Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Just have to share this one...I think snowy owls are the most beautiful creatures. There's something so magical about them, and I always find myself inspired to paint one or two each winter...

This treasure box is listed on eBay now, and I hope it brings peaceful blessings to it's new home, wherever that may be. :)

♥ Carolee

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Can't Help Myself...

No matter how hard I try to remain true to my normally "wicked" nature, it's Christmas, and cuteness just keeps breaking through....

In fact, one of my EHAG friends recently told me she feared at this rate, I would need an intervention very soon, hehe. :)

I'll admit it, the latest pieces ARE more whimsy than wicked, but who can resist this little angel?

Or this adorable Tuxedo Cat?

I think they're quite fun, and while I won't be taking any orders (They're more than a little labor intensive), I do hope they find a good home. :)

Stay tuned for more pieces very soon, including something for the EHAG Emporium update, tomorrow at 9PM eastern....

Until then,
♥ Carolee

A Home Made, Hand Made Holiday Here!

Warning: Stepping up on my annual soapbox...

By now, most of us in the blogging world have seen this badge, proclaiming a commitment to purchase handmade goods.

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org
But how many of us really take it to heart?

Sure, we agree with supporting the handmade movement in principle - but will our friends and family (especially the younger ones) understand and appreciate it? And if they don't, is it our job to indulge their sometimes extravagant wish-lists? Is it our job to put our dollars to work for corporations instead of individuals?

I'm writing this as someone who has admittedly by necessity as much as choice, had to seriously cut back on gift giving the last several years. My husband's two open heart surgeries and subsequent cancer diagnosis, along with my own self-employment in a slow economy, have meant a fairly drastic income cut in our household, so we've had to get creative with gifts; tins of homemade cookies, soup mix in a jar, bottles of home made kahlua with illustrated labels, knitted scarves and shawls, felted purses and totes, painted pottery and treasure boxes, ornaments, and even recorded guitar compositions make up our gift-giving.

This year will be no exception, and while finding the time to create all these gifts is a challenge, I no longer struggle with whether they're appropriate or well received, and in fact, like it better this way, and find more meaning in the holidays as a result. Handmade gifts are filled with love and attention, with time and thought, and give me the warm fuzzies in a way a new sweater or bottle of perfume just can't.

Besides, a gift is just that - a gift; that which is given freely - and with love, not expectation.

Here are a couple I made last year, the top of an ornament chest for my sister, and a scarf and reader's wrap knitted for my niece and Mom respectively...

All of this said, what to do if you're not one of those people who's handy with a paintbrush or needle and thread? If you don't knit or crochet, and aren't Martha or Rachael in the kitchen?

Consider buying gifts from Etsy, eBay or other handmade marketplaces (of which there are no shortage, both online and in our communities!) Put your dollars back into the local economy, in the hands of artists and artisans, rather than in the pockets of department stores and mega-marts. I'm pretty sure their executives have large enough holiday bonuses without boosting the profit margin further.

But the single Mom who works a full time job and spends her evenings making jewelry, for instance, or the student who's supporting herself by sewing, the artist trying to feed his or her family, the retired couple needing to supplement their small income with a little woodworking business; these are the people who could use a bonus this year, and the people who will most appreciate our patronage.

I don't want this to sound like a lecture, and truly realize we all do what we can do. And however you celebrate Christmas or Yule or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, whatever you give and however you spend, I wish you a joyous time of it! I just thought I'd throw this out there as a gentle (I hope, hehe) reminder that there are alternatives to the mall. ;)

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Very "Real" Thanks Giving

As another year winds down (just a few weeks 'til 2011!), and we gather with family and friends for the Thanksgiving feast, it's time for reflection on the many blessings we've experienced, not only throughout the year, but throughout our lives.

To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement. After a lengthy but full recovery from last year's heart surgery, came the news that John's lymphoma (diagnosed many years ago) was out of remission again. As he began interferon and other treatments, we were determined to remain positive, but wondered what the year would have in store for us; two middle aged people, not in the best of shape, with no financial resources to speak of, facing down an illness for which there is no cure, only "management". Add to this the illness of several of our fur-kids, a portion of the roof blowing off in January's blizzard, and the challenges I have getting around with a brace on my leg, and well - I hate to admit it, but we've had more than our share of "deer in the headlights" moments this year.

Yet we remain thankful, because our year has also been filled with incredible blessings; Our daughter moved to Philadelphia, giving us the opportunity to see her far more often (she's even cooking the Thanksgiving feast!). A gift from a complete stranger touched our lives in a way that enabled us to move forward in the midst of nearly overwhelming obstacles. My work was published in a couple of magazines, and we had a successful and incredibly inspiring time at the Ghoultide Gathering. There's food in the pantry, oil in the furnace, and as of last week, a brand new roof overhead.

But most importantly, we're HERE, and we have each other. Like the toys the skin horse describes in one of Courtney's favorite childood books, The Velveteen Rabbit, we've experienced love that has made us REAL:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

I suppose that's us - loose in the joints and very shabby. But you know, I'm not sure I would have it any other way...

As uncertain as the future is, we're facing it together, and that's a lot. :)

Wishing those of you who celebrate a most happy and blessed Thanksgiving, and wishing those who don't a happy and blessed November Thursday!

♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Trio of Boxes and an eBay Speedbump


I can't even tell you how frustrated I am with eBay at the moment. Each month, they take an average of the number of the past year's listings to determine a seller's "status". Well, it seems that this month my average dropped from the 100 required to maintain top seller and powerseller status, to a mere 99. Sooooooo, goodbye powerseller status, and goodbye top seller status, at least until I bump the average up with new listings. It may not sound like a big deal, but eBay search engines give priority to powersellers and top sellers. So I WANT MY STATUS BACK, lol.

To that end, here are three new listings - little trinket boxes I've painted for holiday giving; A white cat, a mouse on the moon, and an adorable little Westie dog...

The large sewing chest shown in the post below this one is also still listed, so if you haven't already, do take a peek!

Look for more new work very soon (this status thing leaves me necessarily juggling commission work and the need to list some eBay items asap!) and look for the November newsletter in the next day or two. :)

Happy Frost Moon!!

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Sew Many Blessings" Continued...

Flying in quickly to show you the final result of the previous post's work in progress, an original, one of a kind, Christmas sewing chest...

The interior features a shallow tray, perfect for scissors, needles, thread, bobbins, etc...

It lists on eBay this evening at 9PM eastern. :)

(Back to commissions now!!)

♥ Carolee

"Sew Many Blessings"

It's been awhile since I posted pics of a work in progress, and since I'm having sooooo much fun with this one, I thought I'd share. The piece is a wood sewing chest, which I'm hoping will find a home with someone who'll use it for organizing all those special and ♥heartfelt♥ Christmas projects. :)

After sanding any sharp corners, the background is completed first, with checkers and a touch of shading around the top, and swirly winter "clouds" below, avoiding the areas I've sketched in for trees and angels...

Next, a bit of detail on the angel scene is painted in...

This is as far as it's come - so far. :) Today, I'll work on painting further details, and on filling in all those tiny squares around the top with decoupaged papers, buttons, baubles, ribbon and maybe a few sparkly crystals. There's also a tray which sits inside, which will be decoupaged with vintage looking Christmas paper.

I'm generally pretty good about sending my creations out there into the world, but every once in a while one comes along I truly wish I could keep - and I already have a feeling about this one! (Unfortunately, my mortgage company would disagree, hehe) So sell it I must, and I'll take consolation in the hope it will become a treasured heirloom, perhaps even handed down from Mother to Daughter, and will be the keeper of someone's loving handiwork and the home of "sew many blessings". :)

(Pics of the finished piece coming soon!)

♥ Carolee

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Cat Carol

Okay, so there's this Christmas song that makes me cry every time I hear it.

It's just about the saddest song I've ever heard, but also one of the sweetest. The lyrics (along with the recent passing of our own sweet Cheetah cat) were the inspiration for this Christmas footstool, which I've titled "Catsseopeia"...

The images on the footstool make more sense when you've heard the song, or at least read the lyrics, which follow (you might want to grab a tissue at this point):

The Cat Carol

The cat wanted in to the warm warm house,
but no one would let the cat in
It was cold outside on Christmas Eve,
She meowed and meowed by the door.

The cat was not let in the warm warm house,
And her tiny cries were ignored.
'twas a blizzard now, the worst of the year,
There was no place for her to hide.

Just then a poor little mouse crept by,
He had lost his way in the snow.
He was on his last legs and was almost froze,
The cat lifted him with her paw.

She said "Poor mouse do not be afraid,
because this is Christmas Eve.
On this freezing night we both need a friend,
I won’t hurt you - stay by my side."

She dug a small hole in an icy drift,
This is where they would spent the night.
She curled herself 'round her helpless friend,

When Santa came by near the end of the night,
the reindeer started to cry.
They found the cat lying there in the snow,
and they could see that she had died.

They lifted her up from the frozen ground,
and placed her into the sleigh.
It was then they saw the little mouse wrapped up,
she had kept him warm in her fur.

"Oh thank you Santa for finding us!
Dear cat wake up we are saved!"
..."I’m sorry mouse but your friend has died,
there’s nothing more we can do."

"On Christmas Eve she gave you her life,
the greatest gift of them all."
Santa lifted her up into the night sky,
and laid her to rest among the stars.

"Dear mouse don’t cry you are not alone,
you will see your friend every year.
Each Christmas a Cat Constellation will shine,
to remind us that her love’s still here."

I warned you. ;)

Sooooo, yes - back to the footstool, I'm moving it from the PFATT Marketplace to eBay, and in doing so I've reduced the price (it's available on a buy it now) by a full 30%.

I do hope it finds a good home with someone who loves cats, mice and Christmas!

More goodies coming soon!
♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An *Enchanting* Home, Studio and Show!

(a.k.a. "The Post that Never Ends", hehe)...

This weekend found me taking off with my friend Hugh for Martinsburg, West Virginia, where artist Paul Gordon was hosting the third annual "Friends in Christmas" show. Not wanting to begin the journey in the wee hours of the morning, we decided to stay over, which put us in Martinsburg Friday evening, allowing attendance at a little pre-show gathering in Paul's beautiful home...

Paul is not only an extraordinarily talented artist, but an avid collector as well, and his home is a feast for the eyes...

I don't know how to describe his style, except to say it's his own - sort of bohemian-vintage meets Victorian-whimsy, and I ♥ it...

Have you ever seen so much collectible eye candy in one cabinet?

It was such a magical place, made even more so by a little music, more than a little wine, and some very interesting guests.

Oh, and almost forgot - there's even a vintage toy room upstairs!

How amazing is that?

And here's our host...

Thank you so much, Paul, for including us in such a wonderful evening, and thanks Hugh, for taking these pics (I'd forgotten my camera).

Saturday morning the doors to the studio opened, and we were treated to another enchanting setting, and even more *magical* work!...

Here are some of Paul's sculpts, shadowboxes and paintings...

We also took a tour of the working part of the studio, which is home to stacks upon stacks of vintage fabrics and quilts, as well as a vintage Santa Claus costume...

And all this ribbon!! (I think I managed not to drool, although I'm not sure, hehe)...

And I LOVE the old shoes and skates hanging from the rafters...

I came home with a few goodies, including two pieces by Laurie Messerol. For the moment, Santa is keeping the teapots company...

And how adorable is this print?

And this darling pincushion by Stacey Bear(the little door opens to reveal a thimble - such fun, and I couldn't resist!)

See, I told you this was the post that never ends! But I get so excited about these things, I just have to share them with you...

Anywhoooooo....for NOW, it's back to work! I have an enchanting bunny commission in progress and a fun new sewing chest to begin - something magical for all those holiday projects, tentatively titled "Sew Many Blessings". ;)

And next weekend, there's another show to check out in Virginia (thinking of doing one crafty type show next year to sell a few personalized welcome signs). My friend Pam does this one, and will be there with some primitive holiday enchantment. And if you are in the Ohio area, be sure to check out the Merry Makers show in Springfield, Ohio! So many shows, so little time (and money, haha).

I'll close here, wishing you all a *magical* and *sparkly* kick off to the holiday season, and leaving you with this tune - one of my favorites (but first you have to scroll down on the right and mute the purple playlist already playing)...

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Winter Angel"

Flying in quickly to share what I've been up to the last couple of days (along with commission work)...

While my own pets are cats and dogs, I've always had a special affinity for rabbits, and think no creature better epitomizes the word "Peace"; docile and loving, and like most creatures, we humans could learn a lot from them. ;)

This tea/serving tray is listing on eBay tonight at 9PM (Update - sold), and I hope it brings a smile and inspires a little winter magic.

Back very soon with new work, and pics of a Christmas show I'm attending this weekend!

♥ Carolee

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of Cats and Christmas...

Thanks so much to everyone who emailed and left such kind comments about our beloved Cheetah's passing. We miss her very much, but know we did the right thing, and know that she'll live on in our hearts, and in the love we give to the rest of the furry kids who bless our lives. :)

Her passing, along with a favorite Christmas song called "The Cat Carol" inspired this month's PFATT Marketplace piece, a one of a kind footstool. The carol (you may want to get tissue at this point) tells the tale of a kind and loving cat who gives her life on Christmas Eve to save that of a tiny mouse. Santa then lifts her up into the night sky, where she becomes a constellation, shining down every Christmas to remind us of her love...

Cats are such special and magical creatures, and there's something about Christmas and the winter season that makes me wish I could save them all, bring them in and offer them a warm bed, warm hearth, and full tummy (things which I'm certain homeless cats everywhere must wish upon the evening star - but I suppose that's inspiration for another piece!)

The footstool show above will be up for grabs on tonight's PFATT Marketplace update (midnight eastern) and go to the first person to email once it's available.

Other Christmas and Yule pieces are in the works, and probably a few Halloween goodies too (after all, it's NEVER too early, is it?)...Now that we've set the clocks back, I seem to be in full winter mode here, anticipating one of my favorite seasons, planning menus and gifts (home made, all) and even scheduling a little time to enjoy the season.

This weekend I'm off to West Virginia with a couple of friends to see Paul Gordon's "Friends in Christmas" show, and I'm SO looking forward to it! And next weekend I'll be traveling to Fairfax, Virginia to see another friend in a show there, while checking out the venue as a possibility for selling crafty type work (mostly personalized welcome signs) this time next year.

In the meantime, I'm working on a couple of commissions and painting a very large sign for our wonderful vet in exchange for services...That said, I'm bound and determined to set aside a few days to just relax and enjoy the season this year!

How about you?

Any holiday spirit yet?

Just in case, I'll leave you with a little inspiration...

This movie

This book

This hot cocoa

Back very soon!
♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saying Goodbye

It's been 17 years since this tiny, feral kitten came into our lives, urgently petitioning to be let into the house in the autumn of 1993.

Last night the time came for her to pass out of our lives and over the Rainbow Bridge.

Yes, I know the Rainbow Bridge is an invention of the author, but I think anyone who's ever loved or been loved by an animal companion can relate to the imagery; our friends no longer in pain, running free, enjoying each other's company and waiting for us to someday join them.

Those who've spoken to me on the phone have heard Cheetah's loud, insistent cry when she wanted something (usually more canned food) and many commented she sounded like a baby. Which of course she was. Our baby...

She was also our friend and companion, loyal and loving, and most definitely John's familiar. I remember very clearly in 1996 when he underwent several weeks of radiation therapy, little Cheetah didn't leave his side, except momentarily to eat and use her litterbox. If he walked up the stairs to the bathroom, she'd follow and wait outside the door, then follow him downstairs again. When he slept, she slept beside him. And this time last year, when John returned from a one month hospital stay following heart surgery, she began sleeping not beside him, but on him. It was as if she wanted to make sure he wasn't going anywhere ever again.

Making the decision to let a beloved friend go is never easy, but I know we did the right thing. With the help of our wonderful vet (who drove from home and opened the hospital at 9PM on a Saturday evening to do this), Cheetah's passing was peaceful and painless.

Goodbye, little girl. Run free, and boss all the other kitties around until we see you again. We'll miss you. ~♥~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holiday Buttons and Sparkle!

Just popping in to share the latest collection of trinket boxes, listed now on eBay (actually, as of this writing the bunny is sold, but the other five are still up for grabs!) :)

I always have so much fun with these little boxes, and think they make wonderful gifts. Some have little red button accents and the others have a touch of vintage glass glitter...

Next up: a couple of commissions, then a very special Yuletide piece!!

Back very soon...
♥ Carolee