Sunday, December 16, 2012

Personalized Hand Knitted Christmas Stockings

Personalized Hand Knitted Fair Isle Christmas Stockings


Featured here is another example of a wonderful Etsy Shop by the name of Annsarts
The shops owner, Ann Moody,  I have actually known for a number of years.  We share the love of quality handmade items and the love of giving handmade at the holidays.  Right now Ann's shop features her personalized hand knitted Christmas Stockings, but knitting is only one of Ann's many talents.  Ann is an accomplished knitter, quilter, and jewelry designer. She designs and makes handmade quilts, felted handbags, and pearl button jewelry.   It was her Mother who started the Christmas tradition of making personalized hand knitted stockings for everyone in their family.  So now Ann is carrying on this wonderful tradition.

Ann's Story

Crafting has been my passion for the last 25 years. I've especially enjoyed making beautiful quilts from quality quilt shop fabrics, wool felted handbags and several different styles of pearl button jewelry.

I started knitting the Christmas stockings three years ago.  I first made them for my children and grandchildren.  Then a friend suggested I open a shop on Etsy.  The rest is history. 
 My mother knitted stockings for her 5 children and all her grandchildren. We still use them to this day. I'm carrying on the tradition. I love making them. No two stockings are exactly the same. I personalize them with the name on the front and the birth year on the back. My customer can choose three main designs to be knitted into the stocking. I knit a variety of borders in between the main designs. They also choose the color for the top, heel and toe of the stocking and other colors to be used. 

The stockings measure approx 24" long and 7" wide.  Each one is unique and knitted with high quality wool yarn, hence the stockings are heirloom quality and will last for many generations to come. 


Ann is now taking orders for Christmas 2013! 

What a treasure to have for years to come!! 

You can visit Ann's Etsy Shop at this link.   

Who just might have one hanging from your mantel next Christmas!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry Christmas Banner


Well it is now officially December! did that happen so quickly!!  My Etsy Shop is humming and is hopefully well stocked with holiday items.  One item that has been really fun to make this year is this Merry Christmas Banner.

This banner is so much fun for the holidays. I can see it strung on a tree along with all the lights and vintage ornaments, tucked into the branches as shown here.  Or maybe just laid beneath the tree on a red or green tree skirt. Always looks great on a fireplace or just on the wall or hanging from a shelf along with the garland.
It is  made from heavy recycled chipboard.  Each tile measures 4" X 4.5". It is strung with 3/8" antique red ribbon. Included in the " Merry Christmas" is a vintage Santa tile that is placed after the Merry and before the Christmas. The vintage Santa design can vary. Each tile is stamped in metallic gold with a snowflake design and stars.

You can find this banner as a featured item in my Etsy shop for the holidays.  Just follow this link. Merry Christmas Banner

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale

For Cyber Monday I am having a 20% off sale in my Etsy Shop.  Just enter the coupon code CYBERMONDAY20  at checkout to receive 20% off your entire order. 

Here are just a few examples of our Christmas vinyl. 

For unto us a Child is Born

Merry and Bright

Christmas Subway Vinyl

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Recipe Tree

Old Hand Written Recipe Cards

Several weeks ago I was reading a blog post on the Etsy Blog about old typewritten recipe cards entitled Kitchen Histories  It really hit home because I have a wonderful collection of handwritten recipe cards from mid century, almost all from my mother and grandmother. They really are a written history of food through the decades.  It is amazing how different we cook in the 21st century.  Custard Pie??  Who makes homemade pie besides just a few of us?  It is fast becoming a lost art.  And there really is an art to making a delicious homemade pie!  I remember my grandmother on Sunday mornings, up very early, busy making two or three pies at a time for Sunday dinner.
These old recipe cards are becoming treasures to hold on to and keep.  Very soon, if not by now, almost no one actually takes out a card and actually hand writes a recipe.  They are bookmarked in our computers or put in a computer file.  No personal little side notes to tell us a little tweak we made to the recipe or maybe something we substituted for an ingredient. 

For a number of years now at the holidays, I have been putting up a Recipe Tree in the eating area of our kitchen.  All the recipes are my families recipes made down thru the years, some traditionally at holiday time.  The tree also includes a collection of old antique cookie and biscuit cutters and some handmade felted ornaments.  The tree skirt, which doesn't show here, is an old apron. 

My goal before taking the tree down, is to try and make one of the recipes.  Sometimes it turns out and sometimes not so much!  But it is fun and always brings back memories of family, traditions, and holidays past. 

Thanks to the Etsy Blog post I realize I really do have a treasure here to keep.  I thought I was the only one who treasured these old family snippets of the past.  Maybe you have a few tucked away somewhere in a drawer that would make interesting reading, bring back some warm and fuzzy memories, and possibly a fresh idea for dinner!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Penns Colony

Penns Colony

This is one of our favorite shows that we do throughout the year.  It is located right outside of the village of Saxonburg, PA which is also close to Pittsburgh.  It features true craftsmen in colonial costume, many of them demonstrating their craft, talking, and interacting with their customers.   Make a quick visit to their website, Penns Colony  and you can get a wonderful feel for all of the activities that make up this major Pennsylvania event every fall.

Penns Colony is a living historical colonial experience that the whole family takes part in.  The many activities include carriage rides, period entertainment, colonial games, face painting, battle reenactments, and lots of great food.  It is also a celebration of the American Craftsman and a great example of unique and one of a kind items which contribute to the Handmade Movement.  As I have said before, I think people are tired of cookie cutter items and are looking for something unique and made by hand to give as gifts and to use themselves, something that has a story behind it ,along with a real person and is American made!

Beginnings of a Wooden Spoon by Riverwood Trading

A truly unique experience!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

BlogLoveTherapy Giveaway Winner

The winner of the BlogLoveTherapy Giveaway has been announced.  Her name is Ambre Sautter of Cedar Rapids, IA.  Congratulations to Ambre!  Her frame is on its way!  A big Thank You to everyone who participated....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blog Giveaway

BlogLoveTherapy  Giveaway for September

I am sponsoring a giveaway for the first time ever!  It is on the  BlogLoveTherapy blog. 


Someone will win this photo frame "The Story of Us".  It is screen printed with cream lettering on black and has openings for three photos. Overall measurements of the frame are 16" X 8". It has two keyhole slots on the back for hanging.  The Giveaway started on Sept 10th and will go thru Sept 23rd.  

Follow this link for particulars and  to enter....Good Luck!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Etsy for September

September Wishlist

Etsy Fall Treasuries

The kids are all back in school, some color is starting to appear in the trees, and the nights are getting cooler!  Fall is just around the corner and Etsy for fall is in full swing.  Beautiful fall treasuries have been showing up for several weeks now and they really give a wonderful feel for what is available in the shops for fall and for the upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays.  September Wishlist, a treasury created by rRradionica, has some great fall gift items featured.  I love the tattered bracelet and the Oak Tree wrap shawl.  

Another treasury with fall gift ideas is Fabulous Fall Finds created by Hand Painted Petals.  Look closely and you will find that perfect pair of fingerless gloves for the upcoming season.  And I especially like the Autumn Leaves and Beads Necklace.  Very reasonable too! 

Fabulous Fall Finds

Welcome Fall

Welcome Fall is a really bright and colorful treasury created by Sweet Dreamz Designs.  Here again,  I love the crocheted Wristers and the Mini Pumpkin Quilt would be perfect addition to your seasonal home decor. 

So by the looks of these treasuries....the season has arrived!  Have a splendid fall and enjoy all this season of change has to offer!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair Photos

We had a booth at the Iowa State Fair this year in the Walnut Center building.  Every year the building is filled with all Iowa artisans all with handcrafted unique items. Due to the absolutely beautiful weather,  I spent several mornings just walking around the fairgrounds taking pictures.  The days ( there were 11 of them )  were absolutely beautiful with bright, crisp, sunlit mornings that made you think of fall....just perfect for taking pictures. Here are just a few....

Chair Gliders

The Chair Gliders ticket booth was right next  to  "The Java House", which was where I happened to be almost every morning.  The Gliders are so colorful and were usually full all day.

Beautiful flower beds abound all over the fairgrounds. And even though we have had a really hot and dry summer, the flowers were beautiful!

Food Booths

As you can see, the food was one of the main attractions!  Just about anything you would want you could find....even a wonderful fresh cup of watermelon, grapes, and cantaloupe being cut up as you watched and cups filled to the brim!  There was even a" Healthy Eating at the Fair" guide that you could pick up at the Information centers located all throughout the grounds.

Soooo good and refreshing!

 Beautiful horses all in competition.  Wow....these guys really have big feet!!

Stoneware Pottery by Val Neumann

Stoneware Pottery by Val Neumann is one of the artisans in our building at the Fair ( The Walnut Center ).  She makes the most fantastic pottery!  I keep adding to my collection every year.  Her pottery can be found at the General Store in Main Amana, IA and also here at her website

So it was a really fun two weeks at the Fair with good food ( along with coming home with a few extra pounds ), great weather, fantastic sales, and what a treat to meet up with old friends!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Large Vinyl Application

The application of a large vinyl to a wall can be a little daunting I realize.  We did one awhile back in a large fellowship room of a church.  It turned out really nice and actually went up rather smoothly.

Measuring and Taping

 Before starting any vinyl application  make sure your surface is clean and free of dust.  The second thing is to measure, measure, measure!  If you have a laser level you are set!  They are a wonderful tool and really help in getting things straight.  Measure down from the ceiling if possible and use a water based "Stabilo" pencil to mark your line.  The line can be wiped off with a damp cloth when you are finished.
Then tape your design in place.

Cutting your design into sections

With a large design it really helps to cut it into smaller sections to make it easier to work with. Tape along the top of the design.  Then cut horizontally into smaller sections.  Make sure you have all the sections taped in place to the wall on either the  top or bottom as shown in the next photo.

So now you can start to work with your smaller sections as you would with any vinyl application.   But as you can see, not having to deal with the whole design at one time really makes it go much easier and faster in the end. 

Applying the design in sections

Finished Project

Your finished project will look very professional by using this method and you will be very happy with the results!!  So get started and don't be afraid of a large vinyl!!  Home is not a is a Feeling vinyl decal can be found in our Etsy Shop  at this link.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Screen Printing Photo Frames

Frame Before Painting

This past week we have added three new photo frames to our Etsy Shop.  All three are screen printed using a cream color ink on black.

 The frames are 14" X 14" with a beveled edge and a keyhole slot in the back for hanging.  This is a new larger frame that more easily facilitates a larger saying or quote.

After the frame has been cut, sanded, and beveled, it is ready for paint.  Each one is then painted by hand and allowed to dry overnight.

Before the frame is placed under the screen for printing it is very lightly sanded and any paint removed from the back. We then go over it with a tack cloth to remove any dust particles left from sanding.  After loading the screen with ink, the frame is then placed underneath and the squeegee is drawn down over the screen forcing the ink through the design and onto the surface of the frame.

After the ink is applied the frame is then removed and placed on a drying rack to dry overnight.  After the ink is thoroughly dry we then apply a coat of a satin polycrylic varnish.

Clips and foam board are then inserted in the photo opening.

Fairytale Frame


The finished frames!
 All three frames can be found in the Frame Section of our Etsy Shop


Family Roots Frame



Once in A Lifetime Frame

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

Moroccan Lemon Chicken from the South Beach Diet

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

I have been trying out a few new recipes lately from the South Beach Diet Super Charged cook book. 
I wasn't too sure about this one but after the first bite I knew it was going to be a keeper!  It is so easy and fast to make.  But because of the South Beach Diet.....there are no carbs in this meal, just the vegies as a side.  I used two boned and tenderized chicken breasts.  Because they come already pounded and tenderized, they cook quickly....just 3-4 minutes on each side.  The spices may seem like a strange combination at first but the flavor is amazing!

2 boned and tenderized chicken breasts
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne

In a small bowl,  mix all the spices together plus finely grated zest from one half lemon.  Squeeze 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice into the spice mixture.  Then add 3 teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and stir until well blended.  Spread this mixture over both sides of the chicken breasts and place in a heated pan with a little olive oil.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.  Thats it!!  Of course if you are not trying to cut down on carbs you can add a serving of couscous or rice. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Summer Salad

Fresh Tomato Basil Mozzarella Summer Salad

Fresh Ingredients

One of the most enjoyable things about summer is being able to make great salads with the freshest ingredients!  This salad is one of our summertime favorites.   So simple and  fast to make and is a great accompaniment to that steak or hamburger right off the grill.  Just add  crusty warm bread and a glass of wine and you are set for a quick summer dinner!

Ingredients Include:

Cherry ( Grape )Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Basil chopped
Baby Bella Mushrooms
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper

Assemble all and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vinyl Wall Decal Always Kiss Me Goodnight

New Vinyl Wall Decal for Master Bedroom Decor

Master Bedroom Vinyl Decal

Here is the newest vinyl design in our Etsy Shop this week.  A classic, "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" along with the addition of the chandelier.  The chandelier has candles featured and just adds that special touch to an all time favorite. 

It is in black vinyl but can be cut in other colors and resized to fit within your space.  This would make a great starting "inspirational" piece for that total master bedroom make over, or maybe just a simple addition to easily perk up your room.  Click here to view more details on this design... Always Kiss Me Goodnight

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Family Roots Vinyl Decal

This is a brand new vinyl that I just designed using a new script font  ( new to me ).  I love the family gallery walls being created in today's home decor. In addition to being fun and decorative, they also are a great conversation starter.  Sometimes they are all current photos.   But sometimes they can be pictures taken over generations.  I kind of like the latter because I love old photos and have done some genealogy research on our family.  So a combination of current and older photos can make a nice source for conversation and the telling of family stories.  And some of those stories can be quite interesting!

This vinyl measures approx 30" X 11".  It can be re-sized however to fit within your space.  I designed it with the thought in mind of being able to tuck different size frames in and around the words, but frames can also be grouped below or even off to one side.  It is shown here in black vinyl but we have lots of other colors of vinyl to choose from.  So gather some favorite photos and let's get to work on that story telling wall!  Family Roots Vinyl Decal by Mulberry Creek on Etsy.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening.... the practice of growing food in a small space or container.  That is what I think of when someone mentions Urban Gardening.  Our yard is really not garden friendly. It is either too wet in some areas, to shady in others, or just not level enough in other areas.  So this is what we came up with.  We chose a few ( very few ) of our summer garden favorites. We love homegrown garden tomatoes, green beans and fresh herbs. 

The varieties of tomatoes we are trying this year are called Jet Star, Celebrity, and Champion.  Time will tell if any become a favorite.  Since I am kind of a history buff,  my goal for next year is to try some Heirloom varieties from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello like Brandywine and Large Red.  We visited Monticello years ago but am now planning to go back with a renewed interest in the gardens and plants.  Michelle Obama, in her White House Kitchen Garden has a whole section devoted to Thomas Jefferson's plants. 


We love fresh herbs but they are so expensive to buy so we try to include a few favorites every year.  Basil is my personal favorite along with Rosemary. Here are just a couple containers below my Studio window.  We love Rosemary Chicken on the grill.  So simple...just marinate boned chicken breasts in the juice of one lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1Tb of Emeril's Original Essence, and as much fresh Rosemary as you like.  Marinate for at least an hour in a plastic bag and put on the grill.  Emeril's Rosemary Chicken is at this link.  We like it with the couscous also. 


Herb Garden


Tomato Plants

Hope you enjoy your summer garden no matter how small it may be!!

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