Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blue Jay

Isn't he gorgeous! There he was sitting in a tree just outside my kitchen. What a beauty!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out of the Fog

A few days ago we had the heaviest fog I've seen in a very long time. It was amazing. This tree stands in our back field. It just looked so alone and yet strong at the same time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Morning Glow

Just click on the photo to see the listing and the rest of my Etsy shop!
This stunning sunrise is what greeted me in my backyard yesterday. I couldn't help but snap a few photo's of it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This little fella was grabbing a quick bite to eat at my suet feeder on a rainy, foggy afternoon.

In The Loop

My newest scarf!

I had so much fun designing this one. I started out wanting something lacey and ended up with this. Not lacey so much, but loopy and stretchy and oh so much fun!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winter Grapes

My newest photograph for sale in my Etsy shop. I called it Winter Grapes.

This is a barb wire fence post that has fallen. Tangled in it are wild grape vines with shriveled grapes still hanging on it.

My First Photo's For Sale!

I did it! I've got my first few photographs up for sale. I'm so excited and proud of myself. This is something I've wanted to do for so long!

Here are a couple of examples:

Red Berries on Blue

Cedar Post in Sunset

I have more in my shop and am adding more today. I'm also planning on adding poetry and Bible verses to some of them as well as making postcards, greeting cards, bookmarks, etc.

I'm so excited!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I Got A New Camera!

I'm so exicited! I got a gorgeous new camera for Christmas!!

It's a Canon Rebel XSi and it's the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen! I love, love, love it. I've already started taking some photo's and have opened my shop on Etsy It's empty right now, but I'm going to be adding some photo's I took today sometime tonight or tomorrow.

This is something I have wanted to do for so long! I love taking pictures but have never had a decent camera to do it with.

I really, really love my husband! LOL!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I'm not going to be on much today or tomorrow with all the running around I have to do for Mom and Dad now that Dad is in the hospital for Christmas. Add to that the things I need to do to get myself ready, it's going to be a busy day today.

Tomorrow will be presents in the morning, hospital in the afternoon then rush back here to make our dinner.

So, because I won't have time to be online or update much, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Conversation With My MIL

The phone rings last night and I see that it is my MIL. Here is a portion of the conversation.

MIL: Are you all ready for Christmas?

Me: Well, I pretty much was, but then Dad went into the hospital on Monday. So now I have his shopping to do as well as finish up my own. (Background: my dad is terminally ill. He has conjestive heart failure and has been sliding very quickly the past three months or so)

MIL: Oh, dear. Is it his heart:

Me: It's pneumonia this time.

MIL: Do you think he'll be getting out?

Ok, so here is the first "What??" moment in the conversation. Let me just note here that she's not trying to be insensitive, she just has no tact.

Me: Well, I certainly hope so!

Seriously, the next thing she says is:

MIL: Well, I hope you're still planning on coming to (my husbands sister's house) after Christmas.

Me: Well, I guess that will depend on how Dad is doing.

I pretty much ended the conversation there.

Honestly, she's not trying to be insensitive or cruel, it's just her way.

But, that conversation was pretty much the worst one I've had with her. It was like all that mattered was the darned get together they have planned for the 28th. No matter that my dad who is dying is now in the hospital with pneumonia. No matter that my life (and as a result my husband and kids lives) is in turmoil right now because of it. Nope, just make darned sure you make it to the get together.

Needless to say, I was a bit put out. ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Pathetic Puppy

My husband has a puppy. I say my husband because he wanted it, he drove 3 hours to buy it, he paid $500 for it. Not me. Him.

The puppy is almost a year old now, and is a chewer.

So far he has destroyed:

• our daughters retainer
• two books I've had since high school (I'm 38 years old now, so that's a very, very long time)
• two pairs of glasses. Both mine, the second pair being a replacement for the first pair he destroyed.
• a Christmas decoration that belonged to my Grandmother who passed away a few years ago
• my watch that my husband bought for me last Christmas

He's also scratched the top of my antique kitchen table and side board as well as the hood of my van by jumping up on them.

I've had it. As far as I'm concerned the puppy needs to go. Notice that everything he's chewed (and that's not a complete list, just what I can remember off the top of my head) other than my daughter's retainer belonged to me? Yeah, he likes my stuff.

So, because I'm the one that is home all the time and has to put up with this puppy and has to clean up his messes and is the one who has all their stuff chewed up, I bought a muzzle.

And he hates it.

I couldn't be happier. ;)

Just kidding. I really don't like to see the puppy upset, even though I don't particularly like him. But, I can't stand it any more. I'm tired, really, really tired of wondering what he's destroyed every time I go to bed or whenever I leave the house.

So, from now on, he'll be muzzled.

I came home and put it on him and you've never seen a more pathetic looking dog. He danced around for a while trying to get it off, then just laid down and panted. At one point he sat up and looked at me with those big brown eyes of his but it didn't do a lick of good. Hehehehehe.

I feel so much better knowing that my belongings will be safe while I'm gone.

What Is It??

I posted a few days ago about teaching myself how to knit. I purchased a "how to" kit to help with that.

In it are a few things I'm not completely sure what they are. But one thing in particular has me completely baffled. It's cylindrical in shape, my knitting needles will fit through it and it has numbers on either end of it with a dial to change those numbers.

Stitch counter? Maybe?

I'm Doing It Again!!

I'm off to the malls again today or tomorrow. Why, oh why have I done this to myself?

Actually, this time it's not my fault. My father was admitted to the hospital yesterday with pneumonia and hasn't finished his shopping for my mom. So, to make sure that she has some presents on Christmas, I'm heading out to do the shopping for him.

I just hope and pray it's better out there today.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Was I Thinking??

We're getting right down to the wire for Christmas shopping. There are only 4 shopping days left and I don't have everyone done yet. I seriously have never left it this long. My stress level is rising by the day!

Friday we had our biggest snowstorm this year, which made it impossible to get out to do any shopping at all. Today is another huge storm, at least as big as the one on Friday. So, that made yesterday, Saturday the only viable shopping day this weekend. The last Saturday before Christmas, the only day this weekend where people could safely get out shopping.

So, I headed to the mall.

What was I thinking??

It's about an hour drive for us to get to any mall to shop. We live in a very remote community, out in the middle of God's country. My daughter and I hopped in the van yesterday and happily started towards our favourite mall.

My first clue was the backed up line of cars at the last set of lights before the mall turn. The cars were lined up all the block and around the corner. Yikes.

It took about 10 minutes or so to make it through that set of lights. Then a short jaunt into the parking lot and score a spot. No problem!

Inside the mall really wasn't that bad. There were a lot of people there, but everyone was in such a good mood! I was really quite pleasantly surprised. Everyone was smiling and laughing as we bumped into each other. It really was a very pleasant experience.

Then it was time to leave.

My daughter and I got into the van at 3:15.

We got out of the parking lot at 4:00.

I couldn't believe it! It was absolutely insane. I can't even begin to explain how crazy it was.

Really everyone was very patient and courteous. Everyone waited their turn and no one was overly aggressive. There were a few, but you'll always run into those.

Seriously, though. Forty-five minutes! Yikes!!!

Next year? No way, no how am I going anywhere near a mall on the last Saturday before Christmas. No way. No how.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Going To Rant A Bit

So, if you don't want to hear it, don't read any further.

A bit of background before I start. I've been selling on Etsy now as The Banner Queen for just over a year. I work very, very hard to keep a positive attitude and persona on the forums there. It has benefitted me immensely. I'm kind and courteous and above all I try to be helpful.

I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately.

I always click on the titles that say things like "Need Banner Help" and if I can, I offer what help is needed. I've even been known to take their banner, tweak it so it works and send it back to them, free of charge of course and move on with my orders.

What I've been seeing lately is this. Anytime there is a "Need Banner Help" there are a ton of helpful posts by other Etsy shops with links and whatnot. Then there are the rest. Those who sell banners and other design work who are just dropping links to their shops.

It's awful. I just cringe when I see these posts.

It's hard enough to not be seen as promoting myself no matter what I say, do or post in the forums due to the nature of my shop. But when the other shops are only thinking of themselves and their own self interests, it ends up looking bad for all of us. It's not right.

Please, if you design banners for Etsy shops, put yourself aside for one second and think of the person that is asking for help. Offer the help without a "Hey, look at me!" link drop. You will gain much more respect from the Etsy community and as a result likely more sales. Spam is spam, no matter how you cut it. It's gross, and no one likes it.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis The Season

Yesterday was Christmas concert time at both of my kids' schools. I do love this time of year. Kids' concerts are always so cute!

Because of a flash freeze last Wednesday, my daughter's concert had to be rescheduled to yesterday, which unfortunately was the same day as my son's concert. Luckily his school has two performances, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, so we were able to attend both concerts. I honestly don't know what I would have done otherwise!

Anywho, here is my son reciting his poem at his school

My son is the boy on the right in the white t-shirt.

And here is my daughter at her very first recital for music. She's in Grade 9 this year and decided that she wanted to play the flute. And really, she's gotten very good at it!

Please forgive the quality of the photo's. I seriously need a new camera! LOL!

All in all it was a wonderful day filled with amazing performances by all ages. I loved it all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Learning New Skills

I've been crocheting since I was about 5 years old. Which, in reality is a very, very long time. I don't even have to think about what I'm doing anymore. I can phase out and create while watching tv, talking to someone else, it really doesn't matter anymore.

Last night, I picked up knitting needles for the first time in my life.

OMG! I feel like I have three left hands and no thumbs!!

Since I've decided to concentrate on only making scarves now in my shops, I thought it would be nice to have a mix of crocheted and knitted scarves. Each has their own use and beauty and not everyone likes both, right? So, why not offer the best of both worlds and hopefully satisfy as many people as I can.

It's going to take a while before I have knitted scarves available in my shop! LOL!

I started with a basic stockinette stitch I think it's called? Anyway, you knit one row, purl the next. It's going pretty well, the stitches are nice and even and the tension is good. It's just taking a very, very long time! I worked on it last night for about 2 hours and got about 2 inches of the scarf done! LOL!

I did notice my speed increasing after a while, and I understand it's just going to take some time to become proficient at it. It's just so odd for me after crocheting for so many years.

As soon as I master this stitch, I'm going to work on a cableknit scarf. Now that's going to be nice!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So, it's almost Christmas time. Yikes! Do you know I don't have one thing bought yet?

So, we're off to brave the malls this close to Christmas.

It really bugs me that we've left it this long. It's really starting to stress me out. But what's even worse than not having any presents yet is that I'm not prepared!

I'm not in the Christmas spirit at all. I have none of the excitement and anticipation I generally have this time of year. It's like it's the middle of January for some reason.

Ah well, what's a girl to do? Christmas will come and Christmas will go with our without my spirit. ;)

So long as the kids have fun that's what's important.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Looking For A Canadian Supplier of Handmade Yarn

Well, as the title states, I am looking for someone in Canada (preferably even in Ontario) who makes their own yarn to build a professional relationship with.

I would honestly prefer alpaca, as wool makes me itch, but I'm open to trying anything. I have an alchemy request up on Etsy, but so far, no bidders.

If you or someone you knows spins and dyes your own yarn, please, let me know. Thank you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yesterday Was A Great Day!!

One might call it a banner sales day! Of course that would be a bad joke, since I'm talking about my day in The Banner Queen shop. ;)

After a relatively quiet week in that shop, I had 3 sales on Friday and 4 sales yesterday! My eyes darned near popped out of my head. Well, not really, but I was very excited! LOL!

Now if only Etsy had stats so I could find out where these sales came from. I do have some advertising out there in internet land, so it would be wonderful to know if the sales came from that, from Etsy searches, or just from my posting in the fora.

Ah well, I won't complain. Much. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Featured In Another Treasury!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am right now!

I was noticing a lot of views in my shop today, so just for snicks I went looking through the Treausries to see if I was in any other ones. Much to my intense joy I found that I was!

Thank you so much TheFreckledHound!! Be sure to stop by her shop. Her wall decals are stunning!!

Click on the image of the Treasury below to take a look at all the fuzzy goodness!

Argh! Networking!!

Blogs, Flickr, My Space, Facebook, Twitter, where does it end?

It's enough to make your head spin!!

So, where is the most effective place to market yourself? I don't know, do you?

I'm doing some research right now as to what is best. This is a new venture for me. In my Banner Queen shop, I don't have to do any of these things. I market myself on Etsy, throw a few ads out and about on some blogs and Craft Cult and that's it. It's a no work shop.

Of course MNH Designs is different. I need to get out there and make people notice me if I want to be a success. The problem is, everyone has a different idea of what networking site is best.

So, for now, I blog and I'm on Twitter.

Next I'm thinking about Flickr. I've been really getting into photography the last little while, so it seems like a good fit.

The problem is, how am I supposed to find enough time in the day to fit all those in?

Argh! ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm In A Treasury!

I'm so excited! I just listed my neckwarmer this morning and it's already been put into a treasury! Thank you so much mygreatauntsophie! Be sure to stop by her shop for New and Vintage Goodies from Around the World!

And don't forget to check out the treasury too! Just click on the photo and it will take you right there!

Now I'm dreaming of front page wonder! LOL!

Etsy and Artfire

There's been a lot of buzz about ArtFire on the Etsy forums. If you haven't been there yet, you really should go take a look!

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

I've been on there for just under a week now and I have to say, I'm loving it. I haven't had any sales yet, but really, the shop is very new.

So, what is exciting about ArtFire?

Personally, I love the fact that for right now, you can become a Charter Member and only pay $7 a month for life for unlimited listings. It's a fabulous way to start out your new shop. It's affordable for every budget.

They also have a referral system that is absolutely fabulous! If you refer 10 members to ArtFire, you will receive a Free membership for life! So, if you're thinking about signing up, don't forget to tell them that MNH Designs sent you! ;)

For me, though, the most exciting part of it is that I'm in on the ground floor of something that is going to be very big. The ArtFire staff has great plans to grow their site and become a success.

Now, what about my shop on Etsy? Am I planning on closing it? No way! Are you kidding me? Etsy is so much better known around. Yes, they have their issues right now. There are about a bajillion sellers on there and it's like being at the bottom of a big pile of successful sellers, trying desperately to crawl your way to the top. But I get more views in my Etsy shop for now that on ArtFire.

Etsy also has much better toys to play with for now. Like the Etsy mini. It's a fabulous promotional opportunity and free to boot!

I think it's a better idea to expand your online presence and list in as many places as your budget will allow. So, I will definitely be keeping both shops open.

Who knows, maybe MNH Designs will be the next big thing on both sites! LOL!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Extra Long Scarf In Blue

A brand new scarf in my shop, with my lovely daughter as the model again. ;)

I hope you like it. ;)

Snow Day!!

It's official! It's the very first snow day of the season for my kids. Actually, it's their very first snow day ever! Where we used to live, they walked to school, so they never got days off because of weather. They're so excited right now.;)

Actually, I'm pretty excited too, because that means my daughter will be home today. That means I will have my scarf model (you can see her in the photo's for The Browns) which means I can retake some photo's and list some more items. Yay!!!

Post Number One

You know, I always hate this very first post. What is one to write about?

I could introduce myself, but that's just boring!

So, I think I'll just ramble on a bit about what I could post and call it a day. ;)

Or better yet, you could give me suggestions! If you have a good idea of what I could post, let me know in the comment section. I'll take the wackiest suggestion (family friendly though!) and run with it.

Have fun!