Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Tribute to John Lennon

ATribute to John Lennon

I think in my lifetime there stands three moments in which time stood still; one of those moments that becomes indelible in our minds and our souls. I am sure we can all remember exactly what we were doing that exact second when we heard the words: “Our President, John F Kennedy has been shot”; “John Lennon has just been shot in front of the Dakota, and died on the way to the hospital”; and the incident that changed the world, hearing “A plane has just hit the Twin Towers” – the day of Sept 11. It is these three tragedies that caused within me a fear, heartbreak, numbness that I will always carry with me.

Today, December 8th, marks the 30th Anniversary of that tragic evening when John Lennon, returning from a late night of recording, was gunned down in front of his home, The Dakota, with his bloodied glasses and a copy of his just released album Double Fantasy, which he had just signed for “a fan”, laying next to him. How ironic that all he ever wanted was Peace, as he sang “Give Peace a Chance”; or “Imagine” asking us to “Imagine there's no heaven, no hell below us, above us only sky, Imagine all the people living for today…” – it was all he ever asked for, only to be destroyed against all that he was asking us to believe in.

Born in Liverpool, England, on October 9, 1940 during a German attack with air sirens all around, everything had grounded to a standstill almost destroying most of Liverpool that night. It wasn’t long after that that John took up the guitar to fill the void of loneliness in his life. Although we always think of John Lennon as the fighter and the rebel of the Beatles, within, he was truly shy and very self-conscious. Never really wanting the fame that brought him to us and which ultimately took him away from us. In New York he found the quietness he was seeking, and where he retired from writing and performing; living the sheltered, peaceful life he was always seeking. It was only 3 months before his death, that a renewal of life took over and he start recording his first album in years “Double Fantasy” – I always thought it ironical as I listened to that album over and over that day, that the main song was “Starting Over” singing… “Our life together is so precious, our love still special…it’s just like Starting Over again”. It is almost like he had a premonition of what was to come.

In an interview just weeks before his meeting with John Chapman, John Lennon spoke these words: “You know..give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace. All we need is love – it’s damned hard, but I really believe it. Were not the first to say “Imagine no countries, or give peace a chance, passing it on from generation to generation”…”I’ve never claimed divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answer to life. I can only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can, but only as honestly as I can – no more – no less”.

“You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one – I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” May he find the peace and tranquility in the heaven he was seeking all his life.

**I highly recommend anyone who is a true John Lennon fan, read Philip Norman’s book, “John Lennon, The Life” – you will learn the truth behind the man we all looked to for a peaceful world.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Traditions and Sales


Traditions are always important especially during the Christmas/Holiday season!
For as long as I can remember - Thanksgiving Day started my mother getting up at 6am to start cleaning the very large turkey; preparing it so it could get in the oven and cook for the next 8 hours! In the meantime my grandmother would be preparing the stuffing, which I always had to help myself to as she was making it. Of course, while the adults were in the kitchen - my sister and I could be found fixated on watching the Thanksgiving Day parade down Fifth Ave (NY) - but it wasn't until the finale when Santa appears in his sleigh to the delight of all the children, myself as well - that the Christmas season was officially started! The following Monday was the lighting of the 70' Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, that one would begin their shopping. Right across the street from Rockefeller Center (30 Rock to those watch the show) was Saks Fifth Ave. A trip to Christmas land in the City would not be complete without viewing the magical windows at Saks. In the 50+ years that I have been going down their - they have ceased to amaze me the creativity to detail in ; their "Storyland" windows.
Once I started my own family - this tradition has continued. Waiting ever so patiently for the awaiting of Santa at the end of the Thanksgving Parade which meant - it is officially the "Christmas Season". And then of course a visit to view the tree at Rockefeller Center.
Like I said at the beginning - Traditions are always important. I refuse to be taken in by the advertisements on TV, sales starting in Sept, and now the many ads and sales on the internet offering major sales (for the past few months) - I do not shop or take advantage of the consumer sales until Santa arrives at the end of the Parade and it is officially the Christmas season. For those that don't understand this yearly traditions from days past - I suggest you watch the "original" "Miracle on 34th St" which features Natalie Wood as the little girl who questions the miracles of Christmas. It has been showcased every year on Thanksgiving Day!

So in this Tradition, I will be offering sales in both shops (15% off any item) once Santa stands in his sleigh at the end of the Parade to announce the beginning of the Christmas season. Even with all the Sales, Music, Decorations, Christmas movies, etc- let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November's Bbest Featured!


I have long admired Tessa's beautiful Floral Paintings, most of which are hand painted on silk.  The Yellow Pansy above is a print from one of her original silk paintings.  Besides her beautiful Silk Paintings, one will find hand painted Silk Scarfs, Ties, and finely painted Floral Pendants in her shop

Many of Tessa's work can be found hanging in Westminster Gallery, England.  She is also a Member of "The Society of Women Artist's" and "The Society of Floral Paintings.  (see her add on the sidebar of this blog).


My other featured artist of the Month is Yankee Girl
A true "JerseyGirl", Yankee's (Carol) beautiful paintings in her shop include her beautiful hand painted Flowers, as well as Seascapes, and photos.  One of my favorite photo is the "Floating Daisy" (above),  which coincidentally is currently hanging in my dining room!

Of course, when one thinks of Carol's work, the first painting that comes to one's mind are her infamous Hydrangea paintings.

Carol also has another shop, "This Girls Stuff" which is a treasure trove of vintage items.  An example is this beautiful Limoges dish of Orange Poppy's.  Visit her shop at    (see Yankee's ad on the sidebar of my blog).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something to Think About

Today a friend from Etsy wrote on her blog that many times things just seem to get to much. We tend to overload ourselves and then find it is time to clean house (so to speak).

These are my thoughts about life when things seem to overwhelm us:

There are many times in our lives when we have days when we feel like we just don't fit in. Life seems to much - we revolve around in circles only to wind up where we left off. You are right - we are not computers where we can just push a "delete" button - we are people with feelings, a heart, a soul. People who have friends and family that will always be there for us are what is important.  Often we discover that there are those who take too much of our time and space for their own . If cleaning house and remembering those who are important in our lives, and reach out to them, we will succeed in a more positive light.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lamby make his Stage Debut!

The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf!

My little Lamb from my shop : , makes his first stage debut in the “Trial of the Big Bad Wolf”. Sponsored by the Montclair, NJ, Playhouse.  In the play, the Wolf – for the first time in Nursery Rhyme history is put on trial for all his atrocities – that being, chasing Little Red Riding Hood through the woods and finally eating her grandmother; blowing down the houses of the Three Little Pigs in the hope of catching them for a good meal; the ‘Boy who Cried Wolf’; to his every waking moment of trying to capture the innocent little sheep in many of the Mother Goose’s tales. Well, enough is enough, and the various characters have decided to fight back and put “Mr. Wolf” on trial.
There at the trial you can see many of his offended characters sitting in the Gallery waiting to testify! One of which is Mrs. Shepherd, played by my daughter Kelly, holding her Baby Lamb (in his debut role!) sitting in the Courtroom Gallery, while admonishing the little shepherd who should have been watching the Baby Lamb.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Etsy Shop Review: RandomCreative

Random Creative:” is the creative of a talented artist names Rose. Her shop is aptly named with her many “creative” pieces of jewelry; ranging from button earrings and bracelets, necklace, and her own personally designed jewelry patterns. According to Rose, she chose the name “RandomCreative”, “because I have always enjoyed making random creative projects using all different colors and materials. I enjoy beads and buttons of all kinds and am always finding new ways to work with them.”

I enjoyed viewing Rose’s shop which is a treasure trove of many unique, colorful, whimsical jewelry creations of imagination. One will find a variety of her talented use of many different beading techniques, such as, beadweaving, peyote stitch, square stitch, and her many uses of buttons in her jewelry designs.

My favorite is her “Easter Morning” bracelet, designed using a peyote stitch then embellished with Czech glass flower beads, creating what Rose calls “a creative path to the flower garden”.
Another unique feature which found in her shop are a few of her own unique patterns which she sells and can be downloaded in a pdf format to your own computer.

Besides being a very active member of our EtsyBloggers; Rose is also a member of the “Etsy Beadweavers” team. If you wish to learn more about Random Creative, you are invited to view her many other sites, such as:
My blog:

Interested in subscribing to my monthly newsletter? Send me a convo with your e-mail address!
If you hurry you can catch many of Rose’s “RandomCreative” items currently on sale in her shop for the EtsyBloggers “Christmas in July” sales. With any purchase from her shop during the month of July, the buyers will also receive a FREE pair of her Fourth of July button earrings.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Interview by KimberlyNoland

'm sharing the love to some on my favorite Etsy shops! Check out my custom handmade dress shop at

Fresh Spring Crystal Jewelry at MagdaleneJewelsApril 26, 2011 //4

Explain your shop and what you sell.Actually I have two shops on Etsy MagdaleneJewels The shop consists of all one of a kind pieces of jewelry – all created and designed by myself, Pamela Baker.

My other shop consists of hand crocheted items, such as baby sweaters, dresses, hats, maryjanes, scarfs, neckwarmers, and fingerless gloves.

How did you get started?Often when I would go into a boutique shop I would see a piece of jewelry and think to myself – “I could make that”. Many of the pieces I would wind up making for myself; and when a friend would see it and asked where I got it from – I would just give it away. Then I started creating pieces as gifts for friends or myself. A friend suggested that I should sell my jewelry (which was something I had never even thought about). She was selling quilts on Etsy and suggested I look into opening my own shop.

What are your inspirations?I have always been into music, and very often there may be a song which becomes a part of me or my life and consumes my whole being. The Beatles music and philosophy have had a great influence in many of my pieces. Since I always have music playing, I often will hear a song and in my mind I begin to visualize certain colors and designs – hence a creation comes forth.

Is selling on Etsy your full time job?I stopped working 7 years ago, unfortunately having to go on disability. I never look at designing my jewelry as a job, nor do I have a set goal on how much I should sell or be selling. I view my work as an extension of myself and my creativeness.

What are your favorite materials or colors to use?Looking at my shop, one can tell that I primarily work with Swarovski Crystals. I love the colors that evolve as the light shines through each piece. My favorite colors that I work with are pinks, reds (Siam), black, and various colors of purple. I love things that are very feminine.

Explain your design process from idea to completion.I honestly never know what I am going to create when I start. When I go into the bead shop where I buy my crystals – a certain color may catch my eye and I will buy various sizes (mm) of that color. From there I let the crystals talk to me; then I will lay out all the beads and visualize what I wish to make – that being a pair of earrings, necklace, and bracelet. From there I decide what will enhance each piece, whether it is a crystal in a contrasting color, Bali beads, pearls, or seed beads. Once that is all assembled, I begin to let my thought process take over and design a creation that often reflects my own personality.

Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?I do a few craft shows each year, which are always seasonal. There are two particular shows I do at Christmas, and a few during the Spring and early summer. In fact, I have a show coming up in a few weeks, which does take a lot of planning and preparation.

What’s your best/most successful marketing strategy?Showing my work on Facebook has been a tremendous help in marketing my jewelry. I have gotten many requests for custom items from someone seeing a certain piece. Also, I highly recommend if you are on Etsy to do Treasury’s. Often a shop that you may have featured will in turn feature a certain piece from your shop which gets you a lot of exposure. Also, I love doing YouTube Videos of the many Treasuries I have made. I also have done YouTube videos of pieces within both my shops and emailed them to friends, which has gotten me many custom orders. Besides making the videos, I try to find the perfect music to enhance the pieces from the Treasury being featured. This is a link to my Channel of a video honoring John Lennon.

Do you have any business regrets?None, as again I don’t consider what a do as a business, but purely enjoyment.

What’s your best selling item and why?My favorite piece is my necklace “The Rose” from the song by Janis Joplin. It truly exemplies my personality. Since each piece is a one-of-a kind design, it is hard to define which would be my best selling item. In my shop I feature “personalized” bracelets. Just within the past 1 ½ yrs I have sold over 40 custom bracelets – each according to the color requested and the name. One can see different samples of the bracelets in the adjoining photos to the original shown HERE

What’s your favorite product and why?
I love to work with the Swarovski Crystals because of the beauty of its colors which are always enhanced when worn in a certain light.

What’s the hardest part of running your own business?Because all my pieces are my own creations and designs, I do find that every once in a while I experience a
“brain freeze”, or as you say a “rut”. When this happens I take time to work on my crocheting and knitting for a while for my other shop:

What advice would you give to people starting their own shop?Believe in yourself and your work, the rest will fall into place. If you are new to Etsy, I highly recommend that you join a team similar to what you are selling or your interests. I have made many dear friends from the different teams I have joined.

What are your upcoming shop goals?As in both shops, one has to be aware ahead of time of the upcoming seasons and Holidays. As each season evolves I move around my pieces to coordinate with that season. As of now I am showcasing a lot of “wedding” pieces and light colors for Spring and Summer.

What does handmade mean to you?To me handmade should be items that are the creation and design made personally by the owner of a particular shop. I find that what one puts into their work reflects in each piece they exhibit in their shops. I often find many shops that indicate “homemade” items, that are items being resold (using the term Vintage).

Who do you admire professionally?I truly admire many of the artisans I have met here on Etsy, one who can take a piece of clay and create a beautiful flower; many of my yarns are from a seller who shears her own sheep, spins and hand dyes her own yarns; another friend here on Etsy makes their own metals from the melting process to the most beautiful pieces of artwork. To me these are true “artisans”!

How do you get out of your creative ruts?As I mentioned earlier, when I find I am creatively in a rut, I put my work away, turn up my music and start working on another project, such as my quilting, drawing, crocheting, and knitting.


A Few of My (Kim) Favorite Pieces I think I’m a little bias to the extra sparkly pieces, but her shop has such a great range of options for every occassion!

***Visit Kimberly blog to see some more great and indepth interviews with some of our other Etsy artists! /

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CreateCrochet Spring Challenge

As we are finally beginning to see the first signs of Springs, crocuses popping up, birds chirping, buds on the trees, I would be totally remiss if I did not mention a few of the beautiful Spring entries in our March Challenge. The Challenge was our team’s way of welcoming Spring with different categories: Spring – rebirth, babies, flowers, etc. - Easter – bunnies, chicks, eggs, chocolates, etc. - Artist – take any artists’s painting/work as your muse and use similar color palettes or interpret their design in your work.

So starting with our first group, Spring:  Courtney's creation from her shop: submitted this colorful “Fleur Baroque Blanket" with its crocheted border truly caught my eye with it deep pink color and design. As Courtney says, she absolutely loves to crochet, – which is evident when viewing the many items in her shop featuring one of a kind hand-crocheted designs and patterns inspired by her own artistic interests.

What woman wouldn’t look stunning and sophiscated wearing this Hand Crocheted Rayon Raffia Woman’s Hat by  (love this name)! I would love wearing any of the fashionable hats that are sold in this shop. How many of use throw away old sweaters or blankets; well this is one designer who has saved and recycled the yarns to crochet these very different and unique hats. As Betty says, “not another person on earth will ever have a hat, sweater, cowl or scarf like the one I just made!”

I have long been a fan of DesertCrochet’s patterns, each photographed with a beautiful little infant, which only enhances the finished product of her patterns. If you haven’t visited Rebecca’s shop yet, I highly recommend any crocheter to visit this shop:, Her entry, “Princess Coming Home” - a lilac cocoon with a little hat would welcome any newborn home. I had to add this picture of my grandson and his little cousin wearing their “Monkey Hats” which Rebecca crocheted especially for them!

This adorable little crocheted headband with its hand crocheted flowers would make any young girl smile on a beautiful Spring day!
The shop:  is filled with a treasury of patterns for your little ones. As Tricia goes about her very busy day as a mom, she is continually thinking of new designs which she writes with a new crocheter in mind. Her patterns are written with easy to understand instructions, and is glad to offer any help needed with her patterns.

Even with Spring’s sun bursting forth, we still have a few cool days left. Julie’s “Spring Garden” baby Blanket is perfect to wrap your around your little one. Julie’s shop
 besides her adorable blankets, is filled with precious children’s little dresses, sweater, and hats. Crocheting for over 40 years, she is never without her yarn and crochet hook. As a breast cancer survivor, she gives special praises to God for her many blessings.

Of course we could not think of Spring without it little bunnies bursting forth and hopping into our hearts. I couldn’t resist smiling when I saw “Yarnabee’s” two little bunnies, both a perfect size for those your little one to find in their baskets on Easter morning. Her shop:  is a treasure trove of the cutest crocheted animals. Her love of crocheting is found in her own words: “My hope is when I create my items that they will be given to someone that will cherish it and keep it as a family Heirloom to be passed on like those cherished Teddy Bears my sons have had for years. I create every item with love and joy and hope that's what they will bring to you.”

Who couldn’t resist this precious little Easter “Chickie” Hat from the shop
Each adorable item in this shop are custom made by Alessandra, a stay-at-home mom who found a way to supplement her income with her crochet skills which she learned from her Grandma when growing up in Brazil.

I also loved this little bunny “Silver” with his carrot, from the shop of Mamta:
Mamta, which mean’s “mother’s love”, who although she lives in Mumbai, India, has taken on the task of being our CreateCrochet team leader. She recently upgraded her shop from her very colorful crocheted flowers, to creating patterns for all of us to enjoy. Her work is exactly as she describes herself, “colorful, vibrant, unconventional, enthusiastic, and full of energy & variety!”

Although we are all artists, we come to the last part of our Spring Challenge which was to create something inspired by a favorite painting or artist.

Inspired by the impressionist painter, Monet’s “Morning on the Seine”, this absolutely beautiful shawl (poncho) is the creation by Sheila, whose shop,  I can't even begin to describe how beautiful this is. Button it and it's a poncho, wear it open and it's a shawl! Working with many different textures and colors, Sheila has created some beautiful pieces; and now as a stay-at-home mom, she is able to indulge her passion of creating most her own designs while experimenting with some very unique art fibers.

Since I have been very young, admiring a print of my Great Grandmother’s by the artist, William Bouguereau (which I now own), I became a passionate follower of his artwork. Many prints of which one will find hanging on my walls. My inspiration for this Victorian Scarflette, was Bouguereau’s painting “LaTricoteuse” (The knitter). My shop:, is a mixture of baby items, scarf’s, neck warmers, and infant Maryjane’s, all of which reflect my passion for all that is feminine and antique. I love using a pattern and then redesigning it to my own personal interpretation.

Finally, I wish to mention this very unique idea called a “Ponshawl”. The inspiration for this Lilac Ponshawl is Marianne of The versatility of this shawl is its ability to become a cover for a mother-to-be. Marianne hopes to soon incorporate shawls which will make it possible for a mother to breast feed very discretely. A perfect gift for a Baby Shower for the mother. A visit to Marianne’s shop one will find some beautifully crocheted items such as scarf’s, hats, fingerless gloves, and more shawls. Why the name “daisyadaycrochet”? Well, you will have to read her profile to find a beautiful love story behind the title!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Springtime at MagdaleneJewels

A few Springtime favorites from my shop!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Christmas Pageant

Nativity Scene

Although most of you know me through my Crochet and Jewelry shops here on Etsy; once December starts, and we are all thinking of what Christmas items to put in our shops, I am busy getting ready for our annual Christmas Pageant in our Parish. I started the Pageant about 20 years ago, and it is still something I truly look forward to each year. Although I get much joy out of participating in putting the Pageant together, it is the children that make each year just a little different and a lot more enjoyable. It is also rewarding to see my daughter, Kelly, who was still in elementary school when I started the Pageant, as our Director for the past few years.

Baby Jesus
We usually begin the planning in early December, and as always, every parent wants their child to be the star of the show! Once all the main characters are chosen (Mary, Joseph, The Wisemen, Angels, Shepherds, etc.), without any hurt feelings or comments from some parents; the practices begin. Once all the parts are assigned, I then have the job of making sure each child has their costume and that it fits. This year for the first time, our little angels were only 3 and 4 yrs of age, which meant a lot of alterations! Once all the costumes are given out, my daughter takes over as Director. Somehow she has a special way with these little children; and by the end of the first practice miraculously they all seem to know their parts and when to be on stage.

The Little Angels

The older children get the main parts, which gives the younger children an incentive to look forward to each year. In fact, little Zachary (my grandson) graduated from playing "Baby Jesus" last year to a little "toddling" Shepherd (while drinking his bottle)! I should mention that our youngest participant this year was not quite 4 weeks old, playing the "Infant Jesus." We also have a wonderful Children's Choir who do all the singing throughout the play. As with any play, once the children put on their various costumes, their whole demeanor changes. They suddenly assume the role they are portraying. A lot of credit goes not just to the Director, but to the small group of parents who dedicate themselves each year working on the Pageant. It is this team work that makes our Pageant so successful. The success is well noted as the Narrators (children from grades 5-7) begin to tell the story of the Nativity, and you look at the smiles on the faces of each parent.

Little Shepherds

Zachary, as the tiny Shepherd

Although our little angels, who I said were only 3 and 4 years old, completely steal the show; the other children are so professional, while they kneel so reverently as they portray, Mary and Joseph, from the time they are approached by the Angel Gabriel, to the birth of Jesus, and the arrival of The Three Wisemen. The final scene is the little Drummer Boy’s who walk so very slowly down the center aisle playing their drums while the choir sings ‘The Little Drummer Boy,". The most adorable thing is not only watching them, but watching the little angels singing their hearts out – “pa rum pum pum pum”. I could continue talking about the beauty of our little children in the Pageant, but the pictures tell it all.

The Little Drummer Boy's