Thursday, June 23, 2011

A gift guide for the animal lover in your life

As a pet owner, I love tearing into a present to find that someone has thought of our little guys (or not so little Rockford).  I've found some awesome handmade items on ArtFire that would make excellent gifts for that animal lover in your life.  So go explore these wonderful studios and find that perfect gift! 

*  If your loved one has a rescued pet, help them show him/her off with a nifty hand stamped rescued tag set.  These attach easily to a collar or even a carrier for small pets.
Copyright RockBug

A fun and fabulous hat from SpoiledBratzwear:  I actually have a SpoiledBrazwear hat for our guinea pig, Kumar.  It's really cute and we're lucky that Kumar's a good sport about it. 


A custom piece of artwork featuring a favorite pet:  This would be great for any pet owner.  We all love our pets, whether they have fur, feathers or scales.  And CherilynnFineArt  does a little bit of everything.

*  And don't forget the feline parents out there.  A great catnip toy by FreyasFire is just the ticket for that cat lover.  You won't find these cute and unique toys in any store. 


*  A Dirty Dog Grooming set by essensu will help keep your loved one's pup smelling great.  If your friend/family member has a dog like Rockford who enjoys playing outside, they'll appreciate having some luscious shampoo around.

There are so many wonderful items that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5.  I may have to do a second edition of this one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kumar and I weigh in on the Iris pet carrier

I recently purchased this Iris carrier for my guinea pigs.  After reading all the reviews I could find, I realized that there wasn't a lot of info available for small animal owners.

My little ones travel quite a bit as some of my vets are pretty far away.  So I'm always concerned about their safety and comfort.  The lid that can be opened completely was especially appealing to me.  Kumar took this out for a spin during his last trip to the vet.  Here's what we found:

Ventilation:  I checked the ventilation several times throughout the day and it was quite good.  However, we were traveling in a car, making things a bit easier to control.  Traveling with guinea pigs in warm weather can get very tricky, you should always take precautions.

Space:  19.2 X 13 X 12.2 inches  There's more than enough room for 1 guinea pig, 2 if they get along well.  Kumar had enough room to walk around and plow through his hay throughout the trip.
Construction/Security:  The plastic seems pretty durable.  The handles are more sturdy than I expected.  The main latches aren't as heavy as I would like but they seem to hold up well.  It's deep enough that even when Kumar stood up, he couldn't reach the top.

Ease of use:  This carrier is very easy to use.  The main lid made it easy to get Kumar in and out.  The smaller lid on the left is great for checking in on him and the little cubby hole on the right is nice for taking notes to the vet.  I also like that since it's all plastic, you can clean it easily.

Comfort:  Kumar was very comfortable and content but he's also an experienced traveler.  I had to toss the little piece of carpet that came with the carrier though.  I lined ours with a little fleece pad that I had on hand.

Overall:  I like this carrier, for our needs.  It's spacious without being difficult to carry and maneuver.  If you're looking for a carrier for your cavy or other small pet, you might want to check this one out.  Shop around for the best price though, I found ours for $20 online.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My journey to a Kindle

I was reluctant to buy an e-reader.  I love paper books; the smell, the experience of picking one out in the library or bookstore and even the wonderful *shhhp* sound of a page turning.  I enjoy the thrill of tearing into the mail when I find a used book that I've requested on  Each book seems to have a personality of its own and a life that I'm now a part of. 

My family and I pitched in to get my mother a NOOK as a gift and shortly thereafter, I started to envy her constant access to books.  Also, I'd noticed that the price of paper books were quite high and becoming a hindrance to my reading.  Something had to give, so began my journey into researching e-reader devices.

After considering features, prices and the ongoing costs of e-books, I decided on the Kindle Wi-Fi.  The transition hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  I still get lost in the stories I read and I don't miss turning the pages as much as I thought I would.  And I love checking out the free list when I can.  Sometimes I hit the lottery and find a great book or discover a new author that I like. 

 I bought this nifty cover from ByNanasHands on ArtFire.  She has a great selection here.
I still read quite a few paper books but I no longer pay for them.  If there's a book I just can't wait for, I'll download it.  Otherwise, I put it on my wish list on the swap site. 

I've already saved money with my Kindle.  The e-book versions are usually cheaper than the paper ones, plus I have access to loads of free books.  So if you're considering an e-reader but are afraid that you'll miss paper books, it's not that bad, I promise. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Featuring JoyciesJems

I really enjoyed exploring JoyciesJems handmade jewelry studio.  Her beautiful lampwork beads immediately caught my eye.  This sterling silver glass lampwork bracelet is a wonderful example of her work.  She has a great eye for colors and it shows in this piece.

On her bio page, she includes lots of info on how her jewelry and beads are made.  It really gives you a sense of how much work goes into each of her pieces.  Joyce finds inspiration in the mountains and sea around her.  I love reading about what inspires other artisans, it makes their work so much more personal.  

She offers international shipping, so even though JoyciesJems is located in Australia, we can all purchase her gorgeous creations.  

So go check out JoyciesJems, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Featuring Ellymm on ArtFire

Another member of the You Can Sell It Guild, Ellymm, has a unique mixture of items in her studio. One thing that jumped out at me, while I was exploring her studio, was her energy. It seems that she's up for just about anything!

Her beaded necklaces are gorgeous and eye catching.  If earrings are more your style, she has a variety of those too. These 2 sets really stood out to me, black with silver wire work earrings and gold wire wrapped earrings.

I especially love her Vintage Jewelry section. This vintage Gold Fish Brooch from the 50's, is one of my favorite items from Ellymm's studio.

So drop by Ellymm and have fun exploring all the fun items that she offers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ArtBySunfire on ArtFire

This week's featured artisan is ArtBySunfire.  I had so much fun exploring her studio.  She offers unique and useful items.  And who couldn't use a little help staying organized?  

These Recipe Card Boxes are so lovely that you can feel confident displaying them out on your kitchen counter.  I usually keep my old beat up one stashed away in a cabinet.  And one of my favorite items, an Index Card Planner, will help keep your life in order when things get hectic.  I love the little dividers, they allow you flip to what you need immediately.

While checking out her items and getting to know her a bit through her bio page, I could tell that she really enjoys her work.  I love it when an artisan truly loves what they do and it shines through in her creations.  So go check out ArtBySunfire, I bet you'll find something to help make life a bit more fun.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FantasyClay on ArtFire

This fabulous artisan on ArtFire has something for everyone.  One of my favorite things about FantasyClay is that her polymer clay sculptures are so much fun.  She has a wonderfully unique take on critters, trolls, fairies and all her other creations.  Looking at her gallery of past work blows me away.  She has made everything from a custom wedding cake topper to an adorable green baby witch.

Every time I look at this beautiful Fish in Green River Reeds Open Polymer Clay Sculpture , I see something new and different.  You can really tell how much work went into this piece.  I love all the attention to detail.

So mosey on over to her studio and remember, she welcomes custom orders! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Creations by members of the You Can Sell It guild

Monday, January 17, 2011

Misadventures in hand stamping #2

My most recent misadventure in hand stamping was oxidizing sterling silver stamped tags and pendants.  I quickly learned that while oxidized silver looks fabulous, it also highlights any "flaws".  I was upset that my creations weren't coming out perfectly.  In my frustration, I realized that I needed to look at this from a customer's perspective.  After all, I love wearing hand stamped jewelry and that's what inspired me start learning it myself.  One of the things I love the most is the uniqueness of every letter and symbol.  

So keeping this in mind I had to let go of the idea of making something perfect.  I eventually learned that what I was originally looking at as a flaw is actually the lovely uniqueness of hand stamping.  Now I choose to have fun and make beautiful things.  

This is one of the first pieces I oxidized.