Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are you turned off by seeing ads on a blog?

I periodically get emails from Google encouraging me to sign up for Google AdSense.  If I do this, I'll earn some money if people view the ads Google puts on my blog page.  Sounds good.  Seems easy.  But do you really earn any money?  I must admit that whenever I'm on a blog page or any web page for that matter, I completely ignore the ads.  If there's a button or box to click to close an ad that's blocking me from seeing the page I want, I click it and get rid of the ad.  I don't read the ad.  I just get rid of it.  I can't imagine that I'm the only one who ignores all the ads.  So would anyone actually look at ads on my blog so that I'd actually earn any money?  Or would they just be annoyed by them and stop reading my blog?

Let me know what you think?  Should I allow ads?  Or not?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Get Into the True Holiday Spirit

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  I hope you were able to spend it with family and friends and good food.  I had a lovely time hosting family and friends at my home and the food all turned out well.

As we all get wrapped up in the frenzied Black Friday shopping and holiday parties and gift wrapping, here's something that speaks to the true meaning of Christmas and is just beautiful to listen to.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Get started on your holiday shopping and visit Faithful Shepherd Catholic School's Holiday Boutique this Saturday, Nov. 23 from 9:00-3:00pm.  Over 70 vendors with everything you need to fulfill your holiday gift list.  Check out their Facebook page here.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holiday-Classic-Boutique/110158142429043

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honor Our Veterans

Today was a day we honored our veterans--all those men and women who have served in our armed forces and fought and died for our country and for others.  I may not agree with all the reasons these men and women have been sent to foreign lands and put in harms way, but we should thank them and appreciate them all the same.  And today I have one special veteran to honor--my father--who would have turned 91 today.  He served in the Army in WWII, and he passed away almost 4 years ago.  Happy Birthday Dad.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Eagan High School Holiday Craft Show November 9, 2013

It's craft show #2 of the season.  If you live in the St. Paul area, please stop by the Eagan High School Holiday Craft Show on November 9, 2013 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.  There will be over 50 vendors along with a bake sale, raffle and concessions.  Many fine crafters will be selling their work and you're sure to find something for a gift or for yourself.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloweean!

Did you know that the American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money. 

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and the short days of winter were full of worry. On Halloween, it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world. People thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. To keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

According to Harry Balzer, the chief industry analyst for the NPD Group which does market research on eating trends, about 4% of all candy consumed in this country occurs on Halloween.

If you'd like to read some fun facts on Halloween, go to http://facts.randomhistory.com/halloween-facts.html

Halloween also means the start of craft show season.  For anyone in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, my first craft show is Saturday, November 2, at Rosemount High School.  They'll have well over 100 vendors and you're sure to find something to please.

10th Annual Fall Craft Show
9 am- 4 pm Saturday, November 2nd


Hosted by Rosemount High School Choral Department

Rosemount High School
3334 142nd St W
Rosemount, MN


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tips for Good Photos

If you sell anything on-line--either your art or handmade items, vintage or collectible items or just stuff you don’t want anymore on eBay—you have to take photographs of your items.  Good photos sell your item.  Sometimes the photographs turn out beautifully with little effort on your part.  Other times, not so much.  If you’re like me, I’ve found that some things just don’t photograph that well.  I’m always looking for tips on good photography and several blogs and on-line forums have great discussions on taking good photos.  Here’s one that I thought was helpful.  It also has links to instructions on how to make your own light box.  One of these days I’ll get around to trying to build my own.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An article about the personality traits of creative people was posted in one of the Artfire.com guilds I belong to.  The title intrigued me so I clicked on the link and read it.  And I read about me!  I've never thought of myself as particularly creative even though I crochet, knit, embroider, needlepoint, cross stitch, etc.  I haven't done much independent design and I certainly can't draw or paint or sculpt.  So I've always thought people who did those sorts of things were the creative ones, and I was just kind of crafty.  Not imaginative and creative like those people.  But after reading this article, I think maybe I am creative!  Check it out and see if you have some paradoxical personality traits.

New Etsy listings: 


Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Collectibles Shop on Bonanza.com

I've always liked collecting things and I have a particular weakness for dishes, glassware, and pottery.  I really like dishes.  My favorites are Fiestaware and all Homer Laughlin china, Fire King, Anchor Hocking, Pyrex, and milk glass.  It's all so very pretty.  But it also takes  up a lot of space.   And my house is getting really full.  So I've started a new store on Bonanza.com that includes my handmade items and some collectibles.  You can see it here:  http://www.bonanza.com/booths/brendasgeneralstore.  So far I've listed a really pretty 18" Revlon doll, a milk glass bowl and a couple of other things.

If you've never looked at Bonanza.com, I highly recommend it.  It's very similar to eBay.  You can find handmade items, vintage, collectibles, jewelry, and pretty much everything.  Some items are a fixed price, and others are auction style.  You'll have a lot of fun browsing.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ladder Yarn Scarf

Summer is flying by.  It's hard to believe the 4th of July is over already! The weather in Minnesota has turned hot and humid so our big landscaping project is going to get put on hold until it cools off a little.  But it gives me more time to knit and crochet!

Here's my latest creation--a long white scarf made with ladder yarn with long fringe added.  I think it will make a really nice summer fashion accessory.  It's light as a feather, so it won't make you hot.  See it on my Artfire and Etsy stores.

This is the first scarf I've made out of ladder yarn.  I've made a lot of necklaces out of ladder yarn and I've always wanted to try a scarf but just hadn't gotten to it yet.  I didn't have a pattern, so I just made one up.  I used size 13 knitting needles and just did garter stitch for every row until I was almost out of yarn (I had to remember to save some for the fringe!).  I did 25 stitches and it came out to approximately 4" wide and 63" long.  The fringe is approximately 8" long.  You can do however many stitches you want to get the width you're looking for.  I think a wider scarf would also be pretty, but you'd need 2 balls of yarn.  A bigger needle size might also give it a nice look.

Scarves are pretty easy to make with  ladder yarn, but you do have to be careful that you get your needle in the stitch correctly and don't accidentally stick it in the middle of the ladder (easy to do if you're not paying attention or are getting sleepy!).

I think I'm going to try some more scarves and then maybe a shawl.  Or maybe some more necklaces in some different styles.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I didn't realize how long it has actually been since I posted anything.  It's amazing how fast time really goes and how much happens in a few short months.  I kept meaning to post, but just never got to it.  Minnesota's winter dragged on with cold, snow and slippery conditions.  It was still snowing at the beginning of May!  We bought an investment property, did a lot of painting and such and moved our college-aged son into it (a really big change and new phase of life).  He landed a summer job with the city (hallelujah!) after a long stretch of unemployment. All 3 vehicles needed repairs within the same 3 week period for a cost of a few thousand dollars.  The day job has been insanely busy and everything that could go wrong, did.  Usually I'm a pretty upbeat person and life has really been pretty good, but it really did seem like a long, tough winter. 

Instead of working on my Etsy and Artfire shops, I spent the winter knitting some custom ordered afghans.  I tried a couple new patterns/stitches, and they turned out really well even though they took a lot of time.  Although the actual stitches weren't hard, I was making these afghans larger than normal, so it took me awhile to figure out how many stitches to cast on to get the width I wanted (math was never my strong point).  So--there was a lot of trial and error but I learned a lot.

I also did a few items to put in my sister's consignment shop in Ft. Scott, KS called Little Luxuries.   If you live in that area, check it out.  She sells antiques and collectibles too.

I've been making some of the headbands and hats with flowers for babies and they sell quite well at craft shows.  I've listed them in a Bonanza.com shop http://www.bonanza.com/booths/BrendasCraftStore because I feel they're not totally handmade and Etsy and Artfire are supposed to be for handmade goods.  They're more like taking parts and reassembling them into something different.  Taking a skein of yarn and creating an afghan or a sweater is what I think of as handmade. I've been following a lot of forum conversations about how cheap mass produced items are starting to take over eBay and Etsy, and it seems to be true.  It seems like everything I look at on eBay is coming from China or Hong Kong. Whatever happened to the average person just trying to clean out their house and sell their stuff?  That's really what I want to buy--not some cheap crap from China.  And Etsy started out as a site for artists and crafters doing handmade goods to sell their wares.  Now there are tons of stores selling mass produced items and trying to pass them off as handmade.  I'd like to make a plea to everyone to support those who truly make their own items and ignore the cheap mass produced stuff.  You'll get a much better product in the end even if it costs a little more.

I'm going to try and spend the next few months making small items to list on Etsy and Artfire.  And I also promised my son I'd make him a tshirt quilt.  I've never done any quilting, so I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.  I'll try and post some directions or things I learn as I go along.  Wish me luck!

I'll leave you with a couple of thoughts about work and life.  Quite awhile ago I read a good article on what makes great employees.  My workplace has had a lot of personnel changes lately, and I thought some of the points in the article were very appropriate for all aspects of life, not just work.  The article stated that great employees ignore job descriptions and think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities and do whatever it takes to get the job done (no saying "That's not my job.")  It also stated that great employees follow processes, but remarkable employees find ways to make the processes better.