Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Great Escape

One Spring morning when the blossoms have erupted on the apple trees, I will pack a few things, jump on my bike and start to pedal...

I'll stop for pie and Betty will pour me coffee that is hot and black and doesn't have fancy syrups added to it...

I'll wave at the cows and stop to paint soft grey pussywillows growing in the ditches along the road

Sleeping under the stars, I'll lose myself in the night sky and wake up having found myself.

Heaven Sent

In October, a neighbour of mine called asking if he could give a treat to my "other husky" which I replied..when I left this morning, I only had ONE husky, so please clarify what exactly you mean by "the other husky". He responded, well you now have two huskies and one collie.

Denton as a Baby and Denton with Nevaeh

Immediately I texted the OTHER animal lovers in our household-my kids-to find out which one had "sneaked" in the contraband husky. Both vehemently denied any involvement, but seemed delighted at the prospect of another animal. To this day, we honestly don't know how this husky "found his way" into our yard. Perhaps he sneaked in under a hole in the fence..maybe someone mistook him for my other husky and "returned" him to our yard..maybe he hopped our fence after seeing our other husky or more likely he was "heaven sent".

By the time I got home that night it was dark and no excess husky was to be found. The next morning though I caught a shadowy glimpse of an animal that looked more like a coyote than a dog. As quickly as he appeared, he a ghost into the shadows.

The weekend came and indeed, we did find that another dog had joined our pack. He was extremely timid, and pitifully thin. I left food for him for four days before he finally ate, despite his starving condition. The tips of his ears were missing, either chewed off in a fight, or lost to frostbite, his ribs showed thru his coat which was a stinky mess, and his muzzle and legs were painfully thin.

Months later "Ghost" has become a playful member of the pack. He and Denton are like the twin terrors..running faster than the speed of light, tearing up stuff, and wrestling each other to the ground.. Mother collie, Nevaeh keeps them in line with her yappy bark.

Ghost is still extremely timid around people..but I've discovered that next to his pack members, he LOVES walks and hotdogs..I've learned that patience is something essential to working with this dog, so we take things slowly.

Ghost will need to move on eventually to his forever home..unfortunately i can not keep him. Please send your prayers back to Heaven for my Ghost dog, who was truly heaven sent that we will find the perfect home for him..a place where he can know love, and become the wonderful dog he was meant to be.

Monday, February 21, 2011

come see my upcycled wool pillow made from a skirt

I've been kickin around the idea of making a pillow using an old wool skirt with buttons up the front..I had this fabulous Evan Picone grey wool skirt..and the operative word is now "had" because today I cut it up and made it into a pillow..sorry Evan

I LOVE LOVE LOVE was super easy to make and the look is very trendy..

here are some pictures..and this pillow made its debut today on my vintage Etsy site!! So what does this mean??? well at least two more bins with wool skirts in the garage...YIKES..

I'm on a mission to create responsibly..with the least amount of ecological impact..selling vintage and repurposing/upcycling helps me to achieve that goal..

LOVE my planet

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dreaming about my garden

Chinook winds are melting the snow..I can't wait to get out in my garden..until then I have to be content to dream about what changes I will make, what antique garden accents I will add, and how beautiful my flowers will be..

My Ukranian grandmother grew the most beautiful in the front yard, vegetables in the her funeral one person said..I will miss Bernice, but I will also miss her beautiful you never know whose day you brighten with your garden

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sunday Edition

Deer Hill Farm was on Town Farm Road outside of Quechee Vermont. Romantically charming, it truly captured the essence of the Northeast. At 17, after graduating from HS, I was invited to move into this rambling red farmhouse/commune to live with my boyfriend and 8 other Dartmouth grad students.

My room was on the second floor and the view was nothing short of begged you to write haiku-ridges and ridges of mountains which finally faded into the muted blue sky. A spring fed pond in the backyard, surrounded by wild flowers, whispered to the deer calling them to drink.

Some days I would climb the spooky stairs to the attic..we had an old record player up there and I would open the windows and blast Joni Mitchell tunes across the valley..dancing with my shadow across creaky floors.
One or two cats would follow me there-content to put up with the music for the glorious rays of bright sunshine which filled the attic.

I spent my days outdoors, getting my hands dirty working in the garden or devouring books while relaxing in an adirondack chair by the pond. When I tired of those activities, I'd wander along what was once the King's Highway connecting the US and barely recognizable as a road, let alone a "highway" it was an enchanting path with stone walls and giant oaks.

Buckwheat, our white shepherd/golden mix was a rambunctious puppy then and she was my constant companion..digging her way through our garden. I found it hilariously funny, seeing her covered with rich black earth, but this activity was frowned upon by other members of the household.
We grew most of our own food, trading for things we needed with other communes.

On Sunday morning, we would sit around the pond, drink freshly brewed coffee or tea and thumb through the Sunday Edition of the NY Times..which always ended with the completion of the crossword puzzle.

My kids refer to this time as my "hippy daze"..I called it life at its best..

(sadly the farmhouse burned down in 1974, so I don't have any pictures of I "borrowed" some Vermont real estate photos which capture its essence)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Country Living

When I was in college I lived in a little farmhouse in the town of Hygiene, kidding..that was the name of the town. Rural Colorado at its finest.

It was a little white farmhouse, with creaky wooden floors, a rickety porch on the back, and a spectacular view of the mountains. I loved soaking in the claw foot tub, swinging on the tire swing hung from an old cottonwood in the back 40, and making dinners with my roomies.

We lived there with our pets-my first collie Harvest Moon, two WILD acting ferrets..Fred and Ferret Fawcett,our cats Silver Cloud and a mean black Siamese mix..forgotten its name now..and our crazy horse-who used to come UP onto the rickety porch to open the old "beer fridge" with his nose..we kept carrots and apples in there for him and he helped himself.

There was an old abandoned dairy farm across the road, rows of cornfields and a coffee shop on the corner. You sat at the counter on spinning stools and Betty served the blackest coffee and the biggest cinnamon rolls with the goopiest sweetest icing you've even eaten. The attire ranged from overalls and flannel shirts, to Wranglers and cowboy boots...nothin fancy

We were called "those college kids" but people were friendly enough..especially once they found out that we were animal lovers. From that point on, it was nothing to wake up to a basket of kittens or puppies on our old wooden doorsteps. My roommate Katie would haul them to the college and find them all homes.

This treasury captures the essence of those days and that beautiful old home and a return to the simple life which my soul is CRAVING...
enjoy some quiet this weekend...

Monday, February 7, 2011

PICK ME!! tips for increasing your Etsy treasury potential

Ever wondered why certain items or shops are featured in more treasuries than others. I have certain items in my shop that have been featured many times in treasuries, whereas others seem to be “treasury rejects”.

Of course the scientist in me is always looking for reasonable explanations..aka theories..why Etsy is the way it is. In unlocking the Etsy treasury code, I hope to propel myself AND my fellow team members to the upper echelon of Etsydom..front page. After all, front page, as well as treasury exposure translates into more sales.

(my most recent vintage treasury made for vestiesteam)

So here are some possible explanations and suggestions to help all of us to increase shop exposure through treasuries:

1. Take great photos: This is probably the single most important criteria for selection. Your pictures must be clear, and cropped correctly. I have struggled with this one since I opened my shop, and I continue to plod along in my attempts for improvement in my photography. Initially I fought the front page trends toward what I called “boring backgrounds”. I wanted “interesting backgrounds” that told stories, and reflected my personality..but in reality, like my wild random ADHD personality, my backgrounds were too busy and often distracting. Recently I embraced “change” to create a “unique look” which is more cohesive, calmer and more “treasury friendly”. My first commitment was to make a photography studio in our cabin. I now take most of my pictures there using natural lighting rather than flash. Granted I’m not a Zen master of photography quite yet, but I’m happy to report that my pictures are now featured in MORE vintage theme treasuries. Additionally, more people are adding my items as their favs and MOST importantly, I love my new updated look.

(natural light in my studio)

(bad flash, poor lighting, boring picture)

2. Photo cropping: I see some great items that I would LOVE to feature in treasuries, but what stops me is how the listing pictures have been cropped. Again, this is something I struggle with. Be sure that your thumbnail pics show the ENTIRE item, and that important elements of your product such as spouts and handles are not chopped off. Different angles are ok for showing different aspects of your product-but it makes me a little dizzy when I view a shop where photos tip back and forth at precarious angles.

(Bottles are HARD to photograph..this picture is a little dark)

3. Photography props: Props help create interesting pictures. Here comes the Scientist in me again-but for weeks I “studied” the vintage shops featured on FP. The data collected indicates that old books, lavender bundles, linens, animal figurines, dried flowers/weeds, wooden crates and old chairs were the most frequently used props.

(outdoor natural lighting)

4. Photography backgrounds: GO NEUTRAL..popular background FP colours are greys, ecru, taupe, natural wood and whites.

5. Do your research: Now I sound like a Science teacher, right? This may sound a little “over the top” but I devote a few hours a week to researching popular trends. After being in the antique selling business for years, I noticed that if I included items featured in Country Living magazine in a booth display, they sold. Currently, industrial vintage is HOT. Sign up for Etsy newsletters where they ‘share’ trends.

6. Critique: Swap critiques with a fellow team member or your Etsy bestie. I am SO blessed to have my best friend Anita from Rollinghillsvintage here on Etsy with me. She has been the best mentor for me as I work to improve my shop. She is honest, encouraging and knowledgeable. Both of us realize that our shops will NEVER really be perfect or done, but that they can always be better..and so can YOURS!

7. Use descriptive tags. I often create colour-based treasuries and will look for colours like "charcoal" or "mustard" rather than just grey or yellow. Include team info as a tag. This will help your team members find your items more easily too. Follow current Etsy trends for the month, and tag items appropriately. Don't forget to add "seasonal" appropriate tags.

8. Make a treasury to be in a treasury: I’m surprised when people say-thanks for putting me in your treasury-one day I’m going to make a if this is you, then let TODAY be that day. I’m about as “computer non-savvy” as they come, but luckily my daredevil nature pushes me to embrace NEW adventures. For me creating treasuries allows me to create, decorate, and explore a variety of textures and colours without making a HUGE mess like I generally make in my creations. Warning: treasury making is HIGHLY addictive.

Let’s not fool ourselves, Etsy takes a lot of HARD work, but when you make more trips to the bank..and you find your is SO rewarding. Embrace change!

Thursday, February 3, 2011



click here on the mitten close-up to connect with our lovely hostess

Northern Lodge Handmade Giveaway

You have a chance to win these wonderful Eco-friendly upcycled wool mittens from a blog giveaway being hosted by my friend at

With most of the country reeling from ice, snow and bitter cold..this will be a HOT giveaway.

Come check out the rules