Friday, December 31, 2010

Best Wishes for a Happy and Blessed New Year!!


Best wishes for a Happy and Blessed New Year!!!  Many people look back on the year we are about to leave behind, some with regret.  I prefer to look ahead to the New Year and the things that might come to pass.  God is awesome to give us a new year to start new beginnings!

Never regret your past, you can not go back and change it.  However, if you approach it as a learning session, then you can move forward into the new year with renewed hope for a brighter future.  We can learn from our mistakes of the past and make the future brighter.  :-)

The ending of this year in Central Illinois is engulfed in an unusually warm spell.  We are pushing close to 60 degrees as I write this and expect to hit the low 60s before the day is over.  2010 is going out with a bit of a bang but not in fireworks.  We are having thunderstorms and are under a tornado watch until 7pm.

Because it is so warm I intend to fix a steak and baked potatoes on the grill for supper.  The grill sits on a covered porch so I am not concerned about the rain and it might not even be raining by the time I fix supper.

I had not intended to stay up until midnight tonight but have since changed my mind.  So while at the store today I bought some lil' wieners and some crescent roll dough and will make "pigs in a blanket" as a midnight snack as we ring in the new year and celebrate that wonderful gift from God.

I have had some losses this past year, and some negative things happen,,, but over all I have been blessed.  I have a roof over my head and food on my table.  I have three wonderful pets, Rusty (dog), Missy (oldest cat) and Faxon ( younger cat and new addition to my family this year).  I have Frank in my life.  Yes we have had times of difficulties, but I still count him as a blessing.  I love him with all my heart and I don't think there will ever be anything that could change that.  I thank God for bringing him into my life.  It is my joy and my pleasure to take care of him and help him with his health struggles as he has a serious heart condition.

God obviously had a plan for bringing us together and I must always remember that when things get stressful, as they do sometimes.  God filled my heart with love for Frank.  Satan might try to destroy it,,, but he can not destroy what God put together.

My goals for next year,,,,  always appreciate the ones I love,  appreciate the simple things in life for sometimes the smallest things bring the greatest pleasures.  Continue to seek God first in all I do, for without Him, I can do nothing and I am nothing.

Happy New Year everyone,,,,, until next year,,,,, Blessings!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where has all the snow gone??


Last night when I went to bed, it was raining or drizzling on and off and the temperature was beginning to rise.

When I woke up this morning the temperature is in the mid 40s and still climbing.  I went outside to take the dog out and almost all of the 7 inches of snowfall from Christmas day, along with the snow banks that were created from plowing and shoveling were gone!!  Left in its place,,, a muddy mess, LOL.

It just goes to show you,,, for all the knowledge we have on this earth we still can not control the weather.  It shows me God is still in control!!  Here it is December 30th and we are having a heat wave for this time of year.  They are predicting temperatures in the 60s tomorrow, New Years Eve.  Can you imagine??

I remember praying for a White Christmas this year and God answered my prayers with 7 inches of the white stuff Christmas morning.  Guess I should have put a limit on how much of the white stuff I wanted, LOL.  But God is good, He does listen and He does answer prayers to those who faithfully expect an answer and wait on Him for it.

On New Years Eve day we are suppose to hit the low 60s.  Can you imagine?  It will be raining on and off but I should be able to get out and take care of some outdoor work that needs tending too.  God is again, answering prayer.  I prayed for a warm up to take care of those things and not have to suffer through the bitter cold temperatures to do it.  God is good, all the time!!

I have had people ask me, when they have heard me pray,  "how can you pray with such confidence?"  How can I not pray with confidence?  If I don't have confidence God will answer my prayer then why bother praying?  How many times does God have to answer prayer before you believe He is really answering it?  He does not have to prove himself to us,, we have to prove ourselves to Him!!  The best way to do that is to pray with confidence He will answer you.  With faith!

Jesus tells us, "whatsoever you ask for in my name in faith, I will give you."  Faith and confidence are the key words.  You must have total and complete faith.  Yes, sometimes that is easier said than done,,, but it can be done.  Make friends with your bible.  Study God's word,,, learn His promises to His people and your faith will grow.  Trust in God and lean on Him.

Until next time,,,, I am pondering what I will be praying for next!!
Be blessed!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Can America Survive??


I have been reading a book called "Can America Survive" by Pastor John Hagee.  If you have ever watched evangelists on TV you have probably seen him at one point or another.  He is a dynamic preacher in my opinion.  I have never heard him preach an untruth, so I feel very comfortable watching him and knowing what he has said is true.

This book is filled with prophetic signs of the end times,,, current events happening today and what the future holds for this country and this world.  I am about 2/3s through the book now and I can tell you, if you were unaware of certain current events this is definitely a wake up call.  Even down to some of the tiniest details you might not think of.

#8 in the list of prophetic signs that we are in the end times is this:  "Days of Deception".  Pastor Hagee talks about how we will be deceived and deceive each other.  We will lie to each other and excuse it off as it is "no big deal" and "perfectly acceptable to do."  He bases this on the following scripture:  Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.  Jeremiah 9:5

I don't think there is a sole today who doesn't know someone who lets lies roll from their tongues as easy as they say their own names.  Whether big or small lies it has become acceptable and common practice today.

This particular portion of the book has really hit home to me.  Actually it all has but this one because of the troubles I am currently going through with Frank and went through with my ex husband.  Both lie so easily it is downright scary to me.  But I have seen it in other people too.  I was brought up different than that.  I still go back to those basic values I was taught as a child.  "Your word is your bond".  Actually, that originated in the bible too, when we are told, "let your yes be yes and your no be no".

Pastor Hagee has 10 prophetic signs in this book and as I am reading them I can see where each one either has already come to pass or is in the process.  This book is filled with doom and gloom but it is also filled with the wonderful, miraculous promises of God for those who believe.  I recommend you read this book.  For those of you who already believe in the saving powers of Jesus this will confirm your beliefs and give you courage to endure the very trying days ahead.  For those of you who do not believe,,, you need your salvation and you need it now.  This book will show you why.

You can order this book on either Pastor Hagee's web site,,,  or  at  you can also probably rent a copy at your local library.  It is most definitely worth the read.  It will give you an education like none other.

Until next time,,,,,,, blessings!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When someone betrays your trust and love,,,,

How do you feel when someone you really care for and love, betrays that trust and love?  How do you react?  Do you feel hurt, angry, or both?  Are you ready to tell them where to go, or do you forgive?  If you forgive, how many times are you willing to forgive before you say enough is enough?

Some people I know expect forgiveness over and over again.  Its like they think they can say I am sorry, that makes everything OK and they go right back to doing the same thing again.

Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."  Think about that a minute,,,,, "go and sin no more".  To me that means, OK, I forgive you this time,,,, but don't do it again.  So, how many times do you forgive?  Especially after a deep trust is broken.  And if the same "sins" have happened more than once, when do you draw the line?

To add insult to injury, some people will never take responsibility for their actions therefore never expressing remorse.  "Its your fault or someone else's fault for what they did."  Ummm, NO, they are not the ones that did it.  No one held a gun to your head and tell you to lie or cheat or whatever it was you did to break that trust.  Take responsibility for your actions!

What really amazes me about people who behave like this is usually at some point they have claimed that someone had done it to them before.  Most profess they would never do that to another because they know how much it hurts.  All little lies to get you to trust them.  They have no intentions on standing on their word.

It surprises me how many people today do not believe in the old adage, "your word is your bond".  I guess maybe I should not be surprised the way the world is going.  But I would think more people in my own generation would still feel that way.  We were generally all raised with a good sense of values and morals.  But I have encountered more and more people from my generation who are so self-centered, selfish, uncaring, lying and morally dead its down right scary.

I actually had someone tell me once, "I can tell you anything, or promise you anything today because tomorrow I might change my mind".  And this person literally saw nothing wrong in that statement!  I can only imagine what would drive a person to be like this,,,,,, no that's wrong, I can not imagine that!!

All I can say is I believe the majority of these people may have their fun and games now but they will see a time in their lives when they are lonely, perhaps in need of help,, and no one will be there because they have hurt everyone they have come in contact with.  Once a trust is broken it is very hard to rebuild it or might be impossible.  And if those that loved them and were hurt by them get angry enough there is always the possibility they might try to hurt them back.  That is not a risk I would want to take!!

Trust is not automatic, it is earned.  When its broken, you will need to work much harder to regain that trust,,,, if you can.

Well that's my thoughts for today folks!!
Until next time,,,,,, blessings!

Monday, December 27, 2010

What do you do when someone lies to you??


This question has been on my mind for some time now.  What do you do when someone lies to you?

So, you've caught someone you care about lying to you.  Looked you straight in the eye and told you a bold face lie.  Doesn't matter how big or small it is, a lie is a lie.  What do you do?

I used to be the type that was very forgiving.  It hurt a lot to know the person lied to me, but I would let it go and forgive.  I would carry the pain in my heart for a long time but would never say anything.  Then my ex husband happened.  He was a man that told so many lies he believed them to be the truth.  He was good at it too.  But he would still get caught eventually if not immediately.  Then more lies to get out of the first lies he told.  It was never ending.

Now I find I am becoming a person who when lied to will get even at some point.  It still hurts a lot when someone lies to me.  And sometimes I don't say anything right a way,,, but its there in my mind and I don't let go any more.  I was never a vengeful person, after all, the bible tells us that vengeance is the Lord's.  I always lived by that, until nearly 9 years of a lying, cheating, abusive husband.  I've changed.

I still don't understand why people think they can get away with lies and never get caught.  Is it because sometimes we know about the lie and just don't say anything, so they think they got away with it?  Or are they that arrogant and stupid?

I am a firm believe in being totally honest.  Even if being honest might hurt me.  I can get over the honest hurt much faster than I can a lie.  Lying promotes distrust, hurt and anger.  All negative emotions that don't go away easily.  Lying destroys relationships.  Whether they be an intimate relationship, friends, relatives or whatever.  Each person who knows someone has some sort of relationship with them.

Recently I have caught a lady I know on facebook in two lies, in her posts.  Once she realized she was caught she removed the posts but the damage is done.  She has lost trust from those who caught the lies.  So what did it gain her by lying?  She has proven out that she is not a trust worthy person.  She is labeled a liar and a drama queen by those who know her.  She is laughed at for her stupidity.  Most of all, like the little boy who cried wolf, no one will believe a word she says now.

My parents always taught me that your word is your bond.  Always deal with people honestly and even if you are the poorest person in the world you will always have have your dignity which is worth more than money could ever buy.  I have always tried to live by that. 

But getting back to my original question.   What do you do when someone lies to you?  How do you feel?  How do you handle it?  How does it effect your relationship with that person?  Do you ever go around pretending you don't know, yet in your mind you are thinking of a way to get even or to bring the lie to light?  I seem to do that more and more lately.  I hold a lot of stuff in until I am ready to make my move.  I just don't let someone get away with it forever.  I will at some point confront that person or get even.  I don't much like feeling this way,,, but with all the lies I have been told,,, yes, its hardened my heart,,, at least in this department.  I absolutely hate liars!!  And I ALWAYS find out about the lies at some point.

So, give me your opinions,,,, what do you do when someone lies to you??

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It was a White Christmas indeed,,,


I trust you all had a great Christmas.  Ours was wonderful except for ALL the snow I had to shovel.  Don't get me wrong, I loved having a white one,,, but the shoveling is getting really hard on me with the fibromyalgia.  I woke up to about 7 inches of snow, which took me a while to shovel us out.  I did half of it then had to take a break for about an hour and went out and finished the job.

We had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed having company over.  The greatest joy was watching my pets.  I have a dog, Rusty and two cats, Missy and Faxon.  This was Faxon's first Christmas in his forever home with us.  He was so excited and I am sure didn't really understand why but he knew it was a special day.  I bought Rusty a bag of pig ears which is a special treat to him.  He does not get them as often because they are so expensive now a days.  So he was thrilled!  Both cats got cat nip toys.  Faxon got so high on the cat nip he started acting really silly,,, running around and then thinking he was a bird jumping on and over everything.  He ran and jumped so much he wore himself out and then had to take a long nap, LOL.

Somewhere between 18 and 20 Missy is an old girl now.  She did not get quite as excited as Faxon but seemed to have a pretty good day anyway.  It was just a fun day.  :-)

Last night I took Rusty for his usual nightly walk and took the camera with me.  Below are a couple of night pictures of the snow.

Until next time,,,,,, blessings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Its gonna be a White Christmas,,,


I woke up very early this morning with a coughing fit and rather than keep Frank awake I decided to get up.  I am sure to need a nap sometime today, but that's OK.

I had expected to already find it snowing on this Christmas eve day,, but alas it is not started yet.  They are calling for around 4 inches of the fluffy white stuff between today and tomorrow, so we will indeed have a White Christmas this year.  Having grown up in NY state where we always seemed to have snow for the holidays this will make it even more festive for me.  For several years we have not seen snow during the holidays and it just did not seem the same.

Yesterday, I was quite busy in the kitchen most of the day.  I have already started prep work for our big dinner tomorrow.  Trying to get as much done as possible before hand so I do not have to work as hard on Christmas Day and can enjoy the holiday with everyone else.

I baked my squash, and sweet potatoes so I only have to heat them up tomorrow.  I made my cabbage salad and hard boiled eggs.  I did some other prep work in the kitchen and also managed to throw in a load of laundry.  Today, I will mix my stuffing, bake pies and bread and fix up the deviled eggs.  I'll throw another load of laundry in as well.  And I need to remember to change the light bulb that burned out in the dining room, LOL.

I am making a snack tray or relish tray as we always called it, of, celery, carrots, radishes, pickles, olives, summer sausage and cheese.  Still so much work to do as I plan on having a lot of food this year.  We are only having one dinner guest, possibly two,,, but I want the left overs, LOL.  There should be enough for us and our dinner guest to take some home.  No cooking for me until after New Years!!

I am going to roast a turkey breast and a spiral cut ham on the grill tomorrow.  We'll have mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, squash, green bean casserole, beets, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, relish tray, cabbage salad, home made bread and two kinds of pie.  No one should go hungry, LOL.  Lots of food but yet nothing fancy.  Just a relaxing time together.  My kind of day.  :-)

Tomorrow is the time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.  I give thanks to God for giving us Jesus to live and die for us so that we might be saved from our sins.  I hope you too will take the time tomorrow from your festivities to remember what we are actually celebrating.  It is not the gifts, or even the feast on the table, but the birth, life, death, Resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Lord of Lord, King of Kings!  Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!!  Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Are you ready???

I suppose when you first saw this title you might be thinking, this must be about being ready for the Christmas holiday as it is just a few short days away now.  Even though I am not ready for the holiday yet,,, that is not what I had in mind.

Are you ready for the second coming of Christ??  So many people are predicting that the time is drawing near for Christ's rapture of His church.  But the bible says that no one except the Father in heaven knows when that will be, not even the angels know.  Stop trying to predict and just be ready.  The bible also says there will be signs and if we see these signs then we will know the time is drawing near.  But in God's mind,,,, what is near??  In other parts of the bible it says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day to God.  In other words,,, God does not measure time as we do.

No where that I have found in the bible does it say, when you see these signs then in 30 days, a year or whatever time frame we associate by, will the second coming happen.  People have been predicting the end times for centuries.  And people have been wrong.  We are not to know exactly when the rapture will occur, we are just to be ready.  Are you ready?

Constantine waited till the 11th hour so to speak to be baptised into the church.  He wanted to live his life his way first.  Then when he was dying he would give what few minutes were left of his life to God.  I don't really think this was a smart move.  What would have happened had he ran out of time?  You should always be ready,,, are you ready?  If we were to know the exact time then we would live our lives like Constantine did and wait till the last minute to draw nearer to God.  This would not be pleasing to God and I believe unacceptable.  Don't throw your heavenly blessings away!  Get right with God now and be ready!

Some of us will not live to see the actual rapture of the church.  We will have already passed from this earthly life.  Are you ready for either to happen?

To be right with God, you must except Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  You must confess your sins to Him and believe He died on the cross for the remissions of those sins.  You are saved by Grace through Faith.  Then you must live your life as He commanded.  "Once saved, always saved" is a lie.  Jesus tells us in the bible that on judgement day he will call up His followers, He will separate the goats from the sheep and the goats will be cast into the fires of hell.

What are the goats?  The goats are those who claimed to follow Jesus but did not live the life he commanded.  For example, walking around and saying "I am a Christian" but then turning your back on a needy person, hating someone, intentionally sinning believing you are saved anyway so it doesn't matter are all things that make you a goat rather than a sheep.  Sheep follow their shepherd, goats wander off and do their own thing. 

We are all sinners and we all make mistakes,,, but if you recognize your sins and repent and make every effort to not do it again, then you are living the way God wants you to.  Our values come from these basic principles.  "Love your neighbor as yourself", "do unto others as you would have them do unto you",  "love even your enemy",, "forgive others their mistakes/sins because you also need forgiving for yours".

I remember a time in our nation when folks really strived to have a good sense of values.  They were considerate of each other.  They helped each other in times of trouble.  In short they followed these basic commands.  What happened?  Society as a whole became very selfish and self-centered.  Values were lost as greed took over.  Greed is not an emotion of God, it comes from Satan.  Wake up America!!  "Seek ye the old ways and take the old paths which are tried and true".  Get back to your roots of a Godly nation! 

"Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord"!  What does that mean?  It means when God came first in our lives our nation was blessed.  The economy was good. The nation was strong.  And truthfully, I believe people, in general, were much happier.  I know I enjoyed visiting with my neighbors and sharing in each other's lives rather than fearing them or fighting with them which happens so much today.

I will not predict when the second coming will be here like so many try to.  I don't know if people are right about 12/12/2012 or not.  It is not for me to decide.  But I can tell you, whenever it is time for me to meet the Heavenly Father I am ready...  Are you ready???

Until next time,,,,, blessings!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Amish in Florida???

Greetings everyone!!

Many people know I have a deep interest in the Amish.  I admire and respect their way of life and faith beliefs.  In many ways I would like to live like them and try to on some levels.

But did you know there are Amish in Florida?  So many times I have heard people say, "I have never heard of Amish living in Florida, you are nuts!!"  To be honest, until recently I did not know there were Amish in Florida and not only that, they have been there since around the 1920s.  These Amish along with their Mennonite friends and family have a paper called the Pinecraft Pauper. 

Ms. Sherry Gore is the editor.  You can find Sherry on facebook.  What a charming woman!  Well Sherry is offering a contest through another blog that I read on a regular basis called, "Amish America" a free subscription to the Pinecraft Pauper.  Just follow this ling to go to that blog and get the information.  While there say hello to Erik who writes the blog and tell him, Alice sent ya! LOL

Hope you enjoy reading about the Amish and Mennonites as much as I do and you enjoy Erik's blog.  Browse around while you are there.  You might find quite a bit that peaks your interest including a state guide to the Amish.

Until next time,,,,, blessings

Monday, December 20, 2010

A quick note,,,,,


I have to keep this short as I am getting ready to head out the door.  Busy day today.  First, lunch with the girls from the old domestic violence program.  This is something we do for ourselves once a week and it is quite enjoyable.  Then to court, on a 10 year old work comp case of mine.  Its a long story that I will tell you about some day.  Then I need to drop a package off to the post office for Frank and on to the grocery store.

It has already started snowing and the forecast is calling for freezing rain tonight.  So I want to go ahead and get the groceries and the food in for Christmas dinner in case the roads are too slick tomorrow.

I am still fighting the flu/sinus infection or whatever it is and am pretty run down.  But life goes on and so must we sometimes.

Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tourism and the small business,,,


I have been fortunate enough to have had two teaching ceramic studios over the years and learned many valuable lessons.  A teaching studio offers classes to those wanting to learn the wonderful hobby of making ceramics.  It mostly caters to local business and does not encourage tourist trade.  It can often take several weekly classes for a student to complete one piece so therefore would not work for tourists who might be here one week but not the next.  Classes are usually held once a week.

Living in a large community or city, this principle works quite well as there are a lot of people to draw your business from.  However, if you are like me, in a small town, drawing enough business from the locals might not fare too well.  Even during the height of the "hobby ceramics" boom, there truly was not enough local business.  If I had to rely on the business to be my sole source of income, to not only pay my business over head but personal overhead I would have wound up in bankruptcy court in a hurry.

Well, I still live in that same small town.  So now that I want to get back into the ceramics business again.  I have had to change how I do things.  I will no longer give classes as my primary business.  I will be making and selling finished wares.

In this small town I cannot rely solely on locals for the bulk of my business, if I do, it will surely fail.  I must market my items to other areas.  Tourists that might come through the area once or twice a year, or even just once.  With a web site up and running, even if the tourist never returns to this area they still might become a repeat customer.

Many people do not like a bunch of tourists coming into their towns causing the congestion, extra traffic and all the negative things that can pop up with tourists flooding the town.  However, as a business owner, I have to look at the positive side of tourists.  Tourists do create revenue.  The general public often does not see this but business owners do.  Most small town business owners will tell you, without tourists or outsiders their business would not survive.

But having a tourist come into town and buy from you once is also not a sound business plan.  You must have a way to keep in touch with that tourist and keep them as a customer even after they have gone back home, whether it be to another town in the same state, across the country or around the world.  Today, the Internet is the best tool we can use for that purpose.  Emails announcing special sales, new items, etc.  Web sites featuring your items.  And of course networking on places like facebook.  Blogging keeps you and your products in front of interested customers.

Web sites like eBay and etsy can also be useful tools.  I would suggest however, if you are an individual making items to sell such as ceramics or crafts that you do not over extend yourself on your Internet activity.  Focus on one or two things.  After all, you still have to have time to make your product.

Trying to determine which you will focus on depends on your personality. If you like writing then perhaps blogging would suit you more than eBay or etsy.  If you would rather put a picture up with the information of the item for sale and move on to the next thing, go for eBay or etsy.  Maybe you can't do a web site yourself.  You could always pay someone to set it up for you.  I do believe having a web site for this particular type of business is essential, whether you blog, network or sell on eBay.  Have a web site for the customers to go and look at other items you have available.

Whatever you choose to do, don't count out the tourist.  They can become repeat customers with a little nurturing and communication.

Until next time,,,,,, blessings!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Learning from the Amish,,, Keep it simple stupid!!


Ha!  I thought that title might catch your eye!

Regarding crafts and business what can I learn from the Amish that will benefit my business?

As you know the primary thing I make and sell is ceramics.  All other crafts are just an add-on.  So, I have been thinking about this very thing this morning as I plan on putting my ceramics and crafts in a rented booth in the heart of Illinois Amish Country, Arthur, IL.  I want to offer items that not only will attract the local buyer but also the tourist who come through Arthur each year.  So I have been doing a lot of reading up on it.

I have found, the Amish have no reservations about buying useful items for their homes as long as they are not overly decorated.  For example,,,, those nice painted items I posted yesterday, would not fare well in Arthur.  They are too fancy.  Keep it simple stupid!!  Because of their religious beliefs Amish would not own such fancy things.

Take for example the little green table with the roses painted on it.  The Amish might have use for a table of that size but would never buy it with the roses on it.  They would pay the same price for a plain green table, with no roses.  So things like that, which I enjoy painting, need to be sold in another venue away from Amish country.

But you are thinking, "yeah, but what about the tourist trade in that area"?  Well, I believe when tourist come into an Amish area, for shopping, they tend to want what the Amish want or what the Amish themselves made, either way.  They look for the simple things that the Amish would have in their own homes rather than the fancier items.  They can find those items else where.

So, on my list of items to sell in Arthur are plain, basic ceramics with solid colors and not a lot of decoration.  Hand made pure soaps without fragrances, and hand dipped beeswax candles.  I might make some other candles as well but not necessarily with a lot of fragrances.  Keeping things as simple and basic as possible will allow me to pull sales from the Amish as well as the tourists in that area.

Another thing that keeping things simple is it is less labor intensive and therefore I can charge a little less for the same piece that I might have put more decoration and design work on.  A lower price will attract more buyers.  More buyers, more sales.  You can't make a living on one piece!!

I'm liking the idea of "keep it simple stupid" so much that I might just carry that into a couple of my other venues as well.  I also plan on selling at the 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington, IL next year.  3rd Sunday Market runs once a month, on the third Sunday of the month, from May through October.  It is like a giant antique and crafts fair.  They get thousands and thousands of people coming through each market.  Not only could I sell my wares there but I can promote my booth in Arthur.  I think dressing "plain" and selling "plain" wares just might be the ticket.  Hmmm, I should think about this some more.

I also plan to have a web site up and running by early spring.  I might just have one page of the fancier items but keep the rest along the same lines as what I would have in Amish country.  Again I can promote the booth in Arthur as well as 3rd Sunday Market on my web site as well as facebook and here.

Sounds like I am coming up with a pretty good business plan.  What do you think?

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Until next time,,,,, many blessings!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Decorative Painting


I decided to share some pictures of things I have "decorative painted".  I used Donna Dewberry's One Stroke technique primarily.  I have sold a lot of these items at the farmers market here and at craft shows.  I did keep a few for me.  The dresser and folding table with the white background I kept.  The little green table with roses was one of the first items to sell.  I can't wait to do more painting but first I must get more things organized in the house.  Christmas is just 8 days away and I have nothing ready, so that must come first.

I plan on taking the winter months to build up some inventory of both ceramics and other crafts.  I have plenty of items to paint on, just need the time and freedom to sit down and do it.

This little child's table was one of the first items I sold at the farmers market last year.  I love how it came out and almost wish I had kept it.

This is a serving tray I painted a couple of years ago, I have kept this one for myself as I love sunflowers and this was my first attempt at doing them.  I do like how it came out.

I have kept this dresser for me as well.  I bought the dresser at a yard sale for $10, it was hand made and not stained very well.  I loved bringing it to life painting it.

This is a close up of the drawers on the dresser.  All my painting is done free-hand, no stencils or patterns to trace, so each drawer will have slight differences.

This is the top of a wood folding table.  I sure love yard sale bargains that I can add new life too.  You will most likely see me using this table at 3rd Sunday Market next year and other sales that I will be doing.

Here is a close up of some of the brush work on the table.  I love doing roses, it is so much fun to see the colors blend right before your eyes.

These ornaments are actually made out of paper mache`.  They looks sort of old world or old german in style.

These are glass ornaments.  I have sold several boxes of them over the years and hope to sell many more next year.

I have a tendency to keep these in a symmetrical pattern so it looks the same from any angle.  However, I have a lot of others that just have a single design, such as a snowman or a candle on the front of them.  I'll post more pictures at a later day when I am back to working on inventory.

Well, I reckon that is enough pictures for this post.  I really need to get busy around the house.  Today I am putting together a shelving unit for Frank's movies and continuing to clean and organize my dining room to get ready for Christmas.

Until next time,,,,, have a blessed day!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ceramics & Crafts


I am a "hobby ceramist".  I make ceramics and crafts to sell.  In the ceramics I primarily focus on utilitarian items for the kitchen and bath such as mixing bowls, coffee mugs, canister sets, dish sets, serving bowls, liquid soap dispensers and such.  I'll include a few pictures for you to look at below.

I also make a few crafts such as home made soaps, hand dipped beeswax candles, soy candles, polymer clay beads, rag rugs, etc.  I love to do decorative painting on wood and other surfaces.

I use only certified non-toxic, lead free paints and glazes.  With the ceramics, I pour a lot of my own molds, or hand form as well as all my own firing in the kiln.

I started out doing ceramics when I was a teenager.  A lady I babysat for took me to a small studio in a lady's basement.  While I loved working with the ceramics I hated the class because I was the youngest there and the older women were busy chatting about things like raising their kids, etc.  I was very out of place.  But I did take a couple of classes and learned the basics.  When a new ceramic shop opened downtown I was their first customer.  They were fantastic.  I told them I did not like sitting in a classroom but I would like to be able to tell them how I wanted a piece to look when it was finished and they would tell me what I needed to do to get it to look like that.  They agreed.

Ceramics became my passion.  I would spend every spare dime I had on making ceramics.  I could sit for hours painting and glazing pieces.  Over the years I accumulated a lot of paints, glazes and brushes.  I kept growing in my hobby and learning more and more.  Eventually, I bought my first kiln.  Taught myself how to operate it.  Had some failures along the way but I just see them as learning lessons.

At one point I took on a part time, temporary job in a ceramic shop in NM.  It was cool.  I was primarily glazing but while there, they taught me the basics of pouring molds.  They were selling off some of their older molds to make room for new molds, so I took some of them as part of my pay.  They thought it was great and wished they could keep me on longer because I had such a desire to learn.  Unfortunately the job had to end.  But I had fun playing with those molds I got.

Of course, my first few pourings were not the greatest, but I was determined to learn how to do it right.  I read a lot and kept trying until I was good at it.  I had about a dozen molds to play with.  A few years later, after I moved to Illinois, I got really serious about the ceramics and decided it was time to start buying some new molds and equipment. 

Little by little I accumulated over 2000 molds.  Thousands of jars of paints and glazes, pouring equipment and even more kilns.  At one point I actually owned 4 kilns!  I also have a potter's wheel, which I taught myself how to use.

I started out giving classes in the basement of my house.  Eventually I opened my first store downtown.  It was great!  I sold supplies and gave classes and also sold some finished wares.  Due to family emergencies I closed that shop and about 5 years later I opened another one.  Eight months later I would up bedridden with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and wound up again closing my shop.  I had done some craft shows after that, but not much else as my health was getting worse.

For years, as I struggled with my health I did very little with the ceramics.  I am still struggling with the fibro and cfs but am once again, little by little getting back into my passion and working with the ceramics.  I am selling finished ware only and not doing classes any more.  I am building it up gradually.  I will be selling at a few shows, online and will eventually be advertising in Country Sampler Magazine.

When I have the web site up and running I will post a link to it.  I'll also let you know my show schedule for next year and other locations I will be selling at in a future post.  In the meantime, here are a few pictures to give you a sneak peek.  They are not the best quality pictures, fair warning!!

Until next time,,, have a blessed day!!