Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

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Black Friday, which refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving, which officially is the start of the Christmas shopping season. Thanks to the Macy’s Day Parade, which originated in NY City in 1924, once Santa Claus appeared at the end of the Parade, stores would begin to decorate, and people would start their shopping for Christmas. Tradition seems to move on though, as it seems each year stores start decorating earlier and earlier, and each one tries to outdo the other offering tremendous sales to draw the people to their particular store. The term “Black Friday” started sometime during the 1960’s, as many people tend to take the day after Thanksgiving off, and the sales begin. Not only are stores competing for business with their sales, but some start opening as early as 4 and 5 am.
Yes, I admit I was one of those nuts who ventured out at 5am with my son to join thousands of others rushing to take advantage of those early sales. After a quick cup of coffee, we barely had time to comb our hair and dress, before we headed to Best Buy, one of the biggest electronic stores in the US. My son bought a 42” HDTV (high definition TV), which now takes up half of his bedroom. We met some friends who were also out at that ungodly hour shopping, taking advantage of the “Black Friday” sales! By 7am, after standing on line after line, we finally were done. It is a strange feeling to leave the store to great the sun just waking up. After all that energy, we all took off to the diner for a big breakfast.
The Bloggers, one of my favorite teams on Etsy, not to be outdone by all those competing stores, are holding our own version of "Black Friday". Each shop is offering sales from today, Friday 11/28 to Monday 12/1. Hopefully we will have as much success as some of those stores today!
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H a p p y H o l i d a y s ! !The EtsyBloggers HOLIDAY S*A*L*E* is going on from Black Friday thru Cyber Monday!!That's Friday 11/28 thru Monday 12/1!!See a list of the 50+ shops having a SALE: http://etsybloggers.etsy.comH a p p y S h o p p i n g ! !☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆☆ ; ;:* ¨¨*:★:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Triumph and Tragedy Quilting Project Resumes!

Last January, what started off as a basic conversation on the Forums, turned into an idea about doing something special to commemorate the many historical Triumph’s and Tragedy’s that have affected a lot of us during this past decade. From there came the idea of assembling a quilt, which would involve many here on Etsy, by having each person who signed up, submit a quilt square that they felt either inspired or affected them personally. When I first opened up this idea to those on Etsy, I had a great many positive responses. I received quilt squares from Scotland, the UK, Alaska, and many states located right here in America; square’s ranging from Women’s Suffrage, The Oklahoma Bombing, Breast Cancer, Sept 11, 2001, Global Awareness, Adoption, Campus Shootings, and Pope John, just to name a few. As each person submitted their square which would become part of the quilt, I posted a picture of the block, as well as a write up of why that particular idea was chosen by the specific quilter. To view all of those submitted, or are unaware of the project, you can reference back through my many blogs which started last January 2008.
About two weeks ago, I received a convo from Gayle Williams,, whose beautiful contribution was called “American Has Heart”, asking what happened to the project. Sadly to say, that more than half of those who originally had signed up, had other commitments, and a few health problems. This left the dilemma of having too few quilt blocks to complete the Project. When I relayed this to Gayle, she immediately contacted her friend, Adriana, whose shop is,, and asked her if she was interested in helping finalize our Project. Adriana immediately responded to me and asked if she could do a square on Katrina.
The picture above is of her finished square, which came out beautifully. The devastation of Katrina has a special meaning to Adriana, as both of her parents lived in Gulfport, MS, and survived the tragedy that befell many others. Coincidentally, Adriana was speaking to her parents on her cell phone when the storm hit their home. After that brief call, all lines were lost do to the storm and she could not get in touch with her family; not knowing whether or not they survived. After a week, when she finally heard from her parents who lived just blocks from the beach, they stated that what they saw in the aftermath was worse than anything they had seen during World War II while living in Holland at that time. Adriana and her family came to this country when she was just 5 years of age. So not only is this square by Adriana a beautiful tribute to those whose lives were lost due to Katrina, but also a tribute to her parents who managed to survive this great Tragedy.
Thanks to Adriana, I am now able to complete the project. With the help of Marion Lake,, we have already assembled the squares for the Triumph Quilt; and now can finish sewing together the many memorable squares received for the Tragedy Quilt. Once that is completed, Marion and I will begin the batting, backing, then quilting for each Project. What was once just a thought will now be the completed Triumph and Tragedy Quilting Project. Again, thank you to Adriana for that final bit of help, and to all those (not forgotten) women on Etsy for their beautiful contributions.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Tis the Season

Christmas Pageant 2007

Christmas is just around the corner. The stores have had their decorations up already for a month now, while we scramble here and there, racking our brains on what to buy our dear ones.
Thank goodness, my kids are grown, so the many trips to the toy stores are out. Of course, they are not yet into the shirt and tie gifts yet either. T-Shirts, DVD's, video games, and perhaps if my budget allows, maybe "rock band." But this blog is really not about what I need to buy, but what I really should be doing for the Christmas holidays. So many lose the concept of Christmas as a time of giving, not receiving.
This year especially, that thought should be in the minds of so many, while the recession which we have been hearing about for months on the news, is finally hitting home. Just yesterday, one of our very own Blogger's was hit with the news that her husband will be losing his job before the holidays. What a devestation to them, as they now realize, Christmas will not be a joyous day of opening presents stacked high under the tree. Perhaps a few gifts will prevail, but the reality is, what they will find among the many cards arriving in their mailbox will be the many bills that will be mounting up, while they try to figure out to sort all of this. When this person told us all last evening about what is forthcoming for her holidays as her husband had just come home, it hit many of us hard. It could be anyone of us in her position.
Last night was my first experience on "Blockhead Radio", which I will talk about in another blog; but the plight of one of our Blogger's came up. My heart swelled as everyone immediately rushed to her shop to buy something, helping to boost sales and money, maybe enough to get them started down that long road ahead of them. Since I also knit and crochet (which I have done long before I started making my jewelry) I have so many half skeins of wool, of which some never used, are just sitting there waiting to be created into something. My thought was since this Blogger does crochet, she probably uses a lot of yarn, something which will now be a luxury to buy; was to send all my extra yarn to her so that she can continue her craft, and possibly generate more sales and income to help support her family during this Christmas season, which should be one of joy. So many of the other listeners, who are also Bloggers, said they too would send whatever extra wool and yarn they had. Her shop is Perhaps this year you could just possibly buy one less present, and use that extra money to purchase something from her shop, or send something that she can use towards her craft. If you convo "agoodwitchtoo" , she will provide you with her address.
It is a sad reflection of our times, as we look forward to a new beginning with a new President, that we also have to look forward to whether our not we, or our husbands, will be without a job or be able to have that special Christmas dinner you always look forward to. Or Perhaps your children will not really need all those gifts you would love to buy them. Did you ever look into a childs face who was hungry, and you hand them something to eat, even if it is just one little cookie, it means the world to them. So I ask that this year you remember the true meaning of Christmas, that of giving to others who are truly in need, and not expecting something in return. You will not only bring that extra star into their homes to light their tree, but you will feel that star light within yourselves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DIY Magazine Interview - Nov 2008

DIY City Magazine Blog


Today I want to introduce you to Pam of
Sara: Please tell me a bit about you and your background.
Pam: I am the person behind “MagdaleneJewels”, Pamela Baker; although my kids and all their friends call me Pammy; on Etsy, I am know as Mags, MJ or Magdalene. Now about me personally, I have been single for many years, raising 3 children, Kelly, Keith and Ryan who now, as adults, have grown into their own person. My daughter Kelly has been married for 2 years, of which I have a few pictures from her wedding on Flickr. I have lived in Scarsdale, New York for my whole life (moving exactly one mile when I was married). I was raised by my grandparents, who were the nicest people, and were always accepting of anyone they met. I think that is where I get my easy going personality from, never judging anyone, accepting them for who they are.
S: How did you get into arts and crafts?
P: For as long as I can remember, I have always had a creative nature within. My first memory is of my little 6” high sewing machine, which I would create my own doll clothes. No pattern for me, I would just lay my doll whatever fabric I had (sometimes my Grandmother’s beautiful silk and lace blouses) and just cut away. To this day, I still do not know how to use a pattern. As I got older, I started embroidering, crocheting, knitting, and quilting; all of which I taught myself and still love to do. Actually, I didn’t start designing jewelry until about two years ago. Truthfully I didn’t even know what a crimping bead was; but somewhere in my mind it was something I wanted to attempt. The first time I walked into a bead shop and saw all the beautiful colors of crystals, I was hooked. My favorite shop, located in Nyack, NY, which is a 15 minute drive going across the Hudson River, not only has the most beautiful colors of crystals (ones I can’t find any where else), but Judy and Grace who run the shop, have both been my mentors. I use Swarovski Crystals for most of my pieces; I love the various reflections the crystals give off when gleaming in the sun.
S: Do you sell your work? What inspires you when making your jewelry?
P: Although I have a shop on Etsy:, I primarily do a lot of custom orders, and craft shows. Recently, I started showing my work on YouTube; creating my own videos, which has also increased my custom orders: (don’t forget to turn the volume on!)
It is hard to explain where my inspiration’s come when designing one of my pieces. There are many days when I look at the beads sitting there, and just can’t decide what I should create. Then somewhere in my head I get a vision of something; colors and design all worked out for me. I immediately set to work creating the vision I have. As my children will tell you, it is not uncommon to find me at 4am sitting in bed beading away. At times I will also see a beautiful pendant on Etsy made by one of my friends there, and immediately know what I would create with that piece. Of course, I have to purchase the pendant first, and anxiously await to receive it so I can start working on what I have envisioned with that piece.
S: I know that you are a very passionate crafter, often highlighting other causes through your craft blog…why is this work so important to you?
P: For those of you who read my blog, you will find my main passion, which is writing. Thanks to Sara, from Sara’s Crafts of Texture, I have had many articles published. I usually have to be totally passionate about what I am writing about. About 10 months ago, I started a quilting project called, “Tragedy and Triumph”. My main objective, which I have written about often, is to bring to light the Tragedy’s and Triumph’s which historically have affected so many of us in this generation. The quilt is made up of many quilted blocks contributed by Etsy quilter’s. They have designed a quilt square either commemorating something which may have touched them from their own personal experience, or something that may have affected all of us, whether “Tragic” or “Triumph”. I hope to have this project finished within a few weeks. I have also been quite involved along with another Estian, Diane Clancy, in bringing to everyone’s attention “The Orphan Act”. This is a Bill which Congress tried to pass this past April, which would affect almost every artist: painter, quilter, jewelry designer, photographer, etc. whose work they may put on the internet. If this Bill was passed into a Law, it would negate any of these artists to own their own work. Unless we buy “copyrights” to our own work, it becomes the property of anyone who chooses to copy or use it for their own purpose. After many petitions being circulated and many articles making people aware of this Bill, as of August 2008, “The Orphan Act” has been shelved.
S: Do you have any other interests?P: In between all of this, I am also member of a local theater group as their costume designer, as well as having had a few small parts in some of their plays. One could say it is a family tradition. My mother joined this same theater group in the 1950’s. When my daughter joined about 8 years ago, as an actress and stage manager for many of their shows, it was only natural that I would follow their footsteps into the theater. One can kind of say that I have joined forces in my work, while designing the costumes, I have also designed jewelry pieces for some of the actresses to wear on stage.

by: Sara Millis of Sara’s Texture Crafts.
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November 8th, 2008
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The Filigree Garden
What a pleasant surprise to see my Etsy team mate and her lovely jewelry featured here! Nice to learn more about Pamela.November 9th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem


As we ask for God's Peace, my only thought of is the violence and persecution of Catholics that is currently going on right now in India. India has long been known as a Hindu country, primarily in the Northeast part of India near Tibet, which is largely Hindu. For centuries, Catholic Missionaries have gone to the region to try to convert some of those interested in the Catholic religion. Many wars have been fought to prevent this, but as time passes, the people have become more tolerant towards other religions.
About a month ago, Hindu terrorists began a campaign to destroy all traces of the Catholic religion in that region of India. Catholic Churches and homes of many Catholics are being burned to the ground (see photos). Many priests are being killed, as well as many Catholics who continue to practice their religion.
Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. Fr. Chellen had this horrifying experience to share with Catholic News Service: “A gang of about 50 armed Hindus beat us up and led us like culprits along the road in what they referred to as the ‘Crucifixion Parade’ and led us to the burned pastoral center. “They then poured kerosene on my head, and one held a matchbox in his hands to light the fire. But thanks to divine providence, in the end, they did not do that. Otherwise, I would not have been there to tell this horror,' the 55-year-old priest, director of the pastoral center at Konjamendi in the Indian state of Orissa, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from his hospital bed Aug. 28.When the Hindu mob of 50 people broke into the pastoral center around noon that day. Father Chellen said he fled through the backyard with another priest and a nun. The terrorists then grabbed the 20 yr old noviate (one training to become a nun) while teaching was dragged from her school, to the center of the town, stripped and raped her in front of everyone, and set her ablaze while alive (see the photo). Young children are being burnt while still living in their homes.
Currently the burning of Catholic Churches has spread to the South of India which is primarily Catholic, and where I have many friends living there. I worry and pray for their safety, as these terrorists continue their journey of destruction. I asked my friend who is from South India, and is presently living here why the Government of India is allowing this. His response was “they turn their heads, as the Government is primarily made up of Hindu’s”.

*****Please visit this site :"Blog for Peace"