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Share the Love – Elly’s Creations

October 12, 2010
Every Tuesday is “SHARE THE LOVE – Featured Artisan” day on our blogs sponsored by On Fire for Handmade, a FaceBook Group.
This weeks Featured Artisan is Elly’s Creations! Beautiful handmade creations.. a must have for every jewelry box!

You can find Elly’s Creations at:






Good Gaffe!

October 6, 2010

Since I can totally relate to each oops on this list, I really liked this article from Real Simple (to read their stories under each mistake – search "mistake" as their direct link doesn’t work) and thought it was worth repeating and pointing out to you.  These examples are from successful people in many walks of life. 

My own list shamelessly follows:

5 Mistakes Everyone Should Make

1. Totally embarrass yourself.

2. Ruffle people’s feathers.

3. Follow trends blindly.

4. Be willing to fail—doing something you love.

5. Carelessly put yourself at risk.

My List

1. Totally embarrass yourself.
My most humiliating OMG’s can’t be put out here.  But there is the time when I was dating my now-Mr.  I was in the  Romanian dance ensemble,
Izvorasul and we were performing at an Oktoberfest celebration in Minneapolis.  I’d invited David knowing there would be hearty German beer, brats, and… ME.  Dancing, costumed, being fabulous and entertaining.  I had no idea.

Romanian DancePart way through the dance, during an invertita, (which is a very fast turn performed by putting your arm up stiffly at an angle and your partner spins you using it for leverage), my over-zealous partner spun me off my feet and up into the band.  I was the crashing exclamation point to the performance.  I had to get up, pull my skirts down from around my waist, go back and finish the performance.  Truly, I could’ve died I was so embarrassed.  He married me anyway. 

2. Ruffle people’s feathers.
To me this translates to “don’t settle for simply knowing your place and keeping to it”.  IMHO doing so wastes a valuable resource (YOU), a fresh perspective, and that all important factor in brainstorming, input.  Your thoughts ARE worthwhile.  Be a rebel, speak out!

I, as in the example given in the article, would sit in meetings quietly, not afraid I would say the wrong thing, but knowing I wasn’t supposed to say anything. As I aged and gained insight, wisdom, experience, and the brains to realize I knew as much as they did about a lot of things, and had some great ideas, too, I naturally evolved.  After being an administrative assistant for 20 odd years, when the opportunity arose I would confidently offer my thoughts during board meetings, team meetings, or whatever gathering I was in (remember, I was the scribe, not an “invited” member entitled to speak). 

On the plus side was witnessing the dawning realization in the faces of the VPs, GMs, and other mangers, that I had more to offer than simply my succinctly (and very well) written minutes.  But when some of my ideas were implemented or suggestions were taken, it was immeasurably affirming, empowering, and proved speaking out was worth the risk.  Seeing Ms. Condescending with her thin, tight lips white with anger because I wasn’t slapped down?  Priceless!

Now I can’t tie this into that specific behavior, but it is worth mentioning that neither I, nor my mouth, are EOTH (employed outside the home) any longer.  Down side?  You decide.

3. Follow trends blindly.
Yep.  As time marched on I lemming-ly followed the waves of interior design fads (remember those balloon valances?), electronic must-haves (8-tracks to microwaves!), and popular literature, movies, or television (Nancy Drew, The Hobbit, Disney, Star Trek, Shogun, Star Wars, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Shack, The Secret… I could go on). 

The most frequently returned-to thing is in what I wear, I guess.  I wasn’t quite old enough to be a true flower child, although I did paint flowers on my cheek and preferred bare feet to shoes.  Today I am right back to donning the “granny” dresses of the late ‘60s, that are nothing more than dresses with ankle-length skirts.  This style has accompanied me through the decades, reappearing in varying hues and patterns.  Gypsy-tree-hugger at heart, I always knew it.

4. Be willing to fail—doing something you love.
MaidenShade.  Enough said.

5. Carelessly put yourself at risk.
This is one of my favorites.  Cliff diving off the 35, 50, or 75 foot bluffs of the St. Croix river was #1 for a long time.  But I was a kid, like 12 when I did that.  Kids are fearless, brainless, and not fully-cognizant so it doesn’t really count.  This next one does though, I was 30.

CA Dpt. of Forestry mapWhile living in California I worked for the Department of Forestry.  I was hired to do basic secretarial work, but when I saw what the others were doing, I knew I had to switch jobs.  FYI – I am terrified of heights, very short, and love trees.  This might not sound related to risk.  But there were very specific requirements for this job.  I was not qualified, just determined.

Did you know I detest, tests?  I faced a comprehensive exam for the position within the Dutch Elm Disease Division (DED) of the Department of Forestry.  Comprised of basic entomology, plant and tree identification, reading and creating a map, operating (including taking apart and reassembling) a chain saw, first aid and safety – I was terrified and so relieved when I passed.  This embodies #4, but it was the first step in this whole risky business of #5 so here it is, included.

Now we
are getting to the risk.

One also had to pass a drivers test for operating a dump truck.  They do NOT make dump trucks for someone who is 4’ 11”.  I managed by sitting on the very edge of the huge seat, then sliding down onto my back so I could reach the petals to shift while my tester told me it was all clear in front of me and advised I steer “a little to the left” or right.  (As a side note, dump trucks have A LOT of gears, not like a standard transmission on a car – that in itself was daunting.)  I had to drive on the freeway like this; alternately sliding upright where I could see to navigate, and then sliding down to shift; where I was looking up at the roof of the cab, my feet searching frantically for the pedals I knew were there somewhere and my arms trying to keep very straight.  I drove via the freeway to the dump, dumped out the elm-wood contents, and then drove a route of mainly city roads back to the DOF lot and parked – I had to prove I could fully operate a dump truck so I had to back in.  As my employers knew how badly I wanted this job, after passing the test, they saw to it I never had to drive the dump truck again:  )

They could not, however, keep making concessions for me.  There was a job to do, and I had to do it.

ditch witch 6' manDo you know what a ditch witch is?  It is this roaring, enormous, bucking beast that looks like a chain saw with wheels and wheelbarrow handles.  It digs ditches and cuts through roots and I (reference my size and note that I weighed all of 103 pounds at the time) had to operate this.  I managed to control the machine-from-hell most of the time.  Until that day when it hit submerged barbed wire, bucked once and effortlessly tossed me into the air and deposited me some 40 feet away onto the very hard pavement.  That hurt me, a lot.  But, I finished the job.  By the way?  After the ditch witch threw me, it traveled on its merry way to chew up a citizen’s fence before my partner could turn it off.  He didn’t know if he should go after it or see if I was still alive. 

Finally, and probably the hardest most dangerous of all, is that I had to also drive and operate a cherry picker.  Driving and parking on the mini-mountains of downtown San Francisco is no mean feat.  If that isn’t enough, elm trees are very, very tall.  I had to go UP 75 feet (or maybe more, who knows?) in a swaying, bouncing bucket, and using a loooong tree trimmer, take sterile samples of elm trees.  AHHHH!  It makes my palms sweat and my feet hurt to think of it now.  I can’t tell you what balls that took, but I did it, daily while on that detail.

cherry picker extended cherry picker failure
Up, up, up! Ooops!  Thank God this never happened to me!

So there is my list.  What’s yours got in it?

Act As If

October 3, 2010


"It is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act."
– Charles Caleb Colton

What initially strikes me about that quote, is that it is the essence of popular ideas of today (The Secret and others) and yet this is from someone born in 1780.  Rogers and Hammerstein knew about this concept too – remember their song, “Impossible” from the original Disney production of Cinderella?  My next observation ties into this.  Their last sentence says it all but my favorite is the bolded chorus:

Impossible by Rodgers and Hammerstein

Impossible, for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. 
Impossible, for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage, 
And four white mice will never be four white horses, 
Such fol-der-ol and fiddle dee dee of course, is – Impossible! 

But the world is full of zanies and fools 
Who don’t believe in sensible rules
And won’t believe what sensible people say.
Because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes
Keep building up impossible hopes, 
Impossible things are happening every day.

It’s Possible! For a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage.
It’s Possible! For a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage. 
And four white mice are easily turned to horses! 
Such fol-der-ol and fiddle dee dee of course, is quite possible!

For the world is full of zanies and fools 
Who don’t believe in sensible rules 
And won’t believe what sensible people say 
And because these daft and Dewy-eyed dopes
Keep building up impossible hopes 
Impossible things are happening every day!
It’s Possible! 
It’s Poss-i-ble!

All imaginative children pretend, right?  In your “let’s play” scenarios that you initiated, weren’t you always the heroine, the winner, the prettiest one?  It went something like this:“Let’s play faerie princess.  I’ll be the princess, and you be my lady in waiting.”  Said little Jenny (no one called me Jennifer back then…) to her friend, Mary with-the-long-German-last name I don’t remember.
“I don’t want to be the lady in waiting, I want to be the princess!”  Says Mary, miffed at being assigned such a lowly, subservient role.
“Oh, okay.  Then I’ll be the one like Cinderella with the yellow hair, and you be the one with the black hair, like Snow White.”  I negotiate.
Mary looks at me like I’m one brick short of a full load.  “But you have black hair, you should be Snow White, and I have blonde hair so I should be Cinderella.”
Doesn’t she understand?  This is MY game, MY make-believe world, and this time around things are going to turn out like I want them!  Let HER be the one stuck with ugly brown hair and boring brown eyes.  I get the physical upper hand this time around!  Besides, everyone with any sense knows you have to pretend something that’s NOT, not something that IS.  Otherwise… It’s not pretend, it’s real. DUH.
“But I WANT BLONDE HAIR AND BLUE EYES!!!” I explain in capital letters, so the obviously dense Mary “gets it”.

We would go on to portray our fantasies in varying circumstances, and during those episodes, it was all quite real to me.  I really was that princess, that adopted-by-poor-people wealthy child who was reunited with my rich “real” parents, or that beloved-by-someone, magical me. 

Just call me Cinderelly…

This (deemed by some as delusional) behavior has served me well.  It carried me confidently through an array of scary social situations I wasn’t accustomed to or on some level, dreaded.  I didn’t have the experience that would make me comfortable at dinners with celebrities, dancing in front of hundreds, teaching classes or giving presentations.  Except in my own mind that is.  I simply put on my pretend persona, imagined how it was and like the enchanted person I am, lifted my chin and thought “I am the most fabulous person here” when I walked into a room.  Then bippity boppity boo – magic happened and I did it by just acting “as if”.


Mr. MaidenShade and I were in a show this weekend where this kind of mindset came in very handy.  Picture this:

  • We haven’t done a show (due to many, many moves – see a few posts back) in a loooong time.  Lot’s of pre-show prep to do.  Finding shows in this area and applying took some time.  There were new items to create, inventory to take, signs, pricing, trial run set up to try a new display idea – I could go on. 
  • Setting up is preceded by packing and loading two cars, driving to the venue, unloading and about a 2-3 hour set up.  Hopes and expectations are high at this point.  We got a good wall spot with electricity and extra space available around us.  Our display looks great, this “feels” right!
  • Last minute details on the morning of the show are accented by quick bites of a very dry and tepid egg McMuffin and distracted gulps of chocolate milk.  It’s 9 a.m. and we are ready for the hordes.  This show ends at 3:00.
  • It’s 11:00 and a gorgeous day, not too hot, not too humid.  People are probably doing “nice outside” stuff before coming to the bazaar.  Right?  I make friends with a delightful woman from the Czech Republic who is selling ornaments and candle holders.  We keep each other company, make plans and dream dreams while we wait for all of those customers and Mr. M. reads a book.  My feet are cramping
    and ache.  The chairs we were given are for pre-school children and hurt our joints and behinds mightily.  We are grateful to have them none the less.
  • 12:00, no one coming around but other antsy vendors.  One buys a night light.  In the kitchen a cook burns a plastic cup in the microwave.  Noxious fumes roil through the rooms chasing us and the meager few would-be shoppers outside.  I fear for my shades which are fabric, i.e. odor holder onto-ers.  A frantic employee runs around spraying Lysol like she’s sprinkling some kind of magical faerie dust that will help, it makes it worse.  Now we have two horrible scents warring with one another for dominance.  Hack-hack.
  • 1:00 rolls around and we are looking at one another with tight-lips and furrowed brows.  We engage in tense and weary chatter in-between pacing, primping the products we have, and praying for someone with money and an eye for our stuff to show up.  Grumbling and disbelief are the prevailing energies floating around now, replacing the stench of that burned cup… vendors are pissed.  Some have driven an hour or more for this.
  • At 2:00 I notice people in the main room are breaking down.  Isn’t that like the Cardinal sin of bazaars, art fairs, craft shows?  You HAVE to go down with that sinking ship?  Ummm, not today.  Within 15 minutes me and Mr. MaidenShade are following suit.  Another two hours later we are driving home, then there is the unpacking of the cars and I, auto-immune Annie, crash without re-assimilating everything back into our tiny house.  I’ll have time tomorrow.
  • Speaking of that: The sun will come out tomorrow – I have another show in two weeks.  Another opportunity, and another after that.  In fact have countless opportunities!

My point?  It’s that “act as if” thing again.  When the poor harried coordinator of the event came around yesterday, all I could think of was to say what I wanted to be true.

“It’s all good,” I said brightly.  “You never know what contacts might call you because of this, who you may have touched, and you know there are no accidental meetings so there is a reason for us being here.”  Her face lifted just a bit as she went off to face the other vendors and their wrath; to shoulder the responsibility and take the blame for what was really not her fault.

I guess it’s a tribute to my feet being firmly planted in mid-air, this sunshine attitude.  Of course I can’t always claim it, but mostly I do.  I meant what I said, by the way.  I think I’ll have a commissioned tapestry to create, a special lampshade to make for a little girl I was blessed by and just had to hug, and who knows what else – I’m sure some one will discover me or I’ll discover “it”. 

Oh Mary, I can almost hear you “as if!” Dig Through Me Bins

About Charles Caleb Colton
English minister and author Charles Caleb Colton was best known for his book of essays, Lacon, or Many Things in Few Words. He was born in 1780 in England. He was an avid collector of both wine and paintings and was known as an eccentric for his lifestyle, which was both lavish and ramshackle, and for his church work, which was sometimes brilliant, sometimes slipshod. After leaving the ministry, he lived in Paris for many years. He died in 1832.
"It is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act."

Flights of Fancy

September 28, 2010

EagleThe eagles are back and rebuilding their destroyed nest.  This productivity and tireless industry provides a lesson to my heart, and encourages me in my own life. They represent a tribute to our American spirit, these winged symbols of our freedom. 

My neighbor Judy Thuerk remains a tireless chronicler of the eagle’s progress these last few years.  I’ll glance up from my work to find her out in the yard with her enormous and expensive camera pointed up in our tree (just don’t turn that thing on ME!)  Her photos are amazing, please have a look. 

It is hot and rainy, this does not deter the neighbor ducks who have been adequately bribed so that they come for regular meals of cracked corn and delicious white bread.  http://MaidenShade.comThe day often begins with the eight precious ducklings waddling up for an easy meal, mama bringing up the rear. Their frantic, greedy feedings hammering out a staccato beat on the clay saucer we use, has us running to the window for a look.  Well, it blesses me so.  I even bought a chicken feeder and waterer and told the cats their canned treats will be less generous as a contribution toward the food for the entertainment outside their window.

Daddy has only recently been allowed to join the feasts

Their mama is such a steadfast and faithful guardian, I want to hug her and tell her what a good girl she is.  Octuplets can’t be easy to manage, even in the avian world of ponds, reeds and lily pads.  You will see her hovering and warding off the brazen adolescents who would peck at her babies and eat the food, not sharing at all.  Or staying close by, but allowing them to explore their wondrous world, there outside the egg.

I’ve watched them from day old chicks, toddling along and falling over in their efforts to master grass and the uneven earth they had so recently inherited.  I cried to see one grievously wounded – a bloody gouge in its tiny side – and sitting so silently, blinking innocent baby eyes, while her brothers ate ravenously a ways away.  She would not be tempted even with bread.  Oh it worried me so.  I didn’t want to take a head count that first couple of weeks, lest nature claimed a tiny baby and further broke my heart.  But David did, and one day said, “See, there are still eight”.  You can’t tell me there isn’t a loving God, or that prayer isn’t heard, answered, worthwhile.

6Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 (KJV)

MaidenShade Pond - J. Thuerk

Bits ‘n’ Bobs Boxes

September 20, 2010

RachVia a fabulous mixed media artist and You Tuber, RachO113, 

(who also loves Gary Reef, who, by the way, gave ME a shout out on his latest vlog, ♫ oh I ♥ him!!!),

…Anyway, as I was saying – Via Rach, I found a new element to incorporate into my mixed media work like my Faerie Boxes.  It is a wonderful product called Rub n Buff.  I used it on a foiling project using a recycled watch box and am so pleased – it looks fabulous!  Photos just don’t do this kind of thing justice, but I still think you’ll get the idea in this album I’ve put together on FaceBook.

I’d always had a heck of a time getting the desired effect and tried chalks, foiling pens, paints, etcetera, but never was happy with the results.  Now I am over the moon, Rub n Buff is perfect!  So easy to use and you just need such a tiny amount.  Only one teeny negative but it could just be me, it does kind of make me a bit loopy as it is petroleum based I think – but next time I’ll use better ventilation and it will be all good.

You can readily find this product on eBay and Amazon but in doing my research I found it at the best price in an on-line store I love; introducing Supplies On Demand.  Working with co-owners, webmaster, Dan and head of fulfillment, Jim, was like a shopper’s dream come true.  They did everything in their power to help me and made me know that I, their customer, was #1. 

I placed my order on September 16 in the afternoon, and received the package on September 18!  What, that quickly and shipping is only $1.99?!  What a sweet shop, thank you guys.

From the Supplies On Demand website:

Amaco Logo
“Amaco has been making high quality art and craft supplies since 1919. We carry the complete line of
Amaco Rub ‘n Buff and we will soon add Easy Plastic and Wire Form to our inventory. We are the only online store that has custom multi-packs of Rub ‘n Buff that allow you to get a quantity discount on up to 12 different tubes of Rub ‘n Buff. These metallic paints will add some sparkle to all of your craft projects.”

Rub ‘n Buff is a wax base metallic finish formulated from imported canuba waxes, fine metallic powders and select pigment. This unique blend gives pieces decorated with Rub n Buff a finish no paint can duplicate. It can be applied to any clean dry surface, as well as over previously painted surfaces.

Rub n Buff

Ducks-Bits-n-Bobs-Box-3 has a page for links called “Resourcefully Yours”.  Here, you’ll find Supplies on Demand, Gary Reef and some other wonderful people, vendors, and places that MaidenShade endorses.

The Mixed Media Man

September 14, 2010


I’m so excited – I’ve discovered an artist who shares his considerable knowledge and himself, freely.  To me this is such a gift in more ways (listed for your convenience below) than one.  His name is Gary Reef and he “lives in the remote forests of Norway”, could it be any more perfect???  I love trees!

Tree Picture I Took:091310-Through-the-Branches


  1. First and
  2. second of all, he owns and knows how to use a video camera so he I able to create his “vlogs”.  I have neither one nor two so I am completely impressed. 
  3. Third: Total Well-Spring/Font/Treasure Trove of Knowledge.   With soooo many cool techniques, ideas, things that inspire me as an artist because he is passionate about some of the same things as I am.  I can see them working in my work – they translate fabulously to so many mediums.  I am wriggling in excitement just thinking about things like Citrosolv…
  4. Fourth, this guy is a charmer!  He is able to impart his knowledge in such a way that you not only learn, but you enjoy him as a human being.  Endearing, this lad; vulnerable somehow so you want to pinch him and beat up anyone who dares to be mean to him.  Those eyes hold his essence, sweet and giving.  Plus his Aussie accent is delicious.
  5. Fifth, he says “shit”.  Heh heh heh.  I say shit.  Frequently.  Oh yes, I keep it hidden (mostly) lest people who don’t swear find out the truth (SHE SWEARS LIKE A SAILOR, FOLKS). 

Oh, I could go on but I won’t.  I told Mom MaidenShade last night on the phone [She’s in Minnesota waiting for the Florida weather to get tolerable when she gets here we are doing shows together – isn’t that exciting too?  That’s a different post!] Anyway, I told mom that if I saw this guy, I would kiss him.  (Oh don’t worry, I told Mr. MaidenShade about him too, so it’s not cheating – it’s purely kindred-spiritual, really.)

Go check Gary Reef out on You Tube, on his website, FaceBook, join his NING network – support him in his most worthwhile endeavors.

Ta, I have to go create!  J

Gary Reef

FACEBOOK (Fan Page)…

New from MaidenShade (not even listed yet!):

MaidenShade: Empress Woo Spa Night Light

Empress Woo Spa Night Light ($28 plus shipping)

MaidenShade: Water's Edge Paisley Night Light

Water’s Edge Paisley Night Light ($37 plus shipping)

MaidenShade: Woodland Spa Night Light

Woodland Spa Night Light ($28 plus shipping)

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

September 9, 2010

MaidenShade’s Faerie Goddess Berchta Art Box has been featured in a Treasury on Etsy. Sweet! 

What exactly does that mean?  Well, a Treasury is “Etsy’s ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery”.  It is an indication that one’s work is relevant, and appreciated by one’s peers.  That’s how I took it anyway – it is an honor and I accept it! 

This particular treasury was put together by Collagical, who (as I am) is a member of the Florida Etsy Street Team, or FEST.  This Treasury is called, “Verdigris in a Faerie’s Garden” and it’s got me reaffirming: I do believe in Faeries, I do I do I do!

…a green and blue patina has settled over the copper and bronze hues of the garden, colors of lichen and mossy green are captured in the warmth of sunlight, you hear a faerie’s wings softly flutter, then slowly dusk and dew begin to fall…


What is Etsy?

Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.

Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:

Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

Where is Etsy?

The Etsy community spans the globe with buyers and sellers coming from more than 150 countries. Etsy sellers number in the hundreds of thousands.

If each of these sellers stood outside at night with a really bright flashlight pointed towards the sky, it might look something like the image to the right.

Who is Etsy?

Etsy was founded in June, 2005. We are a community and a company.

Do have a look at Collagical’s Etsy shop – here is one of my fav’s: Unakite Necklace

Unakite Necklace

Support the Florida Etsy Street Team, visit