Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baskets I'm Teaching at NCBA, 2010

Please take a look at these photos of the baskets I'm teaching at NCBA Convention in March. Unfortunately the brochure photos didn't show the color or detail at all. These are a better representation of what they look like. I hope you'll tell your friends to look here and will consider them when selecting your classes. Thanks. Lynn Hoyt

SA453 Saturday 8:30am-12:30pm Gleam-n-Glow Beaded Mini Gourd
Lynn Hoyt 4 Hours All Levels 2 1/4"H X 3 1/4" D $35 page 31

Learn to bead coil on these gently undulating mini gourds. These vibrantly colored little vessels will gleam and glow with every stitch as you coil flat across the top with fragrant sweetgrass. Color coordinated options offered. A treat for the senses and a darling basket for rings and small treasures.

SU454 Sunday 8:00am-12:00pm Oval Fantasy Sweetgrass Necklace
Lynn Hoyt 4 hours All Levels 2 1/4"W X 2 3/4" H $35 page 40

Lots of techniques will complete this colorful sweet-smelling pendant. You'll start by learning to inlay a handmade gilded stoneware medallion into an oval gourd piece and apply a woodburned accent. Then coil the pendant with fragrant sweetgrass, add a brass finding and twist a waxed linen neck cord. This is small work, so manual dexterity, a small light and possibly magnifying glasses are recommended.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Stop on the NiftyKnits Meerkat World Tour: Rural Blounts Creek, NC!

Etta the Meerkat arrived here in rural Eastern NC all the way from England, and her creator Heather of Niftyknits! What a sweet little kat she is! After unpacking, we set off on a geeky fun adventure together: a trip to explore some of the sharks teeth that our area is internationally known for, at the Aurora Fossil Museum!
As you can see, Etta was in awe of this Great White replica and all the fossil sharks teeth!

Later, back at my house, Etta had a tour of our 75 acre property. My husband Howard is a ham radio operator and she was intrigued by the four huge radio towers in our fields. All of a sudden, Etta was gone! I guess her taste for adventure got the best of her, as I spotted her climbing the 130 footer! Bad Etta! By the time I got there, she was hanging on for dear life!
Luckily she managed to pull herself up and climb down

with no harm done... what a girl! Happily, we went on to safer pursuits.

I think Etta enjoyed seeing the gourd art from my Midnightcoiler shop, and some of my gourd harvest. She told me the egg gourds were her favorites! Tomorrow my little Meerkat friend leaves for her next stop. I'll always remember Etta and what a good time we had together! To see more of Nifty's fabulous Meerkats, check out her shop, NiftyKnits. Read her Blog and join the Meerkat World Tour Fan Page on Facebook to follow all of Etta's adventures, as well as her sibling, Treasure, who is also traveling the world!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Midnightcoiler's Sugar Plums

Tiny bowls for rings, candy, pills, beads, gift presentation & favors

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Remembrance

Anthony Diblasi, US Veteran served in WWII and Korea.
Purple heart

Today I remember him and all US soldiers past and present who honor our country with their service. Thank you!

My dad was a handsome fellow, played football in high school and was known by the girls as "he of the wavy hair."

His bravery surfaced early.. while out on a date, he was held up at gunpoint, but managed to wrestle the robber down and hold him until police arrived.

He was married to my mom for 49 years, and had two children. He enjoyed fishing, watching football, going out to eat, Christmas, flowers and birds, and could be found just about any day out puttering in his yard.

Today we honor all veterans, living and dead, for their service and sacrifice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pears Anyone?

The pear harvest continues. We had enough to share with friends, with enough left for several batches for the freezer and for canning. Still working on the canning.

Do you recognize this variety? I would love to know. The two trees we bought were labeled 'Moonglow', but they don't look like photos I've seen. The fruit can be huge, has a russet skin over green or yellow tones. Crisp but sweet flesh, medium graininess. They cook up great, better than canned pears from the store. They were starting to fall from the trees in late September and I've been harvesting several times through mid-October.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pecans, Our Latest Harvest

The pecans have been falling from the trees, and every few days I go out and collect some. The squirrels have also been busy, and our two dogs love to crunch on a few as well. With five mature trees, there's really plenty enough for us all!

For the last few years we didn't have a harvest due to drought and wind storms, but this has been a good year. The nuts are good-sized due to plenty of rain.

I wish you all could taste these nuts in all their rich, full, smoky sweetness. As anyone with access to old trees knows, there is much more flavor in the nuts they produce compared to ones you may buy at the grocery or even fancy nut houses. The reason is that commercial pecans have been bred for size, and in that pursuit some of the flavor has been lost.

When the weather turns cold, I'll sit and shell them, then freeze most for later use. But right now aren't the bright green husks beautiful?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lynn's Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Two food posts in a row-- must be harvest time! Our peppers have been wonderful this year!

My Treasury Teammate and friend Kristen of Gockfrocks tweeted this question today: anyone else with good dinner ideas? what are you making tonight? My tweet back was Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole, one of my husband's very favorite dishes- homey, comforting and delicious! (the casserole, not my husband) This is a very flexible dish, so you can substitute ingredients and amounts to your taste. So, here it is Kristen:

Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole

6 to 8 peppers, quartered, enough to cover bottom of a 9x13 baking dish
2 cups brown or white rice, cooked
2 medium to large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 large can (26 oz) tomato soup
1 to 1 1/2 cup soy crumbles
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Seed and quarter peppers and layer in the bottom of baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes.

In pan saute onion in oil until it starts to turn golden brown. Mix in cooked rice, soy crumbles, 1/2 can of tomato soup, 1 teaspoon Tabasco, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and turn off heat.

Spread mixture evenly over steamed peppers, set aside.

Add a little water to the remaining tomato soup in the can to thin just a bit. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon Tabasco, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika. Adjust spices according to your taste. Stir and pour evenly over casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, return to oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted. Serve & enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Day in the Kitchen

I spent a lot of yesterday in the kitchen, peeling a giant bowl of apples from our own organically grown Arkansas Black harvest. This variety is tart and sweet! The most requested apple treat at my house is homemade applesauce. We like it chunky and thick, and mostly put it on our cereal in the morning.

So after hours of peeling, coring, slicing and cooking, here's the result. A big stock pot full!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tag, You're It Blog Award

My friend Sandie of ZaftigDelights was gifted with a blog award, and tagged me as one of the next 10 to receive it. Each person tagged is invited to give 10 facts about themselves and tag 10 other bloggers. I loved what Sandie wrote about herself in her blog and thought it would be fun to participate. So here goes:

1. I'm a second generation Italian American. My mom was born in the US, but dad was born in Italy. I grew up with Italian spoken all around me, but unfortunately only a few choice words stuck.

2. My husband and I met in a bar. Upon seeing me struggling with broken beads on my hat, his first words to me were, "May I be of some assistance?" He asked if he could follow me home, and it must have been fate that I didn't lose him after the red lights I ran to get rid of him. As they say, the rest is history.

3. I'm a founder and president of a 501c3 organization called the Natural Fibers Group. It's a specialized guild dedicated to preserving the tradition of collecting, processing and using natural plant fibers in basketry and art. We have members from all over the US and Canada who join to receive our newsletter and share information.

4. I was not raised with an appreciation for nature and the universe. I credit my husband for opening my eyes. Now we live on a secluded 75 acre property, surrounded by Weyerhaeuser forest land. Lots of wildlife around, including deer, bear, bobcat, coyote and fox.

5. In another life, long long ago, I worked at one time or another for the FBI as a fingerprint technician, the IRS in Internal Security, and ATF as a firearms tracer. Blaahhh.

6. As a kid, I drew very detailed pictures of pirate cats and dinosaur skeletons. I dreamed of going to Africa, finding buried treasure, and becoming a paleontologist.

7. My favorite film genre involves SUSPENSE! Dramas, mysteries, horror, adventures all qualify. Not to say that I don't appreciate other good movies.

8. At one time I owned my own landscape design business, specializing in blueprint design and consultation. It was a lot of fun working with clients, designing for them, and seeing the transformation when the work was completed by contractors. Working for myself was the best job I ever had-- loved my boss!

9. I used to be a 3-4 pack a day chain smoker. Happily, that habit stopped long ago.

10. When we lived in a suburban area, I used to play tennis every day. Back then I had a pretty powerful serve and a zinger of a forehand. What wonderful, fun exercise it was!

Well, there you go, 10 factual tidbits, for what they are worth. And now I'll pass this task, er, I mean award on to 10 other blog owners, to act upon or not, as they see fit!

Bahar Collection
Crazy Daisies Designs
Beautiful Bridget Designs
Kims Crafty Apple
Beadstylin's Random Musings
Sweet Surrender Blog
Mermaid Treasures
Amanda Yu Design
Lama Works

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Win These Earrings!

The Etsy Treasury Team is sponsoring a giveaway featuring these lovely sterling earrings from StrandsofLight! Go to the Treasury Team Blog and enter 5 times for 5 chances to win- it's easy!

Thanks to webmistress, Sandie, of ZaftigDelights and KnitzyBlonde, for doing such a great job with these monthly give-aways!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Won George!

Lucky me! I love give-aways, and this one was sponsored by the great Etsy team, HandmadeMN, through their blog. They have fabulous shops in their team, and great weekly give-aways!

I won this adorable little guy named George, artfully needle felted by Denise of the Eyes of Time blog! Do check out her blog for more great creations. She is one talented lady!

Hopefully soon she'll be adding her amazing fiber work to her Etsy shop, Stars Apon Thars, which features very cool repurposed goods.

Thank you so much Denise, and thanks to HandmadeMN too! Below are some wonderful items from Denise's shop.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shop Critique Tips- Watermarks and 2D Wall Art

My intention was to leave in the middle of HeyMichelle's shop critique and grab a treasury, but it wasn't to be. Instead, I was once again transfixed on the savvy marketing advice that can be so crucial to Etsy selling success. Three points stood out enough that I wrote them down.

Between actual shop critiques, Michelle actually told one seller quite strongly: Take those watermarks out of your pictures! They lower your chance to be featured and it's a turn off to customers. Remove them all together or move them to the bottom where they can barely be seen.

The next point is related to the above. One of the critiqued shops had beautiful jewelry with her shop name displayed in almost every photo. Michelle said to take the shop name out, you don't need text in the photos.

In one of the last critiques a 2D artist was featured. Some of the work was shown framed. Michelle said she liked this because it gives a buyer an idea of what it will look like hanging on their wall. She added that personally, she likes framed work for the gift guides because it shows better and sells better. She qualified that by adding that it may not be as important in the searches.

I take these tips pretty seriously, as Etsy admin obviously has information/stats and insight that the average Etsy seller doesn't have. Sometimes it takes some ego adjustment and a willingness to try something different to change the way we do things. I know it did for me. Whether you agree or disagree with Etsy's ideal of how to present your work, the point is that those who take the advice and run with it have a better chance for more success.

Please visit the Etsy Virtual Labs for great discussion. They usually have shop critiques once a week. They are well worth the time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Luxeliving, Aprons on Etsy

If you like to wear an apron when entertaining, crafting or just doing things around the house, check out Luxeliving on Etsy. I've just received this beautiful custom apron (right) from Luxeliving after winning the give-away in her shop. Thanks so much-- I love it!

She also carries some darling mother-daughter apron sets, a great idea promoting that special bond!

Visit her shop for more cute aprons like the pink one shown below. You may also want to visit her blog.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Honeydew: Do You Love Me? Earrings I Won!

A little Tweet told me about a wonderful give away sponsored by Cleveland Handmade
, a great collective of local artists and craftspeople selling a lovely variety of creations online.

I entered and was lucky enough to win these beautiful green turquoise and silver
earrings (above), sweetly named "Honeydew: Do You Love Me?" They were designed and generously donated by Marcia of Daisy Made Designs. Do take a look at her shop for more beautiful jewelry. Marcia also does custom work using your own special trinkets, charms and mementos, fashioning them into meaningful heirloom jewelry pieces! (right: Marcia's personal treasure necklace)

I'm excited to have won and would like to thank Marcia and Cleveland Handmade for making it possible!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What do Horses and Baskets have in Common?

Did you know miniature horsehair baskets are only made by a very few basketmakers and are highly collectable? Here's your chance to own one of these incredible miniature wonders for free!

Visit Pamela Zimmerman's blog: Catching the Moon: Weaving My Life and have 5 chances to win this basket!

You'll also want to visit Pamela's Etsy shop, Bazketmakr, for everything from finished baskets and woven wearables to supplies.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Report on 5/28 Etsy Lab on Tagging, Titles and Descriptions

Here are the notes I took during this interesting discussion, which also included info on the new "relevancy search." I hope there are some helpful tidbits here for those who couldn't attend.

I was one of several etteam members who attended the 5/28/09 lab. Leading the lab was Danielle, with Sean, Eric and Amy.

  • Should be accurate and specific.
  • Title your most important words first in both title and description. What is it, then descriptive words
  • Don't use "free shipping" or "sale" as first words in title (Danielle recommends using towards end of description)
  • Danielle said to put subcategory in Title.
  • Google will pick up 160 characters of title and description.
  • Don't make title too short or too long. Danielle said 3-4 words.

  • Vintage & supply searchable by description in Advanced Search
  • Break description into short paragraphs or bullet points instead of one big block of text
  • Give dimensions of item, don't forget to include metric
  • Tell your story- makes them add the item to their cart-- show your personality, love, ideas, heart, why, how, inspiration-- connect to the buyer and show you're a real person behind the handmade item.

Main category, then most important 1st tag is a subcategory. This will become even more important in time as the relevancy search is tweaked.

Suggestions for types of words to use as tags:
  • what is it
  • materials
  • where used
  • style
  • motif
  • shop name in just a few listings, not all
  • team tags do not bump down relevancy. (They are working on finding a new way to tag for teams.)

Using plural vs singular tags, and word variants: item comes up in search either way.

Use all 14 tags- good for relevancy. They will be continually adjusting the relevancy search.

The relevancy search is not the default search and
they have no plans to make it so.

Fresh search results are one goal of relevancy, so date listed is also
factor.... keep items freshly listed..add new items, renew, relist.


List all your materials


Order of Importance in Searches:
1. tags
2. titles
3. description
4. materials

A good way to be found is to add your link to Google base.

Etsy will have an option for moving around our shop items and it will be "launched soon." Danielle has already tested this feature and thinks it's cool!

For further information, visit these Etsy Storque articles:

Hitting the Sweet Spot with Etsys Most Relevant

Sort Search Results by Most Relevant

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charming Winner of Give-Away

The lucky winner of my handmade pottery charms that I donated through the Treasury Team Blog is..... Krystal of Solsisters.etsy.com!

Click on the link above and take a look at the fabulous bags she makes! I'm excited that Krystal won, and maybe we'll see some of the charms as embellishments on her bags!

Thanks to everyone who entered our first Treasury Team Give-Away! We hope you'll all subscribe to our blog for useful and fun information, and future give-away contests! Etsy Treasury Team Blog

Friday, May 8, 2009

Give-Away on the Treasury Team Blog

The Etsy Treasury Team is sponsoring the first give-away on their blog! The prize is a stoneware pottery charm mix that I created, a $30 value. Please go to the Treasury Team Blog for all the details.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Garden Flowers in Early May

Our house is surrounded by plants and flowers. Here are some of the things blooming in our yard right now. These are Iris pseudacorus, the yellow flag iris. They've naturalized themselves around the pond.

The red trumpets are Hippeastrum x johnsonii, St. Joseph's Lily. These were here when we bought the property, and they had been blooming here for years unattended.

This Iris is called "Lady Friend", with Weigela in the background.

This old rose is a mystery. I received it in a swap several years ago. Does anyone know what it might be? It has bluish-purple undertones. MaryAnn wrote and gave a link to a rose that looks similar. Maybe this could be 'Alfred Colomb.' Check out the Antique Rose Emporium's photo

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fossil Hunting for Sharks Teeth- Hunt for yours on Etsy!

Since I was little I've always imagined finding treasure or artifacts. Back then it was digging a few inches under my mom's hydrangeas, thinking I would find golden doubloons buried by pirates. I started sketching "cat pirates" and then prehistoric animals, and decided I wanted to be a paleontologist. While that dream never worked out, there is still a fascination with buried treasure and artifacts of all kinds.

Now I live near an area that is famous around the world for fossils of extinct sea life, the Lee Creek deposit also known as Aurora in NC. I enjoy spending time hunting and collecting sharks teeth and other fossils at least a few times a week. It's always a thrill when I find one! Most of the teeth I find range from early Miocene (12-26 million years ago) to Pliocene (2.5-12 million.)

The photo above left shows a whale vertebrae at the rear. The large sharks tooth is from an extinct megalodon, the most fearsome shark ever. (closeup at right) This tooth is from a small one, only 1 3/4", as teeth larger than a mans hand have been found! The white lines on the back of sharks teeth are from their teeth scraping bone as they fed. Notice the serrations on the edges! The close up above right shows fossil shell in matrix (upper left corner,) to the right a possible coprolite (fossil poop,) shark vertebrae, ray mouth plates, shark teeth, pieces of bone and coral.

I've had so much fun discovering these buried treasures that I've started offering some of my fossils on Etsy, for use in mixed media and as jewelry componants. Check them out! Interested in fossil ID? Here's one of the sites in my area that can help:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Early Spring Pond

This time of year spring and winter bounce back and forth, even though plant and animal life is starting to stir. Here are a few photos of my pond taken this morning. Lots of mosquito fish don't show because of the glare. However, one of our frogs is up and about and so is Mr. or Ms. Mud Turtle, who comes for the fish food when I whistle and tap my feet on the ground. Their tune of choice and mine? "Memories."

Our pond has an earth bottom and was dug by my husband. Nature inspires my life and work in many ways, and when I'm not just observing the flora and fauna, you might find me carving a gourd or making a basket sitting by the pond .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Last Day for Free Shipping on Designer Eggs--- Happy Valentines!

Grab my colorful designer egg gourds before midnight tonight
to take advantage of free shipping! If you missed this, check my shop for future offers.

Make Mine with a Twist!
I stayed up well past midnight last night to put this treasury up. Guess I'm not called Midnight for nothing, though late hours don't always mean coiling. Can't seem to get a whole shot of this one, sorry. Click on image to enlarge. Featured are Norakaren, Truluxe, Patspottery, Abrushandaneisel, Slavko, Accentsbylori, Glassnwood, Dbabcock, Gocksfrocks, Niftyknits, Adornmejewelry, and Susansheehan.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Black and Cream Dream

This treasury was based on tips that House of Mouse wrote about in the Etteam Blog. I'm ever hopeful to someday achieve that elusive front page spot! In the meantime, I enjoy featuring items from lovely Etsy shops like these:

dbabcock, notrocketsurgery, liciabeads, tiedandfeathered, springcolors, busybeads, galit,
stelmadesigns, beautifulbridget,
jeremisavoie, funwallart, bazketmakr

Monday, February 9, 2009

Featured as Favorite Shop of the Day

How exciting! Today I received a convo from Karen Fields Gallery saying I was featured in her great blog as Favorite Etsy Shop of the Day! What a lovely honor and surprise. Please check it out and see what photo she included from my shop!

Karen does the most fabulous uplifting artwork full of flowers, birds and hope. Visit her BLOG and SHOP and enjoy her paintings!

Thank you Karen!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heart Sketch... joy and sadness

Just in time for Valentines Day, my latest treasury sets a sweet tone with a touch of sadness.

Featured are members of the etteam and other etsians: folkartvision, papermoth, jeremisavoie, strandsoflight, branchingstreams, zaftigdelights, tyarkoni, bythewayside, heatherrlange, alibalijewellery, aysetugrul, nivenglassoriginals. Please visit their fine shops and discover other wonderful items!

Click image to enlarge.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Designer Egg Gourds Offer: Free Shipping!


On my beautiful designer egg gourds through Valentine's Day!

Read all about these beauties by clicking on the photo or title.

If you're interested in another color combination, I do custom orders. Just contact me!

These elegant bowl and basket fillers make a fascinating and gorgeous statement in your home decor.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fast and Pretty

Here's my most recent Treasury (click on the image to enlarge) created 2/2/09, featuring work from the Etsy Treasury Team!

Featured left to right each row: Beadstylin, Santiamdesigns, Sagefox, Thehouseofmouse, Miamiamia, Lindenavenuedesigns, Tyarkoni, Bazketmakr, Sweetsurrendercandle, Mozo, EarringsbyKaren, Adornmejewelry.

To see more work from these artists and other team members, just search ETTEAM on Etsy.