Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April in the Yard

It is a pleasure for me to walk through our yard right now! God is so good to give us such a temperate climate, so many lovely things spring up from the earth year after year. Lots of rain but, oh my, when the sun comes out . . .

As you drive up and park . . .

walking up our front walk


Coming in the north side . . .

back yard, accompanied by Slippers . . .

Columbine volunteer!  Beautiful basket of gold.

Lavish rhodie . . .

So pretty!!

Sunlight creeping into the back garden . . .

Solomon's Seal in front and fennel's

feathery fronds in the raised garden

Heighth of the season for Epimedium . . .

Garden gate from back to south side yard . . .

Beautiful volunteer under the front window . . .

Deadheading needed but love the bridal veil

spirea, dark red of peony, tulips, narcissus and

grape hyacinths at the base of the Crepe Myrtle.

I see a rhubarb pie in the near future  . . .

Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mechanics of a Giveaway - featuring Handmade in Toronto

Last month I won something which was a first for me!!  I entered Etsy shop Handmade in Toronto's giveaway in early March.  My first contact with this beautiful Etsy shop was on March 3 when I was doing a Treasury http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTMxMzY3OTB8MjMzNzcxODc2Ng/spring-salmon.

 Kate's beautiful chainmaille necklace fit right into my Treasury theme:  Spring Salmon  http://www.etsy.com/listing/86477638/beaded-chainmaille-necklace-flame-orange?ref=tre-2337718766-7.  The more I looked at this lovely necklace the more I fell in love with it.  The lovely little amber beads caught in the chain, the stunning flame orange oval agate, the length of the necklace and drop, the beauty of the silver chain.  I started looking at her shop and the simplicity and  beauty of a her work.  She has a great eye for the balance of the colors in natural stone/glass and chainmaille.

I don't remember how I became aware the HandmadeinToronto giveaway - maybe the initial visit to her blog:  http://handmadeintoronto.blogspot.com/.  She was hosting a $25 Gift Certificate giveaway through rafflecopter, a new experience for me.  At first I looked at the 'Enter to win' and thought better of it, it seemed a little too invasive to give all this information to a strange website.  But as I thought of the beautiful necklace and my granddaughter Sarah, the more I decided it would be great to be able to subtract $25 off the price of a piece I thought she'd love.

So I entered.  I was initially confused (still am somewhat) at the request to leave information in Comments, not understanding whether this meant Rafflecopter comments or blog Comments.  I know I left them on the blog but I'm not sure I ever did on Rafflecopter.  In a later blog announcing the winner, I read that several people had trouble leaving comments.

I promoted the Giveaway by tweeting several times. Following the blog over the next couple of weeks, I couldn't tell how to track how many responders there were.  I waited hopefully and expectantly . . .


On March 20, I received notice that I HAD WON!!  YEAH!!  First win ever. 

In an email, Kate thoroughly explained the terms of my triumph, I had two years to order, I would pay shipping if the gift certificate didn't cover it, etc.

I had no trouble deciding what to do with my gift certificate - I was going to buy a gift!    And I couldn't resist adding the lovely silver orange, yellow, honey, red earrings from Kate's shop.

 I stumbled through the process of submitting my order, Kate patiently explained how how to pay, 
   "'Select "other" payment (below paypal) - not coupons
   Confirm your delivery address
   In the notes to seller - please insert your gift certificate number
   I then check this and the value
   I will then send you a paypal invoice for the balance"

In just a few days my package arrived!  Everything was in beautiful condition.  Included was a business card and instruction on how to care for my new jewelry.  A fabulous buy with my newly won $25 gift certificate.

Being a very happy winner, I'm very grateful to Handmade in Toronto for hosting this giveaway.


I'm wondering how many of you have hosted a giveaway, and would like to know about your experiences.  Did you use rafflecopter or something like it?  How would you rate it as a promotional tool?

I invite you to go to and visit Handmade in Toronto for other lovely items:   http://www.etsy.com/shop/handmadeintoronto.


Blessings and thank you again, Handmade in Toronto! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Etsy BeadWeaver Challenge

My Etsy shop profile says it best: I would never dreamed I would become a beader until a friend introduced me to bead weaving a couple of years back. To put beads on a string in single file did not stir up my creative side, but give me beads to weave together . . . kind of like my other two loves - perennial gardening and quilting . . .  and my mind takes off into many ways to combine shapes, sizes and colors to see what the end result will be!

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Etsy Shop SpringColors

Last month I took the exciting step of joining the Etsy Beadweavers Team. I feel very honored to be a part of this team of bead artists. Some of the jewelry items created are beyond belief - and when they say it takes hundreds of hours, I believe them. A few of my projects have taken 80+ and I enjoyed every moment.

The public is invited once a month to vote on the Etsy Beadweavers Team Challenge. Items made for the Challenge must not be made from a pattern or be a copy but must be an original.  This month the theme is "Seed Beads Only".  I invite you to take a look and vote on this outstanding group of entries:

Go to:  http://etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com/

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Etsy Shop LaPerLaA
Scroll down a bit to see the block of entries.  If you have time, it is worth it to click on each one which will give you more information.  Many are highly original pieces and the artist will describe in fascinating detail the process that brought it about.

Then vote for your favorite - that's all you have to do. You can use whatever criteria you like - it's beautiful, it's meaningful, you like the way the artist  describes it, etc., etc. You get to be the judge.

Etsy shop DeDealanDesigns

The winner has the honor of knowing their piece was seen by many people outside the team and the Etsy Beadweaver Team gets recognition for their art.

Etsy Shop KrisDesignFSP
Team members also vote on the same items in an internal election. The winner of the April election chooses the theme for the June Challenge.

Etsy Shop crimsonfrog

Etsy shop LostAloha won the March Challenge with this bracelet: 

Etsy shop LostAloha
on vacation until April 13

Right now I am working on the May Challenge, which is "Nautical Inspired".  I have already put in many many hours and am really looking forward how it will come together! Very exciting.

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Etsy Shop notsoplainbyjane

All items pictured on this post are from the Etsy Beadweavers Team; none of them are in the April Challenge so be sure to visit and vote!!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Piecing Together Words in an Easter Hymn

One of my favorite things to do as a church choir member is take the words of special occasion music and see how they are based in Christian scripture. It never ceases to amaze me at how blessed I am with this exercise. As we practice and perform the music the words become so much more than just beautiful phrases - they become life and light and nourishment to the spirit.

Here are a few phrases from our church's 2012 Easter music with scripture following:

Beneath the Cross of Jesus I find a place to stand,

And wonder at such mercy that calls me as I am.

For hands that should discard me hold wounds which tell me, "Come."

Beneath the Cross of Jesus my unworthy soul is won.

 Beneath the Cross of Jesus I find a place to stand,

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25

And when the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and how He died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15.39
The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at Him. They said, "He saved other; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."

And wonder at such mercy that calls me as I am.
. . . stop and consider God's wonders. Job 34:14
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32

For hands that should discard me hold wounds which tell me, "Come."
Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. John 20.27
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."  John 6:37 

Beneath the Cross of Jesus my unworthy soul is won.

I am unworthy. How can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth. Job 40:4
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. I Corinthians 15:9

He says that we must be born again.

Did you know He's even forgiving sins?

Would He do that for you and me?

Come and see.

He says that we must be born again.

Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family but a son belong to it forever. So if the Son set you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34-36

To all who received Jesus, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God, children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband's will but born of God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. John 1:12-14

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Did you know He's even forgiving sins?

Some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Take heart son; your sins are forgiven." Mathew 9:2
For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

Would He do that for you and me?

The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. I Peter 1:9
God our Savior wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. I Timothy 2:4

Come and see.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?"  Nathanel asked.
"Come and see," said Philip.

Sing to God a hymn of gladness;

Sing to God a hymn of praise.

Jesus Christ,the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead.

Sing to God a hymn of gladness; sing to God a hymn of praise.

They sang praises of gladness and bowed their heads and worshipped. 2 Chronicles 29:30b

Jesus Christ,the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead.
Lift up you head O you gates, 
be lifted up you ancient doors
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The Lord Almighty
He is the King of glory. Psalm 24:9-10

. . .listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it as impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.  Acts 2:22-24

I have the privilege of hearing the beautiful accompanying music when I read these lines. My hope for you is that these words bring music to your heart!!

Wishing you joy this Easter!!

Scripture quotes are from the New International Version of the Christian Holy Bible

"Come and See" written by Sue C. Smith, Kenna Turner West and Gina Vera
"Hallelujah!  Christ Is Risen" words and music by William Wordsworth, Tony Wood, Don Poythress and Chris Eaton
"Beneath the Cross" words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Featured items are from the Christian Artists Street Team, a team of Christians who are Etsy sellers.  See blog:  http://www.castteametsy.blogspot.com/