Photo(s) of the Day from Scotland – Loch Ness Clay Works

During my [all too brief] time in Scotland, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting a wonderful pottery gallery high above Loch Ness. About four and a half miles above the Lewiston bridge, up a windy, single-track road lies the small crofting community of Bunloit.

If it feels like you’re driving forever, don’t worry, you’ll get there soon enough. (and along the way, you’ll get a wonderful laugh out of the, “Almost There,” “You’re Halfway There!” signs that are tagged on the trees along the way.) Drive to the very end of the road, across a wonderful little bridge and you will come to Loch Ness Clay Works.

Believe me, it is well worth the drive. Open from 10 am to 6 pm, you will first be struck by the quaint beauty, and the amazing light in the gallery and studio from the skylights above. (OK so maybe that’s me… I play with light for a living so it’s usually the first thing I notice :))

Walk around the gallery and take in the beautiful, rustic colors of the handmade pottery; vases, bowls, mugs and tea pots (perfect for a spot of tea) and all sorts of other beautiful finds. (I was very excited to come home to Chicago yesterday and unwrap my new pieces)

If you find yourself in Scotland (and trust me… GO!), at Loch Ness, and you’re near Drummadrochit, take the time to head up the hill to visit Loch Ness Clay Works; you won’t be sorry.



Your Online Persona… (and how keeping it in check can help boost your online sales)

You know what I’ve loved most about running my business this last year? Aside from hearing that a buyer  loves my work in person (who wouldn’t love that??), I love hearing that they had a very positive experience working with me. It makes me feel good that I made someone’s life a little easier and recognized their importance, so much so that they took the time to leave feedback about it. And you know what? In many cases, that “someone” turned around and referred a friend, or they themselves came back to purchase more.  How do I do it? Quality product aside…excellent customer service.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself that this isn’t a new revelation but, as I myself have been on the purchasing end more times than my PayPal account can handle, I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t always come easy for everyone. I was lucky enough to have close to 15 years of direct client management background under my belt before starting my business but really, it’s not something that takes years to master. You really just have to keep a few simple “rules” in mind…

Read more after the jump…

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My Handmade Story…

As a kid,  growing up in Philadelphia, spring and summer meant Phillies baseball. Admittedly, I’m not a huge baseball fan but my father was. Not a weekend went by when you didn’t hear Harry Kalas voice broadcasting the play-by-play of the game on the radio, my dad listening while he worked on one of his many woodworking projects out in the garage. (If only Etsy had been around back then!)

One year my parents took my brother and I to a game and boy what a fun day that was. Sitting in the stands, listening to the cheers, watching the players I had seen on TV hitting balls and running bases, the Philly Phanatic scaring the daylights out of me  and delighting my brother. (Have I mentioned I have a tremendous fear of mascots??)

After the game, decked out in our Phillies hats and shirts, we all went out to dinner and I remember feeling like there could never be a better day than that one. I was in third grade… everything was perfect and it could never get any better than that. We have so many wonderful pictures from that day but two in particular that I love; one of me and my dad (see below) and the other of my brother and my mom.

Just before my father passed away, I came across the pictures as I was sorting through some old family albums. Even at 32, seeing those pictures, I recalled every minute of that day as if it had just happened. Right away, I knew I needed to do something special with them and decided to create handmade picture ornaments for my parent’s tree.

Christmas that year was bittersweet. It was time with the family, so it was wonderful, but at the same time, we knew that it could be my father’s last Christmas (and it was). My mom had decorated to the hilt like always. My dad and I made Christmas cookies together that year, something we had never done before. We had a wonderful family dinner and, despite the “cancer monster” looming in the background, it was a Christmas I will never forget.

When I gave my parents the ornaments, one with “Dad and me” and the other with “Mom and me” painted on them, my father choked up. As a kid I used to make presents for my parents all the time; misshapen bowls, cracked “sculptures” of unrecognizable animals, you name it, but I had certainly never brought tears to my dad’s eyes. He recalled the day: the game, the dinner, everything. It was like the four of us were transported back to that perfect day when nothing could go wrong.

My dad has been gone for a little over five years now but those ornaments go up on the tree every year. Now, every time I look at them, I recall not only how much fun we had at the  game but also the look on my dad’s face when he held my simple, handmade gift and for a short time got to forget the cancer and remember a time that was nothing short of perfect.

Check out the wonderful video that Etsy posted on their site today and please feel free to pass it along. When making your holiday list this year, please consider handmade. Even when it’s handmade by someone else, their love and their own stories go in to every single piece. When you buy handmade, you buy love. Please feel free to share your own handmade story as well!


Dad and me (age 7)

ETSY LOVE under 50- A Gift Guide at Etsy

Only 33 days until Christmas and for those celebrating Hanukkah, you have even less time to shop! Can you believe how fast the year has gone?

Today’s treasury is a gift guide for fun, colorful Etsy finds $50 and under. I have been in love with this vintage kitchen scale from calloohcallay since I first saw it. How about the fantastic pop of color in these handmade earrings by che4u?

Check out each of these fantastic shops for these great finds as well as many others to consider for your holiday shopping!



Rainy Morning Glory…

"The Hold Outs" - Tracey Capone Photography

So today, instead of spotlighting a treasury I created, I thought I would include one that someone else included one of my prints in.

I love this treasury by BlondeChick at Etsy; it really evokes that warm, cozy feeling you get on a rainy, cool day when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch under an afghan, sitting in front of a fire.

I’m so pleased to have “The Hold Outs,” one of my newest prints, included in this lovely collection. Please check out the rest of the shops included as they have some wonderful finds!



Acorns and Oak Leaves… a Treasury

Acorns and Oak Leaf by amberalexander at Etsy

While I love the crimson and orange of Autumn, I also love the rusty, smoky colors that come along with them. Acorns and Oak Leaves,  a new treasury at Etsy, was inspired by these gorgeous colors which can be found in the beautiful watercolor by amberalexander, “Acorns and Oak Leaf.”

How amazing is that olive green cloche by yellowfield7 or the beautiful flower earrings by Meetals? Autumn is one of those seasons that provides so much in the way of color inspiration for so many fine works of art.

Please take a peek in each of the shops included in the treasury… you won’t be disappointed!



An Homage to my Fluffernutter Sandwich…

Sterling Ring with Square Button by quenchmetalworks on Etsy

…OK, admit it, you know what I’m talking about and it brought a smile to your face. I will even go so far as to admit that, even as an adult, I can’t resist that mouthwatering pairing of peanut buttery goodness mixed with the sinfully sweet marshmallow Fluff. The two combine together in an explosion of salty, sweet magic…

Phew… I’m getting off track… speaking of magic… how about some of these amazing items from Etsy? I LOVE, love, love that button ring by quenchmetalworks… oh so pretty. And that travel bag by redartleatherlondon? Luxurious!

Check out each of the shops included in today’s treasury as there are so many magical finds, you’re sure to be amazed…