Pattern!!

A lot of animal hats have the entire face, which let's face it is adorable. But what I absolutely love about this pattern is the lack of eyes and how it makes your kiddo a cute little bear. By just adding a precious little flower you can make it just perfect for your little lady. Remove the flower and your 
little man is as cute as can be.

Another favorite is the Logan Puppy Crochet Hat Pattern! 
Finding cute clothing for girls is never a problem. Often for 
boys it can be a challenge. Challenge Gone!! Is this not 
the cutest puppy hat you have ever seen??!!!! AND really you 
can substitute pink in the blue areas and 
you have a girls hat too.

Want to kick it up a notch? Add some ear flaps 
and braided ties. 
Want the perfect touch to an already 
perfect gift for that baby shower gift? How about
some matching slippers? 

These are just 2 of the many styles of animal patterns.
There are also beanies and various other hat patterns. 
Honestly can you really pick just one?

On to us adults:) Cute, fashionable and versatile are a 
few words that come to mind when I see the Sara Newsboy 
Crochet Adult Hat Pattern. Which comes with 
instructions for the hat and 2 different flowers!
With this pattern in hand you can make 
hat and/or flower to match every outfit you own!!

Not a hat kinda gal? Take a look at this sweet Crochet
Flower Headband. The possibilities are limitless!! 
You can make these for babies all the way to

These are just a few of the dozens of wonderful patterns 
that Miriah has created. Can't choose just one? NO Problem
she has 2 listings, one for a 3 pack of patterns and
one for a 4 pack of patterns all of your choice.
If you think about it, when we buy our crochet 
magazines we may use only a few patterns out of them. So
this is a wonderful deal because you choose all
the patterns that you know you will use.

OH you say you don't crochet! Miriah makes all of these 
patterns so you can buy the item you want already made.
Want a custom item? You just contact Miriah with your

Now we have come to the DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
portion of my blog! Here are what a few of her customers
have to say...
Great pattern and great service. Looking forward to ordering again
I LOVE IT .. HIGH QUALITY (this was an owl hat order)
Pattern is great! And was sent very quickly! Thanks

Stop by Miriah's shop today Emie Grace Creations!  
There is a pattern, or 2, there with your 
name all over it and you will not be disappointed. 
The selection and quality is fantastic!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Allergy Topic: Carpet vs. Hardwood or Laminate

Have you ever vacuumed at that time of the day when the sun is going down and you
can see all the particulate in the air flying around? You would not normally see
this if it were say around noon. The perfect angle of the sun allows you to see 
the nightmare that is sitting in your carpet now floating in the air.

Almost one year ago our son was diagnosed with a multitude of environmental
allergies. The majority of which live in our yard. In addition to his food and drug 
allergies this brought his count of things, that he is allergic to, that we know about,
to 25.  I know that there is more. So naturally we started looking for ways to 
decrease the allergens in the home. Primarily his sleeping area. So I bought a 
special pillowcase and he has a mattress cover. We bought a rainbow
vacuum and carpet cleaner which is also a air purifier. I try to clean the carpets in his 
room 2 times a year. I have read recommendations that you should clean your carpets 
every 12-16 months!! WHAT??!!! Do these people have children or even live in their houses?

The building of our house started when I was 8 months pregnant with our son and we 
have had a daughter as well. We had the option to have the majority of the house 
tiled but we opted out because of course you worry about babies learning to walk on 
hard floors. If we only knew then what we know now. This has been the most difficult 
year we have had with our son as far as asthma goes. And so we are thinking about 
putting laminate in the majority of the house. The tile that we do have has been difficult
to keep up and so I don't really want more of it. 

So I have been on a research trek to find out what people are saying about carpet vs 
laminate. The nurse part of me has looked at actual research articles and the mom 
part has looked at blogs and forums. The two worlds have not been in agreement.
The research world says that carpet now days is made to hold more allergens. They
compared the USA which is a big carpet country to Europe which is not. They say they
found no difference in reports of difficulty of allergies. This was the same report that
said to only clean carpets every 12-18 months unless you had a stain, mud, etc. My
mom brought up an excellent point about this research and that is how often were
each types of flooring cleaned. This was not part of the study.

The mom, forum, blog world says that it can be a huge benefit to have the laminate or
hardwood because you can see the allergens sitting on your floor and you know that
you are getting them all up. Several post I read said that while the carpet does hold 
allergens more as soon as some one stomps or children run around, the allergens get
stirred up. I have definitely seen this to be true.The down side of the laminate is really 
you need to vacuum or wet mop pretty much every day. My friend who had laminate
said that yes it is a pain to clean everyday BUT she would absolutely have it over carpet
any day. Let's face it, carpet has it's moments of not being user friendly.

So what do you think? We are really leaning towards it. It is easy to install, 
it looks great, and I just think I would feel good about being able to see the clean. 

Featured Etsy Artisan of the Week

I recently came across 2 wonderful shops from a fellow Etsian crafter!!
I am so in love with both of the shops this talented lady coordinates I decided 
that she will be my first featured Artisan!! 
    Montana Daisy Girl and Daisy Girl Delights are the shop names and both 
are beautifully run by an sweet gal named Jennifer (not to be confused with 
the Jenn featured in my paper beads part 2). This talented 
artist and crafter hails from Billings Montana where she lives with her
husband and 2 year old daughter.   

Her first shop is Montana Daisy Girl and is comprised of Crocheted items for 
the home. What I absolutely love is all the color she uses in her items.
Her pictures capture the items well and when you see her shop you
immediately need and want every item she makes. My favorite item? 
Her Coffee Mug Cozy! One thing you should know about me and you
will hear me say this again and again, I LOVE COFFEE!
I was immediately taken with her cozies. Every color you can think of and so Cute!

In our day in age with economy as it is, I think that it is awesome that people 
are making the Economical items and one of hers is a crochet Swifer Cover! 
How many of us have that Swifer Sweeper that we bought and we just 
never buy the refills. OR we are spending a boat load on the refills. 
That can stop today!!
She makes a variety of colors in this cover for your Swifer and when it 
gets dirty you just throw it in the wash.

These are just two of her lovely items in this shop! Go and check out her
 entire stock of crochet home goodies. I can tell you, you will not be disappointed.

Jennifer has recently started a new shop Daisy Girl Delights!
And once again HOME RUN!! Fantastic Pictures and Fantastic
Items!! Everything I see I want!!
This shop is comprised of the smell good items for
any place you can think of that needs a "Fragrance Pick-me-up"!!
 Beautiful Colors everywhere and the packaging shows that
every attention to detail has been made.
My favorite? The Daisy shaped car freshener! When you
have children, as many of you know, you seem to be in the car
all the time!! A freshener is a must!

Any color or scent you can think of, she has it!!.
She also has Tea Lights, Sachets and Soy BreakAways for your
tea light or electric warmers. Again go and see for yourself!! Each 
shop is an absolute delight!!

I am not the only one raving! What impresses me the most about this
 talented gal? Her customer feedback!!
- Gorgeous. Can't go wrong with these. I love them ALL! Great seller.
thank you! It smells amazing! It's in my car right now. When it dies, I'm buying another one!
MY FRIEND LOVED THIS! Fast shipping! Great service, came with cute wrapping, and a nice little gift! Will buy from again!

She really knocks my socks off and is an example seller for me. Her next 
adventure is about to begin as she and her husband have moved to 
Helena to start a family business. Jennifer I wish you many blessings and 
I know you are going to knock em dead!!