Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Yesterday I marked down all of the holiday items in my shop by 30%! I'm hoping they won't last long, so stop in and get yours. Here are a few examples:

Merry Christmas Tree $3.15

Dancing Deer $3.85

Holly Jolly $2.80

Oh, and I have to share the simple and deliciously satisfying breakfast I had this morning. I'm sorry the picture is a bit out of focus. I didn't realize it until the food was long gone. It's oatmeal with soymilk, mixed berries, agave nectar, and pecans, all added to taste.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Been a Long Time Gone

Whew! I haven't posted since mid-November. Time got away from me during the holidays. Tim, Brennan and I hosted a vegan Thanksgiving dinner at our house for his side of the family. My mother-in-law made a seitan "turkey" with sage stuffing and puff pastry. I contributed three pies: apple-blackberry, pumpkin and pecan (all vegan of course) and we all collaborated on the sides: green beans with shallots and breadcrumbs and a sweet potato casserole. It was all delicious and cruelty-free! Brennan had an awesome time playing with her cousins, Mea and Lil and Tim and I got in some excellent baby-snuggling time.

We just returned to Louisville from a whirlwind visit with family in West Virginia and Ohio. Brennan and I were there a little longer than Tim. My stepmother helped me finish some gifts and I used her kitchen for my holiday baking: ginger cookies, Earl Grey tea cookies and pecan sandies. I've promised my friend Erin cookies, so I'll be doing more baking soon. Tim, Brennan and I spend a lot of time in the car on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day visiting various branches of the family. On Christmas Eve we visit with my maternal grandmother, Tim's parents, sisters, their husbands and our two nieces and then my paternal grandparents, along with various cousins, an aunt and uncles. Then we wake up Christmas morning at my dad's (my stepmother always makes her wonderful cinnamon raisin biscuits with cinnamon icing), head to my mom's house around noon and then on to Tim's parents' house around 5pm. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. This year at my in-laws we decided to start a new tradition. We are all contributing a dish to Christmas dinner and then putting the recipes in a family cookbook. My mother-in-law went a delicious, but non-traditional route for the entree: vegan country stew (similar to beef stew, but made with tvp). My sisters-in-law were in charge of the appetizers. Michelle made vegan stuffed mushrooms (her own recipe) and Paige provided us with some vegan "chickie" salad and crackers (also her own recipe). I'm going to ask their permission to share the recipes here because they are simply delicious! I was asked to make vegan oatmeal cookies. They all love them (so much so that we once sent my father-in-law on a treasure hunt to find them) and none of them will make them for themselves. They are actually just a veganized version of the recipe that is on the lid of the Quaker oatmeal container. How funny is that? Anyway, it was all delicious and stress-free.

So now we're back home, but only for a short while. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew are visiting West Virginia from North Carolina and Brennan and I are going back to visit with them for the weekend. Tim has to stay in Louisville and work, so we will be missing him.

Oh, and I almost forgot (how I could forget this, I have no idea), LB got her first stitches while we were visiting with family. We were at my in-laws getting ready for a holiday party and she ran down the hallway and fell into a door facing. She had a deep gash over and in her eyebrow. We went to the ER and she had three stitches. She was such a trooper. She didn't freak out at all. The ER staff was prepared for a wrestling match, but she just laid there and let them numb her and stitch her up. They were all talking about how they had never seen anything like it. That's my girl!

I've got a few pics below of our holidays and plan to post some recipes soon!

LB helping me cut out pastry leaves for the apple-blackberry pie.

The seitan "turkey" (yes, I know my oven needs cleaning).

The girls in their Thanksgiving jammies.

My nephew opening gifts at my dad's house Christmas morning.

Brennan and Mea Christmas night at Nannan's and Poppy's.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Featured Seller - Happy Elephant Designs

Shannen of "Happy Elephant Designs" got her start making Christmas Cards for her family in 2005 using scrap booking materials. As happens with many paper crafters, her family loved them and convinced her to begin selling them. Shannen then found someone who would create a website for her and began trying to sell her cards through it. Because this was a small venture and she didn't have the funds for advertising, the website wasn't very successful. Shannen shifted her focus to eBay, but found it expensive, and she didn't care for the format. During this time, "Happy Elephant Designs" was also featured in some craft shows. At this time there were very few people selling cards at craft fairs, and Shannen had a little success. However, she was discouraged by the number of sales necessary to cover the cost of her booths. Finally, Shannen saw an etsy seller on Martha Stewart and decided it would be the perfect place for her to sell her cards. etsy does the marketing for her and is much cheaper than the cost of web hosting or eBay. She's been an etsy seller since 2008.

In addition to etsy, Shannen sells her cards on "Happy Elephant Designs" are also available at two local galleries in Cleveland, Ohio, "Artefino" in the downtown area and "The Local Girl Gallery" in Lakewood. Additional upcoming venues include a boutique in Singapore, a Pro shop at a gymnastics school, a locally-owned bakery and local office. Now that Shannen is selling in local shops, she is changing her sales strategy. She's starting to focus on stationery and invitations in her online shops and sells individually crafted cards at the mom and pop stores.

Shannen says that the environment inspires her, whether it's what’s outside her studio window or the supplies and papers around her. Fellow artists also inspire "Happy Elephant Designs." When she experiences "writer’s block" she just looks around at all of the talented people on etsy and the ideas start coming.

Shannen's favorite colors to work with are greens, maroon, whites, and blues. However, she's inspired by her environment and the seasons, so she's now working on Christmas cards and those colors that work best with Christmas. "Happy Elephant Designs" products do lean toward the warm tones. Shannen also enjoys incorporating a variety of textures into her designs. She recently acquired an Epic Six that embosses, debosses, cuts die cuts, and letter presses. There are also sewn elements to be found in her work, adding yet another dimension to her creations.

The best piece of advice that Shannen has received from other etsy sellers relates to pricing. It is important that we value our work. Pricing is difficult for Shannen, as it is for most other card sellers. At times, she feels like she is competing with Wal-Mart and Target with their mass-produced cards priced at $1.00. However, Shannen was advised that if she underprices her cards buyers won't see them as quality products. A person looking for cheap cards is not shopping on etsy or 1000 Markets. Buyers come to etsy and 1000 Markets for quality handmade products and are willing to pay for that quality.

Shannen's advice for new sellers: Get involved in the community. When she first started on etsy, she assumed that she just needed to post her products and forget about them. Needless to say, she didn’t sell anything in the beginning! Then Shannen discovered the forums and received great advice, some clients, and great tips on photography. That is also where she found the street teams. Shannen currently participates with the Etsy Greetings, Cleveland Handmade, and Paper Street Teams.

Shannen's current favorites from "Happy Elephant Designs":

Season's Greetings Card

School Bus Card

Thank You Green Leaf Card

And mine:

Thank You Card in Purple and Blue


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Day

Brennan turned three Tuesday, and we spent the day doing all of the things she likes best. We had chocolate chip pancakes and veggie sausage for breakfast, read books, played with her new toys, went to the zoo and then to the local pet shop. She loves, loves, loves Moe's, so we went there for dinner and then to Sweet Surrender for a vegan cupcake. Her boyfriend Michael met us there for a special surprise!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Big 3

Well, my baby isn't a baby any longer. She turns three today. I can't believe it. This time three years ago I was in bed with a beautiful new baby girl next to me. Today I am making that baby pancakes and playing with her new horses and stable with her. I wonder what we'll be doing three years from now?

This past weekend we had a birthday celebration with our families at my dad's house in Ona, West Virginia. Each year we choose a theme. This year it was based on Dr. Seuss books. LB had an amazing time (I know because she mentioned it several times!) with family and her vegan ice cream sundae bar. I've shared some pictures below. Check back for pictures from her day today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Halloween Fun!

In addition to "Boo at the Zoo," we took LB to a safety fair and "Trunk or Treating" and then to a large block party in Crescent Hill for trick-or-treating. In all, she got to dress up and treat three times. That almost three year-old has had a busy month. Here are some of the pictures from our recent adventures.If you're ever in Louisville on Halloween, you have to check out this event in Crescent Hill. As you can see from the pictures, it's off the hook! Check back in a week or so for pictures from B's Dr. Seuss themed birthday party.

Little b Bunny Recent Listings

I've recently listed some non-Christmas related items to the shop. Here are a few:

Sparkly Harvest:

Autumn Quilled:

Family Pets:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let It Snow - New Treasury

I've been included in a new treasury on etsy. Here's the link: Let It Snow Please check it out and give it some love.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Feature - Rabbit Whiskers Children's Clothing

This etsy seller combines the techniques of hand smocking and embroidery to create one of a kind classic children's clothing. If you're looking for something special for a child in your life this Christmas, look no further.

Rabbit Whiskers (or Judy, as she is known outside of etsy circles) has been smocking since her daughter was born 33 years ago and embroidering even longer, but has been combining the two for the last 25 years. She began when her daughter was born. Eventually, she sold her dresses at an exclusive children's store in Carmel called "The Mischievous Rabbit" and continued to do so for 16 years. When the shop closed, she decided to open a shop on etsy.

Judy is inspired by all sorts of different things. A lot of her inspiration comes from things she sees in nature, such as flowers and animals. Sometimes just looking at a cut of fabric and thinking about how she could take that piece of fabric and make it look entirely different is a fun challenge that inspires her. Colors, music, and poetry inspire Judy also. She always has classical music on while she is working, and she finds it very inspirational. Furthermore, she sometimes finds it is very inspiring to look at a detailed picture and think of what that picture is saying. That inspires her to go off in a different direction and develop just one idea that she gets from looking at that picture.

Rabbit Whiskers loves color and putting it together in different ways. Particularly when working with baby things, she prefers pastels and soft shades of color, but not exclusively. At times she is really drawn to the primary colors and darker shades, but then she usually prefers them contrasted against white. Green is Judy's favorite color; there are so many pretty shades of green from which to choose. She loves pink too, especially a soft pink, and putting shades of pink and green together. Judy's favorite scenes to create are those with lots of flowers in them and scenes with animals, particularly those with bunnies, lambs, and dogs.

Judy is always interested in reading good advice from other etsy sellers and the Storque. She says that there is so much great advice out there and so many people who are so kind to share it! The one piece of advice that stands out the most clearly in Judy's mind is the advice to believe in yourself and your product. Work hard, be patient, stay focused on your goals and, in time, people will recognize your work and come to you.

Here are a few of Judy's current favorites:

I love this dress with the long sleeves. I like the happy winter scene and the contrast of the strong colors against a white background. I prefer it when the scenes on my dresses suggest little stories or ideas, and I like what this one suggests.


I think I particularly like this dress because of the way it just seemed to pop into my head, totally complete, without my even trying to think about what I might do. It is very rare that something like that happens. I love the whimsical nature of this scene!

Chasing Purple Butterflies

I think this is one of my favorites because creating the little Westie was a difficult challenge, and I'm pleased with the way she turned out. I also like the colors in it a lot.

Pink Puppy Love

And here are a couple of my favorites:

Let It Snow

Lamb and Flowers