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Monday, April 30, 2012

Featured artist Brian and Lori from SecondNatureWoodwork

Today I'd like you to meet Brian and Lori from SecondNatureWoodwork they sell lovely rustic home decor.  Enjoy this interview and their shop!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
L:We are Brian & Lori Bartel, a husband/wife team working together to create unique home furnishings.
B: Focusing on pre-industrial craftsmanship I started working in wood 15 years ago at the tail end of a  5' circle blade saw mill, that lead to, tearing down barns and building tables and doors from the  aged lumber, the pieces that materialized were so unique and one off's that I was hooked, it didn't take long to see where the knowledge was (years gone by) so studying the traditional  ways I taught my self to use the tools and carved out a method of work I was happy with,...blessed that others like it too.

Large Decorative Barn Words
 2. What do you sell?
We sell Rustic home d├ęcor, which includes furniture (not online), wooden letters, cutting boards, boxes all made from salvaged and reclaimed wood. with an extra helping of Craftsmanship,value & the desire to keep them alive

3.  Why handmade?
L:For both of us the answer to that question can stem as far back as childhood, happily finding things to create with our own two hands. Handmade to us means it's made with love and comes from the heart, and to us that is needed in the world more than mass production of mindless goods. I guess you could say it's an extension of who we are....it's second nature.
B: have you ever taken the time to truly make something from scratch and the turn around be
floored that it worked out exactly the way you pictured it ?........that's it.....

Wooden Letter S 7"
4.  Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
L:I think both of us could agree that our inspiration to create comes from so many different places, like nature, i.e. trees,wood
B: My brother was a Jewish carpenter.

5.  Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
We both love to garden and go antiquing. (Lori) loves to paint, write and take photos. I can happily say, creating our handmade goods is our full time job.
(Brian) working for yourself is 2 full time jobs , but the simple things are really nice to get to when we can Hiking, fishing, gardening ,watching.... (anything outside)

6.  When did you start thinking you were an artist?
(Lori) I've always had a hard time calling myself an artist, but I always knew even as a child how much I loved to create.
(Brian) if by “artist” you mean, having the ability to pour your heart into what ever it is your "doing"
I don't ever remember thinking I wasn't, knowing that I was supposed to do that … that's another story

7.  Who has been most influential in your craft work?
(Lori) My grandmother and mother were a huge influence to me. I spent countless hours watching my grandmother make quilts by hand stitching every piece and my mother making all my clothes as a child. In my house you didn't buy gifts for others, you made them.
(Brian)  hands down …...”the unknown craftsman”, he never signed his work  just looking at a piece of furniture he could leave me hint as to how to do this or that just enough to spark an interest.

Wooden Letter A
8.  Where would you like to be in five years?
We would both be content to continue to make things by hand, see new projects through to completion, working at home with each other and continue to make a living by doing what we love...other than that may God's will be done.

9.  Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
Oh yes, we would both love to travel to see the Red Woods, The Grand Canyon and possibly go skydiving! Oh, and Brian would like to catch a fish longer than he is tall :)

10.  Besides online where else do you sell?
Right now primarily on Etsy but then there is the odd commission.

White Distressed Lovey Dovey Barn Wood Cottage Chic Style
Ways to contact you:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Morning Laughs...Grass of the Deadly

I picked up Xavi from school yesterday and we headed to our Public Library (post on that next week).
We drove by the cemetery, I am certain we've driven by there many times before but this time Xavi asked:

"Mom is that the grass of the deadly??"  It's the cemetery I told him.  "Is it true that if you step on that grass you die??  No silly, who told you that I asked him laughing "Sophia" was his answer, I should have figured it out.

Then I started thinking, my kids have never experienced the loss of a close relative or anybody close to us to be precise.  They do talk about Michael Jackson's death.  Death is a fact of life and inevitable sooner or later we will all experience a loss of a loved one.  This was a great opportunity to express my beliefs to Xavi, he was wondering if we die on our 100th Birthday.  This morning laugh was a nervous one I've had those before you know! He was amazed when he saw the picture I managed to take.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Season's Change Second Edition...Spring Week 5

For a whole year I will try to find the awesomeness 
included in all four seasons,
perhaps the weather or a nature shot...
maybe display the holidays in turn
who knows?
The sky is the limit.
More Spring in my garden...yes please!
I don't know the name of this lovely flower but I love the rich color.
My mom gave them to me and I planted them after last summer was over I think.  Her garden is full of them, I know they only bloom once a year so I am hoping that they will survive the heat over the summer so I can watch them bloom next Spring.

Now you see that blurred little shrub in the back?  Now that is my chili plant.  What is a Mexican household without a chili plant right??  Well, to be honest I don't eat chili it's really my husband that likes to eat it.  I eat salsa but not too hot.
Anyways, during last Fall a terrible plague or pest almost killed it, all of its leaves fell and all was left was a dried stick.  But it is thriving and blooming so hopefully we can have a nice not so spicy salsa over the summer.

How is your Spring and blooms coming along my dears?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Featured artist: Morgan from Kingsoleil

This Monday's feature is Morgan from KingSoleil, now Morgan has a fabulous etsy boutique where she sells beautiful art decor, children's clothes, baby blankets, rugs and more with a mix of upcycled and crochet all handmade of course!  Did I mention I super duper like upcycled times? Go ahead read on.

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
Hello!  My name is Morgan and I am the owner and designer of KingSoleil, a boutique featuring handmade, upcycled, embroidered and crochet products for baby & nursery, children, special occasion, and home. 

KingSoleil was born to incorporate two loves in my life: being a stay-at-home mommy to my children, Kingston and Soleil, and sharing intricately handmade, one-of-a-kind treasures for you and the little ones in the world.  The design focus blends modern lines and color with a child safe, eco-conscious, family friendly sensibility. 

My goal?  Rather than tromping through our planet in clunky archaic boots, let’s lighten our carbon footprint for this generation and that of our children by gliding in feather light stilettos.  The outdated schema of recycling; muddy brown paper, muted color, and ill-fitting hand-me-downs is long gone.  Elegance and modernism are brought to life incorporating upcycled, organic, and sustainable materials with traditional, age-old crafts and techniques.

Nursery Art Embroidery Hoop
2. What do you sell? 
The Baby Layette and Children’s Upcycled Clothing Line are made from high quality recycled fabrics like cashmere, silk, and merino wools, and include crochet and hand-sewn detailing.  Upcycled and organic crochet rugs, as well as upcycled fabric embroidery hoop art, add a touch of eco-friendliness charm to the home and nursery.  Special Occasion Tutu Dresses are perfect for weddings and black tie events to birthday parties.  Crochet clothing, accessories, and baby blankets are made with love, stitch by stitch, inch by inch.

3. Why handmade?
 I remember soon after I taught myself how to crochet I was sitting in the car while both of my children were sleeping in the backseat, waiting until they woke up so we could go for a little hike.  I realized, however, that I forgot Kingstons mittens at home, Uh oh!  A light bulb went off and I reached in my bag, grabbed a ball of burgundy alpaca yarn that I had just purchased a couple days ago and a hook I happened to have in my purse, and began to crochet him a pair of little mittens.  They weren't perfect, one a bit larger than the other, and a tad short once I put them on, but they kept his little hands warm and for the first time I felt this sense of self sufficiency that I had never felt before.  

Handmade is perfectly imperfect, made from one person for another.  There is a sense of personality, and a time of decades past that I absolutely adore.  Being able to make your children what they need, what your home needs, what your nursery needs, what you need, brings such a sense of joy!  And if you can't make it yourself?  Buy handmade!  One of my absolute favorite things is when my customers buy for their new baby.  A take home outfit?  A security blankie?  Nursery decor?  I love the idea that something I made will be a part of a baby's first days :)   

Upcycled crochet rug
4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
First and foremost, my inspiration comes from my children.  Seeing how they play, move, live in their spaces, and seeing what they need gives me more ideas that I can possibly design.  I am sure King Soleil will grow and change as they do.  Nature gives me the other piece to my inspiration.  Seasons here in New England constantly change the scenery outside my windows and show me more colors, shapes, and atmospheres that I could ever incorporate in my shop. 
5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
My other full time job is being a mommy.  Between running King Soleil and running after my two babies (both under the age of 4) I am always on the go, filling orders, creating new lines, playing games, making meals, tripping over toys, and loving every single second.  When I become overwhelmed I remember how lucky I am that I am able to spend every day with two loves of my life and being a designer and business owner. 
Flower Tutu Dress Crochet Bodice
6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
It's funny, I never really thought of myself as an artist until I was dubbed that exact title in a magazine.  It then hit me, my gosh, I suppose I am!  Designing, creating, upcycling, and reinventing creates a kind of usable, wearable art.  I am honored to be called an artist.
7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
I really couldn't name one person, as everyone in my life tends to bring something new and different to my products and business.  I love modern fabric designers and vintage shops; the juxtaposition of the two are really what shape my creations.
8. Where would you like to be in five years?
In five years I would like to be in a much larger studio with an attached King Soleil brick and mortar retail shop where I can also offer crochet and upcycling classes to kids and adults.  Oh! the possibilities! 

9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done?
crafts, sports, life in general? 
There are always new craft techniques that I cannot wait to try!  Quilting and knitting are the two next on my list.  I would love to try my own fabric design. I want to learn about carpentry and woodworking.  I want to scuba dive, even though this terribly frightens me!  I want to ride an elephant (outside of a zoo) and I would love to spend some time in South Africa with the Knit-A-Square charity group. 
Children's Crochet fingerless gloves
10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I sell in my Etsy shop, other online shops, a retail shop and an interior design studio.  I plan on also attending trade shows and craft shows this summer and fall.     

Ways to contact you:


*facebook *   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Mail


 Received from Kansas

Also received from Kansas

Another postcard from Kansas

 And yet another from Kansas

Oh wait!  Last one from Kansas!


 Headed to Arizona

Headed to Nebraska

Headed to Kansas

 This was a letter sent to my penpal in Kansas.
I wanted to show you guys this pen Sophia gave to me as a Mother's Day gift when she was in Kindergarten.  Precious ;)
 This postcard I sent to Chula Vista, California to my BFF
It was funny because It was me who asked for her address so I can mail her a letter.  Recently I saw her and she said to me I will send you a text, do you text? she asked, no I replied I snail mail and she only smiled!

 Letter going out to Kansas.
Sophia went to San Felipe, Mexico with my brother
during Spring Break and she brought each family member a
sea shell.

Here she is, my little thoughtful girl!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Season's Change Second Edition...Spring Week 4

For a whole year I will try to find the awesomeness 
included in all four seasons,
perhaps the weather or a nature shot...
maybe display the holidays in turn
who knows?
The sky is the limit.
Spring in my home? yes, these are my succulents and cactus.
Hopefully next week I can show you more Spring in my own home.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Morning Laughs...spots

 I've noticed how lately Xavi has been absorbing anything TV!
He comes up to me and tells me mom you should buy so and so car insurance because you get $100.00 back.

Another example: I was folding the laundry and he asked me "Did you know there is a spray that you put on clothes and it gets rid of all dirt stains?   you should buy it. I loved his little comment because he wants to make my life easier.

Last night he told me you should buy this 
face cream because it gets rid of spots in the face,
Oh really?  do I have spots??  I asked him, yes he said and he started pointing at my face here, here, here, he went on and on all around my face and I cracked up when he said no wait I counted that one already!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Featured artist: Michelle from misala

This Monday I bring to you Michelle from misala she has this whimsical shop where she sells clutch purses and bags, check it out!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
My name is Michelle and I currently live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with my husband. I was originally from Hong Kong, though, and we are just moving to follow my hubby's job. I had never lived aboard before so it's been a stressful experience adjusting to this new lifestyle. Time flies and it's already two and a half years since we came! Looking back I am really grateful to have this opportunity to see the world a little better from an exciting city! 

Emerald Dreams iPad sleeve
2. What do you sell?
I design and make bags and purses from the little work studio in my home and sell them! I love working with kiss locks as they allow unlimited room for me to express the artist inside me. So basically everything you will see on my shop has these two little knobs on top as the locking mechanism. Aren't that cute?

3. Why handmade?
 When you buy handmade, you get more than just the product but also the attention to detail that the person has put into creating the item. Regardless of how well the quality is controlled in a mass-produced item, big corporations can never beat small-scale handmade items in terms of quality and creativity. Handmade items are created with the heart and soul of the artist and deserves to be treasured.

Whimsical blue cupcake mini coin purse
4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?
My inspirations come from everything around me! Initially I started creating because I was unable to find the perfect bag that I would really want to use, so I set out to make my own ideal bag from what I liked most! However lately many of the inspirations came from my fans who were very supportive and gave me so many interesting bag and purse ideas, with the final product becoming a bestseller in my shop!

5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
Misala Handmade is my full time job! Bag making is much more time-consuming and labor-intensive than it looks and I can hardly finish 3-4 pieces sitting at my work desk all day! As my business grow, we are eating out more frequently so hubby is going to complain soon! Honestly he shouldn't complain since his handicraft is terrible! To give him some credit, he's been helping with some of the secretarial work so I can get a good night's sleep every evening, but still I wish there were 48 hours in a day!

Cute fiery red clutch purse
6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
Educated as an engineer in collage, I really did not think much about myself as an artist until one of the customers requested a signature on one of the creations she bought from me. Suddenly I realized that in addition to the people who are purchasing my little bags and purses to carry with them or the ones who are looking to get a gift, there are also ones who are collecting my creations as pieces of art! That was an encouraging thought to push me towards expressing myself through my creations, instead of focusing entirely from the usability standpoint. Who knows, perhaps her small investment will be hugely profitable after many years!

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
Apart from my husband who had been really supportive throughout, I really admire Lynda from forestprints who is so talented in creating all sorts of colorful creative items for the last 7 years! We met her last year at her studio and she is a great inspiration for me starting my own brand!

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
We do not know where we are heading after UAE yet, so I am totally without a clue which country we will be based in five year's time. One thing for sure - I am taking Misala Handmade wherever we go and I will continue to ship my creations for the years to come!

Fairytale farm mini coin purse
 9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done? crafts, sports, life in general?
I'd want to try sewing a dress for myself! It's the same concept as the bags, really, since it is really difficult to find the ideal dress with the perfect design and fabric. There will be so much more options if I get to control all aspects of dressmaking.

10. Besides online where else do you sell?Apart from online, there is expanding list of shops worldwide that carries my creations. I maintain this list on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/misala.purse/info and feel very free to check them out if you are near any of them!

ways to contact you:
website and blog under construction

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I am taking control

I am taking control of my body and my health, because honestly I am the only one that can!!
Remember these love handles? well they are still there and not going away.  I am tired of my body looking like a tamale.  I have been trying on clothes and totally hate to look in the mirror.
this is what I look like
You see I am short 5' 1" I lied on my Driver's license  what is an inch anyway right??

When I got married I weighed 120 lbs. 13 yrs and two kids later I am at 135 lbs.  I can always say it's not that bad but lately what I saw on the scale scared me 137, 138, 139 what?????  Ok, Ok, blame it on the slowing metabolism, and the fact that I  sit to watch a movie eating ice cream and the can of whipped cream by my side :/

I have never exercised in my life except in High School.  Barely last year I started riding my bike. 

I'd like to thank my dear friend Miss Val for the great idea of doing exercise via you tube.  Miss Val big hug and thanks to you!! I looked on you-tube for a fitness video, I was really looking for zumba class but I stumbled upon this 44 minute  taebo video that I liked.  I might later find a zumba one.

So I bought me my first exersice top ( I was lucky to find it on clearance by the way at $3.99 at Sears) I totally think that was fate!  I plan to do the video two times a week.

I also plan to ride my bike more often, for example not only on the weekends but also as soon as I drop off the kids at school twice a week.

Another thing I plan to commit on is change some of my eating habits.  Nothing  drastic but basically making betters choices  such as eating more fruits and veggies, adding more fiber and drinking more water and of course slow down of the junk food.  

Now I don't pretend to look like a super model but I want to feel better
about myself and hope that these changes will help.  And if I don't
loose the love handles at least I will do it for health's sake.

I feel motivated!

Friday, April 13, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by  Soulemama

In her words: "A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Season's Change Second Edition...Spring Week 3

For a whole year I will try to find the awesomeness 
included in all four seasons,
perhaps the weather or a nature shot...
maybe display the holidays in turn
who knows?
The sky is the limit.

April showers, bring May flowers.
that's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New addition

Please met my newest family member! my new niece.


Of course mommy wanted some shots, I brought my  little camera.  I really do not  know anything about photography and lighting and such!  Mischievous us put the little four day old in a little basket oh and I have to tell you grandma was in it too! 

Isn't she precious? I really do think so

Monday, April 9, 2012

Featured artist: Jelena from Lariata

I am very pleased to introduce to you today Jelena from  Lariata , she's been on this segment before as a translator and now is her turn to answer the questions. Please enjoy this interview, by the way I have to tell you how much I like the first photo she sent I sure would like to be there someday!!

1. Tell us as little or as much as you would like about yourself.
I'm Jelena Mumm from the shop Lariata I live in Estonia, East of Europe, in beautiful place named National Park Lahemaa, that means "The Cool Earth." It's wonderful to be close to the nature and the fresh air. I'm a mother of two and a freelancer, do my work at home office.

2. What do you sell?
In my shop I sell jewelry and little accessories made of seed beads, swarovski crystals and semiprecious stones. Also I design beading patterns, because sometimes I need much colors around me, especially when we have the long and white snowy winters.

3. Why handmade?
I love to create beautiful items with my hands, it is wonderful feeling to see beautiful items around myself and know, that is made with soul and positive emotions.

4. Where does your inspiration to create come from and/or your inspiration in life?

Inspiration is everywhere - in the nature such plants and animals, in my children's dream, in my feelings, in a beautiful fabric pattern, just try to keep open eyes and wonder the world.

Pearl Cluster Hat Pin Brooch/Shawl pin
5. Besides creating what else do you do? Do you have a full time job?
I have part time job and working as an analyst of occupational health and safety in a medical center. Since my work requires analytical thinking it is hard to do work full time, so the handmade means for me a creative recreation.

Turquoise and Freshwater Pearl Blossom Earrings
6. When did you start thinking you were an artist?
I don't use the word “artist” to describe myself, because I'm not sure that I'm an artist. When I create something, all time I learn something new in the process. In my mind, the artist knows very well, what he does, but I don't, I just create new handmade items, because my soul needs them.

7. Who has been most influential in your craft work?
My family always support me in all things I do. And that was my grandmother who taught me to love handmade, I wonder how much things she can do - sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidering, tatting. All items she makes are always perfect.

8. Where would you like to be in five years?
I am happy to be where I am right now. In five years, I hope to be doing more: I want teaching others, learn some new techniques of other handmade types and more traveling.


9. Is there anything you'd like to try doing that you haven't done? crafts, sports, life in general?
I have a big plan for all my life. The next step I want learn Spanish and do yoga. In old age I dream to live near the warm sea and have much of sun.

10. Besides online where else do you sell?
I sell only online, sometimes I participate in local exhibitions.

Ways to contact you:
and *facebook*
* email *

Mermaid's Beadwoven Fringe Necklace with Freshwater Pearls and Shells

Friday, April 6, 2012

moncy3 by the numbers on the 4th anniversary

moncy3 By The Numbers
as of today

4 is the anniversary

4-6-08 is the date I opened the shop

99 is the items for sale

  317 number of orders

676 items sold

452 is the feedback

100% positive feedback

225 number of circles

4 etsy teams

74 treasuries

Numbers are looking good and have grown
If you'd like to join in the celebration you may use
coupon code SAVE20 to save 20% on your purchase till Sunday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

March's winner from moncy3...and great news!

This has been one very exciting week for all of us.  Let me tell you a bit about it.

First:  fun news, an unexpected trip for Vegas.  My husband told me last Thursday 'we're going to Vegas next week' What? How? sure enough Sunday night we made hotel reservations and bought tickets for the Circe Du Soleil Mystere show.  We left early Monday morning.  Vegas is only 4 hrs away so the drive was not that bad, we had a great 2 1/2 days there.  The kids had fun at the hotel pool, we walked along Vegas strip.  The show was awesome and a great experience, the casinos well...I almost hit the jackpot almost I repeat :/  We all had a nice time and if you ask me we did hit the dollar menu at McDonald's.

Second news, Xavi lost his first tooth yesterday.

Best news!!  My new baby niece was born yesterday morning.  Both mommy and daughter are doing well after a very high risk pregnancy

You see those  are some of the reasons I have not blogged this week.   Today is Thursday and Season's Change Second Edition Spring will be back next week.

On to etsy news!  The month of March was a very slow month.  I had a total of 11 sales.  I also had about 4  custom order requests. As much as I like special order request I cannot make miracles. Customers contact me and ask for a specific theme for invitations.  If I don't have the material/books for the order I need time to find it at my local thrift shops but they need their order in two weeks!  and mailed to Greece!! Impossible. 

We picked out a winner for March and she is Woolgirl from Oregon

and this is her item of choice  Children's Fairy Tales and Fables

And finally a recap of last month's featured artist on this humble blog:

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