30 January, 2011

Penguin goes shopping

Don't you just love this?? Doesn't get any sweeter then this story!

24 January, 2011

Mommy and Me

I have been working on some new pendants recently for new moms and moms who would like to have a pendant with all of their children's names. 
This is a one inch sterling silver disc which has been stamped, oxidized, hammered and domed slightly inward. The swarovski birthstone channel crystals add a colorful touch!

This pendant was designed for the brand new mom. Made with two discs, one stamped with the babies name and the other, stamped with two tiny footprints.

This is a sort of design your own pendant made with three one-half inch discs.  Each one is personalized with a child's name, but you can choose whether to have a sterling silver cross, heart or swarovski birthstone crystal for each disc.

And finally....for the mom of two children, one disc is brushed and the other is textured.

27 November, 2010

Gift Ideas for Men

I don't know about you but I think guys can sometimes be pretty hard to buy for.

A personalized gift can be just the thing to say "I've given this alot of thought, I love you and this is what I came up with!"  Here are some items from my shop that can be personalized for that special guy in your life:  Now thru Cyber Monday, buy a gift for him and receive a FREE PAIR of EARRINGS for her.

12 September, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I love September. It is one of my favorite months of the year.  This is one of the first summers that I have not had a garden.  Every  year, there are several end of the garden dishes that I like to prepare in large quantities and freeze so that we can enjoy them later in the winter. One of those dishes is Eggplant Parmesan.  I decided yesterday that even though the eggplants would not be from my own garden, I still wanted to make this dish.  Fortunately our small town has a small but very nice Farmer's Market.  I found 5 beautiful eggplants for $5.00 and thought that was a bargain!

For many years, I have done a variation of Mollie Katzen's recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook, published by Ten Speed Press. I like the idea of baking the eggplant, rather then frying it. It is much lower in calories, tastes just as good, and is easier and less messy to make.  Here are the ingredients:

5 medium eggplants * Note: A neighbor had brought me some beautiful zucchini so I also used a couple of them and pretended like they were eggplants too)! LOL   
1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 (milk will work fine too!)
2-3 cups of cracker crumbs * (I usually just take any type of cracker I have in the house and put them in the food processor until they are the texture of crumbs.)
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1 lb. of mozzarella cheese, grated
3-1/2 ounces of parmesan cheese, freshly grated
15 oz. of ricotta cheese
Approximately 7 cups of marinara sauce( I usually use homemade sauce, but this year I used a good quality sauce in a jar!)
Approximately 1-1/2 T. each of Oregano, Thyme and Basil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil two cookie sheets. Wash and cut the eggplants  into 1/2" slices. Place the 1/2 and 1/2 in a shallow bowl. Place the cracker crumbs and the wheat germ together in another bowl, along with the basil and thyme. Take each slice of eggplant and drop it first in the half and half, then in the crumbs. Tap off any excess crumbs. Lay each slice on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.

In a large casserole dish (mine is 12" x 16") ladle some marinara sauce in the bottom. Then put in a layer of eggplant. Cover with more marinara sauce. Top this with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the ricotta. Then, another layer of eggplant, more marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and ricotta, until you run out of ingredients. I like to end with a layer of marinara.  Finally, sprinkle the entire top generously with parmesan cheese and oregano.

Bake uncovered for about 45-60 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I like to refrigerate this overnight, then cut and freeze it into serving sizes . Refrigerating it makes cutting it in servings much simpler.

To freeze after refrigerating, cut in serving sizes, wrap in aluminum foil (or freezer paper), place on cookie sheets and freeze. Then place in freezer bags, label and enjoy for many months to come!
This recipe will make 24 individual or 12 double servings.

01 September, 2010

Beautiful Home for Sale on the Big Island of Hawaii

I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend quite a bit of time on the Big Island of Hawaii.   Here is a virtual tour of a gorgeous zen home currently for sale....

If interested in finding out more information, contact Tanya Sunshine at

10 August, 2010

Workout with the Wildlife

My husband and I have a bike ride we like to take in the early morning. It is a 19 mile ride that is mostly on country roads. This morning's ride was very cool!

Within the first 3 miles of our ride, we saw two very handsome bucks eating alongside of the road, a field full of Canada geese and three bears...
mommy bear and two cubs that crossed the road ahead of us. A workout with the wildlife...fun stuff!

18 July, 2010




Sixteen years ago I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn how to weave. I hope you find this video as interesting as I do.

04 May, 2010

An Etsy Find- Redstreake

I came across a very sweet shop on Etsy tonight that I would like to share.  It is called Redstreake.  This artists sells her signed prints, gift cards and bookmarks.  She is extremely talented.  Check out these adorable gift cards.....

  And for you horse lovers.......
And for the dog lovers amongst us...

To see more signed prints, bookmarks and gift cards by this artist visit

24 March, 2010


This month's featured Etsy Blogger's shop is DizzyDragonflies.

Check out her beautiful yarns hand dyed with Kool aid or Jaquard yarn dyes.

To visit her shop and see more of her beautiful yarns visit DizzyDragonflies!

March Winner - Free Piece of Jewelry

Congratulations to thatSandyGirl....this months winner of a free piece of jewelry from ChipmunkHollow.etsy.com!

This Year's Garden

Each month members of the Etsy Bloggers Team participate in a Blog Carnival. This month, one of the questions was:

Planning a garden this year? Tell us how you plan or prepare.  Do you start your own seeds?

I have had a garden every year except one of the past sixteen years.  When we moved to our little 'piece of heaven' in 1993, my husband and I inherited a circular vegetable garden and wonderful soil.

Each spring we design the garden using a ball of string and lime.  The string is tied to a post in the middle of the garden.  Then one of us walks to the outer edge of the garden with the ball of string held taut while the other puts down a thin line of lime along the taut string so that we know where to dig our walkways and  create individual plots for the veggies.  We continue doing this around the garden until all of the walkways are marked.  

I like to put down straw in my walkways and between plants whenever I can.  I've learned over the years that it really helps to cut down on the amount of weeding that needs to be done.

The only seeds that I use are those that can be sown directly in the soil once all likelihood of frost is gone.  This includes kale, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers and winter and summer squash.  For tomatoes and peppers and eggplants, I usually just buy the plants.

26 February, 2010

What's the best vacation you ever had?

Each month members of the Etsy Bloggers Team participate in a Blog Carnival.  This month, one of the questions asked is"What's the best vacation you ever had?"

As I sit here writing this I am on the Big Island of Hawaii where I have had the wonderful opportunity to avoid our Wisconsin winter and get a major shot of Vitamin D...something lacking for a large part of the year where I'm from.  Three months in Hawaii has been absolutely wonderful...I wouldn't have traded it for anything. However,  I have to say that the best vacation I ever had was actually many years ago.  It was that earlier vacation that made this current vacation possible.

Back in the late 1980's I was working for an air freight forwarding company as a Sales Manager.  At the time I got two weeks vacation a year.  My husband and I decide to take a weeks vacation and go camping in Maine.  About halfway through that week, I knew I wasn't ready to go back to work, so I called the company and said I am going to take my second week of vacation now, rather then save it for later in the year.

That vacation changed our life!

 It is so easy to get caught up in our daily lives that we forget, as my mom used to say 'to stop and smell the roses'.   Once you have 'smelled the roses' it can be life altering.  That's what happened to us.

It was October.  The leaves were at their peak. Maine could not have been more gorgeous!  While on that trip, sleeping in our tent in beautiful Baxter State Park we decided that we needed  a major change in our lives.  We both realized that it was time that was most important to us rather then wealth or material goods.  This was a huge realization.

We decided to sell our house, put all of our belongings in storage and travel for one year.  That one year turned into four, during which time we did a lot of extraordinary things.   When we finally did settle down again, we continued to live a very simple life....living below our means and choosing our time over $$.

Which brings me back to Hawaii.  Had we not made the decisions all those years ago to live a different kind of life, we would never have been able to be here right now.

I think the moral of this story is to choose the life that you want, make a commitment to that choice and then take the steps...one at a time...to make that reality happen.  That is what we did and so I choose camping in Maine all those years ago as the catalyst for changing my life and the best vacation I ever had!

23 February, 2010

February's Featured Etsy Blogger-Til Tcreations

This months Featured Etsy Blogger is Til Tcreations.    This shop specializes
in Backpacks,Totes, Messenger Bags,Purses, Handbags, Wristlets, Clutches, Pouches and Ziplets! Wow...I never knew there were so many different names for bags! Here is a tiny sampling of the variety Til Tcreations carries.

Right now this shop is having a great sale through the end of February.  Buy one piece...get the second one 1/2 off.

This Featured Etsy Blogger also has a destash shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/tilttoo
where this stay at home mom sells patterns, fabric and supplies.

22 February, 2010

February Winner - Free Piece of Jewelry

Congratulations to Mary on being this month's winner of a free piece of jewelry from ChipmunkHollow.etsy.com!

27 January, 2010

January Winner - Free Piece of Jewelry

Congratulations to Kylie Parry...January's Winner of a piece of jewelry from Chipmunkhollow.etsy.com.

Favorite Snowflake Item on Etsy

In looking through a variety of Etsy shops after putting in the search term 'Snowflake"
I came across this very cute Winter Snowflake Tag Album made by coziathome.etsy.com. 

The description of the item is as follows:
This fun brag tag album is 5" x 4" in size and 6 pages! A great way to make up a little, and quick album of your special wintertime memories.  It sells for only $3.95.

I have enjoyed working with paper, making my own cards and scrapbooking for a number of years.  When I saw this I thought what a sweet idea!  Please be sure to check out this shop at coziathome.etsy.com.

January's Featured Etsy Blogger Shop

This months featured Etsy Bloggers Team Shop is Nico Designs.

Nico Designs  is seriously committed to creating products that are eco friendly. By incorporating new, repurposed, recycled or upcycled materials, the owner, Erika, is determined to leave a small footprint. As is mentioned in her profile, even scraps and remnants from her projects are donated to keep them from ending up in a landfill.

A portion of her sales goes to fund cancer research.

This little red bird is made out of red felt and has been hand embroidered.

This doll is handcrafted by utilizing machine and hand stitching.

Such a sweet little pincushion - it is made from eco felt which is recycled post consumer felt. Tiny little black beads have been handsewn to accent this piece.

Please be sure and check out Erika's shop and blog:


29 December, 2009


Congratulations to JDWolfe...this month's winner of a free piece of jewelry from ChipmunkHollow.

27 December, 2009

Favorite Color Combinations

Each month the Etsy Bloggers participate in an Etsy Carnival Blog.  One of the questions posed this month is ...What are your favorite color combinations?  What do you create using those colors?

About 10-12 years ago I drove to Washington Island which is in Door County on the eastern side of Wisconsin to take a tapestry class at Sievers School of Fiber Arts.... a wonderful school for learning weaving,  quilting, furniture making and many other skills and crafts....http://www.sieversschool.com/

As we started to warp our looms for our tapestry project, the instructor began to lay out all different colors and textures of yarns in skeins, balls, etc. in no particular order on a large table.

Once our looms were warped and ready to go he told us to go up to the table and pick our very least favorite color.  That was an easy one for me as the color chartreuse had always been my least favorite color.  Chartreuse is 50% green and 50% yellow.  It is halfway between yellow and green.  It is one of the teriary colors of the HSV color wheel. 

Our instructor then informed us that we were to use this color in our tapestry project along with whatever other colors we wished to use. It was a wonderful lesson for me.  The chartreuse color was brighter and bolder then any other colors that I chose and it was the one color that brought my tapestry to life.

To this day it is a color which I wear and have incorporated many times into my weavings and also into my jewelry designs.

As for other favorite color combinations, I often use a color wheel.  It is a wonderful tool for discovering colors which complement each other and blend well together. 

Featured Etsy Artist - Calkat the Jewelry Junkie

                 This month's EtsyBloggers Featured Artist is Calkat the Jewelry Junkie.

This shop carries beautiful one of a kind pieces of  jewelry.

This necklace is made with citrine and freshwater pearls.

This is a bisque bead that has been layered over many days in pure (99.95) silver Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and then embellished with 24K gold (PMC) stripe, fired and polished to a shine.  What a great focal point bead this would be!

This zodiac pendant has been crafted from the purist silver (99.9%) and signed on the back.
Please be sure and visit http://www.calkat.etsy.com/

to see her blog.

21 November, 2009

Penelope Porcupine

Last week I walked outside one morning and there was a porcupine walking around in our front yard. Since they are typically noctural I was a bit surprised!

Today she was back...up in a tree.
 I never knew that porcupines even climbed trees but it turns out that they are excellent climbers!

 The porcupine has about 30,000 quills.  Their main diet consists of leaves, twigs, skunk cabbage, lupines and clover in the spring, and in the winter it chews through the rough outer bark of certain trees, including pine, which is where we found her today.

An interesting fact is that porcupines give birth to just one baby.  When the baby is born its quills are soft but they harden within half an hour of being born.


This months Featured Etsy Blogger Artist has not one but two etsy shops.  One is devoted to all things vintage http://thefabmissb.etsy.com/ and the other showcases Becky Kazana's artistic talents http://beckykazana.etsy.com/ .

All of Becky's greeting cards are reproductions of her original watercolor and ink artwork.

They are just wonderful!  In addition to Becky's cards she makes the most creative and original pipe cleaner figures.  Here are a few of my favorites:

How sweet is this little dachshund?

Becky hand paints the faces, creates the clothing, etc.
Be sure to check out her adorable cards and chenille dolls in addition to her other store at http://thefabmissb.etsy.com/.  She has added some vintage aprons which remind me of when I was a little girl.  You'll love them!

16 November, 2009


Congratulations to Pam...this months winner!  Pam will recieve a free piece of jewelry from Chipmunk Hollow.  Next drawing....December 15th.

05 November, 2009

My Dream Show

 Every month members of the Etsy Bloggers team participate in  Carnival Blogs.  One of the questions this month is ...What was your most successful sales event or product, and why do you think it was?

Many years ago I was invited to participate in the Junior League of Washington's (D.C. that is) Holiday show.  It was a wonderful show held at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown D.C.

I had chosen for my theme...tartan plaid, so everything in my booth was either red, green, or tartan plaid.  The booth was very color  coordinated and looked really classy.

Some of the items in my booth were handmade and others were items I had purchased at various wholesale gift shows for resale. The most popular item I sold were these beautiful grapevine geese which were about 18" tall and 24" long.  I still have mine and it remains a centerpiece in my dining room.  I put little tartan plaid bows around their necks and they sold like crazy. 

For two days people lined up at my booth with their purchases just waiting to pay. It was without a doubt my dream show.  I think the show was so successful because of the products I had chosen to sell and the way my booth was decorated.  I believe both product and display are crucial to a successful sales event.