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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vintage Christmas Inspiration

I just discovered this fabulous blog, called Everyday Beauty  via Pinterest, when I was looking for some vintage Christmas inspiration. 
Andrea Singerella, designs vintage style jewelry and gorgeous book marks, and she made this fabulous vintage style Christmas wreath. So pretty! Her blog is a delight for the eyes!


                 I love the soft pastel colors that she used in her wreath.

               Check out her beautiful handmade book marks ......scrumptious!




 






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Monday, November 28, 2011

All that Glistens is not Gold!

This past weekend, we drove into the city to do a little Christmas shopping....I am almost done as i have shopped on Etsy, and at some local art and craft shows, and have managed to buy most of my gifts handmade this year! However, I still had to pick up a couple of other items, as well I needed to  shop for something to wear to the husbands company Christmas party. I already had a classic little black dress, so I just needed a little something to go with it. I was in the BAY...which is one of our Canadian department stores, and there were sales everywhere!  I am thinking "Great...I will surely find something amongst all the racks of gorgeous clothing, here!". Within minutes, I found this sweet light weight soft gold cardigan, which will go perfectly with my dress at home. Luckily the rack that holds all of the pretty gold sweaters, says 40% OFF Bianca Nygard FALL and HOLIDAY ... perfect!



                                            Just imagine this sweater, above...only in gold.

  I try it on, it fits, and then comes the hard part....standing in line and paying. So there are 3 cashiers on duty, but the line is at a standstill, so I wait, and wait, and finally get to the desk, the cashier rings it up...and wait a sec..."Is the sweater not on sale?"...I ask. " No"...says the clerk. OK...am I going mad, or did I read the sign wrong? So I pay full price for the sweater, and then head back to the rack thinking, I am a little crazy here! I check the rack.. the rack with the exact same sweaters says - 40% OFF Bianca Nygard FALL and HOLIDAY.    OK, I am not losing my mind, and this gold sweater looks pretty darn Holidayish to me! So I head back to another cashier, stand in line again, and explain my situation.  She says she will go and check, which she does and then returns, and tells me that she is not sure, the sign is confusing. She then scans the tag into the system, and explains to me that no, it is not on sale, it is a specially priced item, and items whose price tags end in  .99, are not part of the sale. I am getting pretty mad, now, but I keep my cool, and suggest to her that perhaps the sign should be taken down, or the sweaters removed as it is very misleading for the customer. "Well that is not my department, I have no control over the signing." She tells me. Oh, Brother...REALLY!!! She continues to tell me to go and speak with a manager if I have a concern. So I ask her, where would I find a manager...and she tells me" Go look in the cosmetic department...there is an event on there, and you should find them all hanging about that area. "
OK...this is  good customer service? She could have called a manager for me, but no,  I have to go and look for one! More wasted time...but I am not letting this go because I feel it is wrong. I managed to track down a manager in cosmetics, and repeated the scenario to her. I told her that I would still take this sweater,  and that my concern is that the signage is very confusing for the consumer.  The manager explained that I am not the first customer to make a complaint regarding the signage issue, and that she will pass on my concern.    So I am thinking, "WELL PERHAPS YOUR COMPANY SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!" But I politely thank her and think to myself "OK..I have had enough I'm outa here!"  So not only did this store waste over half an hour of my time, the customer service is deplorable! 
Nuff said.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday SALE!

Starting this Friday, Nov. 25 at 8:00am MST (mountain standard time),  as readers of my blog and fans of my Facebook Page,  you will be able to receive 15% off  all items in my Etsy Shop!  Simply enter the coupon code: BLACKFRIDAYBLOG, during the checkout process. The sale will continue until 6:00pm MST (mountain standard time), on Monday Nov. 28th.
Happy Shopping!








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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Snowflake and Pearls

This is one of my favorite creations....and its looking for a good home! 

Snowflake and Pearls, is a long assemblage necklace that I designed, using a fabulous  very sparkly, vintage rhinestone brooch, some pearl buttons from days gone by, vintage copper and brass findings and chain, some frosted glass from a chandelier, and a small vintage key from my travels in England.


Now listed in my Etsy shop 
I am getting ready for the Black Friday Etsy Sale. Tomorrow I will post the secret coupon code which will enable you to get 15% off any item in my shop, from Friday, Nov. 25 until Monday Nov. 28!



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Stay tuned

I had lots of fun at the Redwood Meadows craft sale on the weekend, and although it was not quite as busy as I would have liked to to be, I did manage to sell several items to wonderful  new owners! I still have a few pieces left, which is great news for all of you, as I am spending the next few days listing items in my Etsy shop, and preparing for my Black Friday weekend sale. I will have 10 % off everything in my shop from this Friday Nov. 25- Monday Nov. 28. However for you, my loyal readers...you will have the opportunity to get 15 % off! Stay tuned for the special coupon code that I will give you later this week, that will enable you to get in on that secret  discount! 
As for now...here is one of those pieces that I just listed in my shop!



Mom...the Chauffeur-  blue green sparkle brass vintage chauffeur tag skeleton key necklace
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When I found this vintage Chauffeur ID tag, I knew that it would make a fabulous Christmas gift for one of the many Moms that spend their time chauffeuring their kids around! So in honor of Mom, I added some bling and sparkle...but not too much that she could not wear it with her everyday jeans and T-shirt! The sparkly bits consist of modern cut glass and Swarovski crystals. The tag is from British Columbia, Canada, and has the year 1968 engraved on it. I also added chrysoprase and labrodorite stones. Apparently Labradorite is a protective and grounding stone that provides relief from stress...and what Mom doesn't have a bit of stress in her life! As for the stone chrysoprase, it is said to help one to focus, and see problems clearly.... again ....perfect for Moms!
I also added vintage brass buttons including one that is from the Royal Military College of Canada, a vintage forest green tassel, and a vintage skeleton key from England.





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Friday, November 18, 2011

A little secret.........

Thanks to my pals for all your lovely comments on my last post regarding some of my new necklaces. Yes, Nancy....some of those designs do feature a few of those vintage finds from last weekends shopping spree out west! Lin....yes, I will be listing remaining items from this weekends show on Etsy, next week. Here is a little secret I am going to let you in on...for Black Friday, I will be offering 10% off every item in my shop, HOWEVER....if you read my blog, you will be able to get 15% off, every Hot Rocks design in my Etsy store! This is just a heads up, my sale will start next Friday, and run through Monday. More details, and a special secret discount coupon code for my readers to follow, so stay tuned!
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here are some of my brand new, vintage creations making their debut at the Redwood Meadows show this weekend! 100% handmade and one of a kind!










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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade low sugar Cranberry Sauce

Just 2 more days, until my next big craft show, so as usual I am swamped with items on my "To Do" list! This show runs Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, so it is another big show, but my last of the season. So as I will be quite busy over the next several days, I thought I would share my fabulous Cranberry Sauce recipe with you.
I know that American Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for the rest of us....well Christmas is not far off either, so print it off and save it for your turkey dinner feast. We Canadians, celebrated Thanksgiving a month ago, and as usual I bought my canned cranberry sauce to go with our turkey. Well...a couple of days before Thanksgiving, I took out that can and read the nutrient information, and was shocked at how much sugar was actually in a serving of cranberry sauce! So, being a diabetic, this was concerning....there  must be a better option. So I made my own!
 So you are probably thinking...oh yeah...like I have time for that! Well it is so super quick to do, and you can make it a day or two ahead and put in your refrigerator until the big day.  The canned whole cranberry sauce, Ocean Spray, that I used to buy, has about 22 grams of sugar per serving (1/4 cup), and 110 calories.  According to my information, this recipe  has 69 calories, and 12 grams of sugar...almost half as much!  It tastes great too!


Cranberry Sauce 
3 1/2 Cups of fresh cranberries
1 Cup of water
1/4 Cup of Organic Agave Syrup
Orange zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Put all the ingredients in a pot, and cook over medium heat for 30-45 minutes. Cook until thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Stir occasionally. Watch it carefully, you don't want it to burn!
Cool before serving...it is hot!
 *Makes 1 and 1/4 Cups of sauce.





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Monday, November 14, 2011

Time Away

I just got back from 4 days away, at our seaside home, on Vancouver Island.  We encountered a wind storm, on the day we arrived, but the rest of our weekend was super. We did some antiquing in a few of the quaint little seaside villages and towns, where I discovered some great vintage finds to add to future jewelry designs. I always find it exciting to get my hands on  some interesting little object that I can add to a necklace or bracelet! We also went for a walk through the forest and down to the beach where we  saw a couple of sea lions swimming about in the water.

 We drove to the town of Ladysmith (Did you know that Pamela Anderson was born there!) There was already Christmas decorations up outside city hall! I loved the colors of  these beautiful trees!

There are still flowers blooming in my garden at my Vancouver Island home, and there are still leaves on the trees. It was all beautiful, fun and very relaxing!


However, after a fabulous weekend away it was time to come home and get back to reality! Unfortunately, we flew back home today, welcomed by blowing snow and frigid temperatures.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Handmade or Mass Produced?



I have been preparing for the next show coming up, which is the  Kananaskis  Country Christmas, taking place in Redwood Meadows, on November 19th and 20th. I always enjoy doing this show because it is local...right in my backyard, so to speak!  I enjoy seeing those familiar faces of friends, and acquaintances from the area I live in, as well as the city folk who travel to come out and enjoy a day in the country.
 The one thing about this show that is different from some of the other shows that I do, is the fact that the shows organizers allow booths consisting of local artists and artisans, like myself,  as well as small  local retail shop owners, and the Tupperware, Arbonne and Silpada sellers. For the handful of local potters, jewelry designers, and local crafts people that set up booths at this show, we have to compete with local retailers, who are selling  imported gift ware, jewelry, and knitted hats and scarves from Indonesia! Can we compete with their prices.... in one word.... no.
 I would like to think that people that are attending these shows are there to support their friendly neighborhood artisan...but I don't think that is always the case. Quite often the cheapest price tag wins. Don't get me wrong, I love our local retail shops, but they have a chance to sell their goods, all year long at their brick and morter stores. Most artists only do a handful of shows a year, and the holiday season is our biggest selling time.  The shopper, comes to these shows with a only a certain amount of money in their pockets to spend...so the competition is very tough!
 So, this season, when you are attending your local arts and crafts Christmas shows, please take the time to ASK if the seller made that item themselves........or is it a mass produced, imported item. Then you...the buyer can make an informed decision where you want your hard earned money to go to. Pin It

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jack Frost

Jack Frost came to play......

 .... and left pretty patterns on my balcony glass!


  Swirling, frosty, cold and silvery white.

                        
                          Winter has arrived!




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Saturday, November 5, 2011

I have recently started my Christmas shopping! This year I have made a conscious effort to support artists and artisans with my Christmas budget, rather than all the big box stores.
Last weekend at The Beyond Artisan Marketplace, I bought several fabulous, hand crafted Christmas gifts, from local artists...I cannot mention them here, just in case the recipients are reading this! I also have been scouring Etsy, and I  have also purchased some absolutely gorgeous items from some extremely talented artists....and I am still shopping. It does take a little bit of time to search Etsy, or other online shops for that perfect gift, however the effort is so worthwhile, as is many cases you are getting a unique item, often one of a kind, sometimes recycled or upcyclaed...good for the environment, and the best part....you can shop from the comfort of your home. However, you have to start your online shopping soon, because you must account for shipping time...and time is ticking away!
Today, I am helping you out by sharing with you some of my favorite amazing handcrafted items on Etsy, that can get you started on your Christmas shopping. Happy Shopping!

From ceeglass, Recycled glass napkin rings

From ileaiye- Ponch Cape

The Atomic Apple




Retro Red Cupcake Stand by Gracefilledhands

Upcycled Dictionary Page Art by BlackBaroque






 

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

I just love vintage portraits of women and children. I find them beautiful, innocent and ethereal ...... yet mysterious. I am always drawn to images on postcards, or old photographs portraying women or children from way back when, and wonder...... who were these people?  Today, I am sharing some that I recently discovered, As well as some from my personal collection. Enjoy!



Love her jewels!



This is one of my favorites. I have her photo in a frame, and take her to my shows as one of my props. I wish I knew who she was.
How cute are these girls!
Isn't she adorable!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recovering!

I think I am finally getting back to some form of normality after this past weekends show. It was a very successful show for me, with lots of familiar faces returning to purchase some more Hot Rocks! Thank you to all who came out, and for your loyal support! I was fortunate to have some fun and crazy neighbors, who kept the atmosphere light hearted , even during those long slow times. The gals from Buckles and Beads were a total riot!  Now I have to get back to the studio to build my stock back up for my next Christmas show in  less than 3 weeks time. 





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