25 August 2010

What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

Borrowing the words from Christina Aguilera, what a girl wants and what a girl needs are not usually in the same category.  At least that has been the case in my own life.  Today is Wednesday, which means I will be showing you the Etsy.com shops that you girls will WANT to visit.  My theme this week is jewelry.  I have been busy, busy searching Etsy.com to bring you the latest and greatest for my Wednesday post.  It has been a fun treasure hunt.  This week was hard for different reasons than last week.  Last week I had a hard time finding things to show you, this week I have had a hard time narrowing it down.  Just when I thought I have found the best shops to show you, I would find one even better.  The shops that I narrowed it down to had to meet my criteria.  My criteria: it had to be unique, show artisan skill, and would be something that I would wear.  One of the fabulous things about Etsy is the unique items you can find for yourself or someone else.  Because I have found so many wonderful treasures, I did something different this week.  Instead of featuring six jewelry shops, I narrowed it down to six jewelry shops in the category of necklaces. I will feature different jewelry shops for the next three weeks, featuring Bracelets and Cuffs, Rings and Earrings, and the third week will feature the shop that I have given the title, “Best Overall.”  With the statement pieces below, you’re sure to get noticed.

Melanie-Joy Creations describes their jewelry as using "non traditional" materials to create original works of art.  Up to 100 work hours can go into a single piece.  Click here to see more Melaniejoycreations.etsy.com.

River Gazing

Bohemian Rapture

Star of the East's shop description states that all jewelry is one of a kind or made in a limited edition.  Click here to see more staroftheeast.etsy.com.

Nefertiti's Dreams

Combination of Dissonant

Vixen Design Studio describes itself as specilizing in handmade unusual jewelry and funky vintage finds.  Click here to see more of Vixendesignstudio.etsy.com.

Turquoise Blue and Shell Necklace

Green Turquoise British Coin Necklace

Quil Jewelry states that it gets it's inspiration from love, nature and the abundance of beauty all around. Every stone is handpicked and artistically handcrafted into a one-of-a-kind imaginative piece. Click here to see more quiljewelry.etys.com.

The Duchess

Mystic River

Cindy Caraway's shop states that it has jewelry for every occasion: from casual pieces to wear everyday to one-of-a-kind gallery pieces.  Click here to see more Cindycaraway.etsy.com.

Heavenly Shades of Night
The Duchess

Vintage Existence states that it's main goal is that each piece become a talking point and keepsake in their own right.  Click here to see more Vintageexistence.etsy.com.


Blue Romance

Now that I have shown you what a girl WANTS. I wanted to talk about what a girl NEEDS. If you are anything like me, when you think about all of your needs, the list can get pretty long. Since I have been searching through the jewels to share with you I am reminded that God created jewels for His glory and our benefit. We get to enjoy His perfect artisan skill. You are surrounded daily by His handiwork. He has given us so many benefits in His creation. But it still isn’t enough to fulfill our needs. The good news is that the greatest gift He has given us is his Son, Jesus. A personal relationship with Jesus is all a girl truly NEEDS. Go and enjoy the benefit of being the BEST part of His creation and living under His grace.

Living Graciously,


18 August 2010

Life As A Collage: Sometimes It Makes Sense, Sometimes It Don't

Yay!  Today is Wednesday.  It’s the day I get to share with you six Etsy.com shops that I have chosen.  Today’s theme is Collage Art.  A collage is a technique where materials of different sizes and weights are glued to a backing surface.  Usually when I choose a theme for the week, I have more shops and pictures than I can share.  This week was BY FAR, the hardest week.  Not because I had so many to share.  The art in the category of collage art or mixed media was, for lack of a better word, weird.  The reaction to art is such a personal thing.  It always amazes me what people paint and the art that people like.  You might be surprised at what I like by the end of this post.  I tried to go easy on you and not pick the outrageous ones.  I chose this theme because I have tried this style of painting, and I LOVE it.  When I paint, time flies faster than a cheetah passing a turtle.  Nothing else matters.  Is there something that you enjoy doing that you continue to do, hour after hour, sometimes forgetting to eat or drink?  What is it?  I already told you, for me it is painting.  I can paint for hours, literally, and not remember that I haven’t had anything to eat or drink.  If you have ever wanted to try painting, but were afraid of what it would look like, collage painting is a good place to start.  It doesn’t have to look like anything or be perfect.  I enjoy looking at things in a new way, things that I can add to a collage.  Scraps of things around the house or broken jewelry.  Life is a lot like a collage, mixed up and broken.  Sometimes you look at it and it makes sense, sometimes you think it makes sense, but you aren’t sure, and sometimes you have no clue.  Such is life.  In these paintings, I am sure you will have some sort of reaction.  When you look at the paintings below, think about what you like or don’t like about each one.  What draws you to the paintings?  What makes you want to hurry and scroll to the next painting?  Leave a comment, and let me know what you think.  I’d love to know your thoughts.

Niavos is an original painting on canvas created using mixed media, acrylic paint and acrylic medium.

A Little Bird Told Me
A Little Bird Told Me was created using paint, old pages from a book , paper, stamps, pen and ink.

To Love is to Live

To Love is to Live was created using original photos that have been "altered", stamped images, seed beeds, 99 year old French poetry on paper, ink, acrylic paint, glazing medium, gauze, and nail polish on a primed canvas panel.

Pretty in Pink
This one is mine, so be nice.  Pretty in Pink was created using acrylic paint, paper clippings, tissue paper, acrylic mediums, glazing mediums, a jewel bead, and stamped images on canvas.

Living is an original mixed media collage and was created by using recycled paper, acetate, old documents, found objects, water color paper, matte finished sealant.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower is an original art that was created using acrylic paint, paper and ink.

Sometimes living life as a collage means we don't always have to know the answers about ourselves.  It frees us up to live the questions.  Go be free to live life fully and creatively.

Living Graciously,

17 August 2010

Do You Know the Person Behind Your Avatar, Your Alter Ego?

I’d like to introduce the person behind my Garland and Grace avatar.  Think of it as a behind the scenes glimpse of the “About Me” description.  Over the past year and a half, I have had two of my very best friends move away.  These two friends, I have had since moving to Florida thirteen years ago.  Together, we have been through the births of our babies, celebrations, deaths in the family, job changes, job losses, financial crisis, Super Bowl Parties, holidays, and marital highs and lows.  You get the idea.  These friends are dependable for more than a good time on a “girl’s night out.”  They have been my sources of emotional growth, inspiration, stability, and spiritual encouragement.  When they moved away, I felt a part of myself go away with them.  I felt like I didn’t know who I was without them.  These past seventeen months have been a time of getting to know myself again.  What inspires me, what challenges me, what do I like and why do I like it?  These were questions I was asking myself on a daily basis.  It was so comfortable to be who I am with them, and it has been so uncomfortable to be alone with myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time by myself.  I just didn’t like being alone trying to process daily life without the support of my friends.  As much as I hate to admit it, I needed this personal challenge in my life.  God knows that I needed to grow more as a person, and so did they.  I have done things this past year and a half that I would have never done if they were still living here.  This blog, for example, you wouldn’t be reading it.  My business, Garland and Grace, it wouldn’t exist.  Some of the friends I have made this year I would have never gotten to know.  I was comfortable where I was.  I would have missed out on a lot.  As far as the questions I have been wrestling with, I am still learning about myself.  If you read my blog you will be going on this journey with me.  I will share with you things that inspire and challenge me to be a better person.  I hope that I can inspire you to push your own boundaries.  Do you know the person behind your avatar?

The Girl Behind My Avitar
(I Usually Have Very Curly Hair)

A few quotes about challenges.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” –Bernice Johnson Regan

“I do believe that when we face challenges in life that are far beyond our own power, it’s an opportunity to build on our faith and inner strength, and courage. I’ve learned that how we face challenges plays a big role in the outcome of them.” –Sashe Azeledo

“Be thankful for each new challenge because it will build strength and character.” –Unknown

Living Graciously,

13 August 2010

Jewels and You, Crowned By Grace

Just in case you haven't been following my blog, every Wednesday, I will be featuring six Etsy.com shops.  I will try and have a theme each week.  Because there are so many wonderful shops to choose from, a theme helps me focus.  Next week my theme will be Art in the collage/mixed media category.  I have just tapped into trying this style of painting/collage.  I have to say, I LOVE it.  It is so fun.  I love the entire process.  I am excited to find some examples of the creative minds that are out there.  The following week, I will feature the best and most unique jewelry I have found on Etsy.  Believe me, it is hard to narrow it down to six shops a week.  I had not planned on blogging today, but when I came across this Etsy shop, I knew I had to give y'all a sneak peak of what's ahead.  As I was searching through a maze of jewels, beads, silver and gold, I came across a shop I knew I had to share.    The shop's name is "Crowned By Grace".  The name caught my eye, and I knew I had to see what this shop has to offer.  This is how the shop describes what they offer, "I offer you a collage of bits and pieces of this and that, composed from a long time collection of salvaged discards, old and lovely treasures found here and there. I love doing a lot with a little, transforming abandoned, unwanted things into unique designs and using old things in new ways. Each recreated piece tells the story of God's grace, redemption and rebirth. Hope is never lost. All things, even hearts and lives, can be restored into something beautiful."  What I love is that each piece tells the story of God's grace on our lives.  It was a reminder to me of God's love for us.  We all need to be reminded of His love.  Crowned By Grace gives you that reminder with their wonderfully crafted jewelry collection.  I have posted a few pictures to give you a sample of what this shop has to offer. 

A ring by Crowned By Grace
Earrings by Crowned By Grace
A bracelet by Crowned By Grace
A necklace by Crowned By Grace

You can visit their shop by clicking here crownedbygrace.etsy.com.

The verse on their shop's site, I will repeat as a reminder of what God has done for us.

Psalm 103:4
He redeems our lives from destruction, 
and we are crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies.

Go and bask in His love this weekend.  May His face shine upon you.

Living graciously,

11 August 2010

Gathering With Gratitude on Etsy.com

School is about to begin. For some of your children it already has. Which means fall is right around the corner. Except in Florida, where I live. Fall never arrives. Being from the south and having lived in Pennsylvania and Michigan, I have very fond memories of the fall season. In Michigan the colors of the leaves were intense. It was a blessing to be able to experience God’s handiwork there. Because fall doesn’t arrive in Florida, I have to make sure my home is surrounded by autumn décor. Every Wednesday I will be featuring six Etsy.com shops that are worth mentioning. This week’s etsy.com theme, if you haven’t already guessed, is the harvest season. I have searched etsy.com for fabulous things for fall. I have taken pictures to give you a sample of what each shop has to offer.

Please visit this shop. They offer the coolest things. They have pumpkin designs that I have never seen before. The shop describes their décor as “primitive”.

Aren't these the coolest pumpkins?

Their garden section is worth mentioning. Go see what I am talking about.

Cement Leaf Tiles to Hang on the Wall
Cement Acorns for Your Garden

*The shop has a section with items two dollars or less.
I don’t scrapbook. I do appreciate the time it takes to create one. I personally am not creative in that kind of way. This shop is great for people like me, that don’t know where to even begin to start when doing a scrapbook page, but want pictures organized in a beautiful way. It is also for people that can scrapbook but don’t have the time. She has an autumn scrapbook page already created for you.
Autumn Scrapbook Page

Brown Scroll Placecards

Bella Claire Baby
*Many choices of clothing for boys an girls.
This shop's diaper covers/bloomers are beyond fabulous for babies.  It almost makes me wish that I had a baby, so I could dress her up in the cutest things ever!  I said, "Almost."  Take a look.
Doesn't this make you smile?  I love it!

How cute is this?

My Little Obsession
*If you love for your table to look fabulous, this shop will help give you a head start. They sell table runners. I just picked out the ones that I thought represent fall. She has many more beautiful ones for every time of the year. Take the time to see what the obsession is all about.
Damask Table Runner
Autumn Table Runner

Macy’s Blings and Bows
If you are a girly-girl or you have a girly-girl, this shop is for you.
*This shop features custom made girly-girl accessories, keychains, bookmarks and more.  Their little girl things are absoulutely adorable.  She has a lot of initial necklaces for ladies and little girls.  Their things are so cute!

Glass Tile Pendant
A Festive Necklace

I don't know who took the picture below to be able to give them credit.  It is too beautiful not to share. Happy shopping and Happy Fall Y'all!

I am thankful that I know the God that paints like this.

Living Graciously,

10 August 2010

Does This Paint Make My Butt Look Fat?

I have been a painting machine lately.  I am trying to get products painted for my shop, garlandandgrace.etsy.com.  I know my husband is tired of hearing me repeat myself, but what I have to say is true.  You cannot have good paint and bad paintbrushes and get good results, nor can you have bad paint and good paintbrushes and get good results.  You have to have both good paint and good paint brushes.  I am reminded of this everytime I sit down to paint.  Perhaps that is why I keep repeating myself.  I have been painting with Sherwin Williams paint.  I have to tell you, I am not a big fan.  A lot of people rave about Sherwin Williams.  I know they are a respected paint company, but no one asked me.  Last night I used Benjamin Moore's "Aura" brand in Million Dollar Red.  It went on like butter.  This paint doesn't even come close to Sherwin Williams.  I wanted to run out and replace all of my Sherwin Williams paint with Benjamin Moore.  I probably would have if there was a store location close to me, and I wasn't covered in red paint.  I only had to put one coat of paint on my boards.  ONE coat of RED paint. That is practically unheard of for red paint.  What a time saver.  I didn't even have to prime first.  Friends, it is so worth the investment. If you have a paint project coming up and you have a choice between Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore, go with Benjamin Moore.  The "other" paint might just make your butt look fat.  Bless their hearts.

05 August 2010

Do You Know Who To Thank For Your Creative Talent?

As I reflect on what I am calling “Thankful Thursday,” my trip this past weekend is fresh in my mind. I had the privilege of taking a short trip with my husband to Marco Island, FL. If you don’t enjoy being out in nature then you have no business going to this island. It is a very sleepy town, except for fishing, water sports and eating. We mainly participated in the later. One morning I was able to spend some time at the beach. When I came face to face with the enormous ocean, I couldn’t help but be thankful that I have a personal relationship with the one who created it. He knows how many grains of sand there are on the beach. He knows the age of each shell. He created the creatures that used to live in them. And can we talk about the sunsets? They are never short of amazing. He is the only designer and artist that has been and always will be “in.” His design and art are never trendy. They have been and will continue to be the inspiration for artists and designers. The Bible says in John 1:3, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” If you have been blessed with any creative talent, it is a reflection of Him. The next time you are able to express your talents and gifts that you have been given, remember that it is God that blessed you with that talent. He is the only one that is worthy of your “thanks.”

Living graciously,


04 August 2010

What Makes Etsy.com Special?

If you haven’t heard of Etsy.com, or have heard of it, but don’t know quite what it is, let me explain. Etsy.com is a website where you can buy and sell things hand made, vintage as well as art and craft supplies. They have a broad range of items for sale including, but not limited to art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, home décor, and toys. It is well worth your time to at least visit and see what others have discovered and what’s so special about Etsy.com. On Wednesday’s I will be focusing on “The Wonderful World of Etsy.com”. I will pick six Etsy.com shops. Each week I will either pick a theme or have “The Best Of” category. Since school is right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate for this week’s theme to be “Back to School”. So if you’re looking for personalized items for your child or teacher, or you need items for the classroom or back to school party these are the six shops you will want to browse this week. Thank you for visiting Garland and Grace and happy shopping.

Dress Me Up Boutique
T-shirts with the saying, “Kindergarten Rocks” or “_____Grade Rocks”
They also carry hair accessories, shoes, flip flops, dresses, and tutu outfits.

Kindergarten Rocks T-Shirt

Zebra Pillowcase Dress
Dolce Mia Clothing
They carry back to school hand smocked dresses that can be monogrammed.

Monogrammed Dress
The Trendy Baby Boutique
Collegiate items to show your school pride
Boy’s shirts
They also feature iron on appliqués, twirl skirts, burp cloths, pinafores and tunics.
Collegiate Outfits

Collegiate T-Shirts

Kute Kiddo
A one stop shop for all of your personalized needs.
Duffle bags
Totes for teachers
Nap mats
They also carry blankets, towels, purses, bloomers, diaper bags, bibs, and t-shirts.
Personalized Nap Mat

Personalized Backpack

Paper Glitter
Banners for the classroom
School icons
Table numbers
Passes to the library, bathroom, office, nurse
Back to school party products
They also carry birthday party products.
Back To School

Birthday Party Products
Lima Bean Kids
Personalized water bottles
Personalized lunchboxes
They also carry personalized t-shirts and plates.
Personalized Luncboxes

Personalized Water Bottles

Living Graciously,