Friday, December 25, 2009



excitement, pushing hard to get things done but feeling confident it would all come together

it all comes together

we're on the move and listening to the dark side of the moon in between carols on the radio

arrive and greetings, eating dinner and feasting on sweet treats




improv gymnastics/dance show by the girls, each time is a "rehearsal" aka work in progress - i watch all versions loving every minute of it


the last bits of tidying up

bernie and peanut sing carols together

thoughtful talks then tucking in



good morning! let's see what santa has brought us

frenzy and fun

off to another gathering at the farm

more laughter & love and once the pack of young ones are whole, let the games begin...

a feast proceeded by grace by my aunt that got my mom and i teary

s shares her big surprise for great. cornbread made from the very corn they harvested at thanksgiving and ground as a team - we applaud, and then we eat

the little ones are so eager for presents it begins after the last plate has been cleared

pure joy, more laughter, more love, such goodness....

playing airplane with my two biggest lil buddies... what a workout. what pure joy seeing k's face saying "do it again" over and over smiling... my love...


home. exhausted. ready for bed. it isn't over yet... but tomorrow is a pause.
very happy.
very thankful.

l o v e

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rob is BACK!!

Not Rob my husband, I'm talking about Rob Kalin aka "Rokali" on Etsy. The original creator and CEO of Etsy is back at the reigns after almost two years away and I couldn't be happier. When I opened up shop in 2006 as livefunky, I was welcomed into a blossoming community of artisans and it felt like home. I had almost instant satisfaction getting views and sales with a fraction of the investment I had been pouring into my eBay shop. In a matter of a few days I left eBay "for good" (I've tested the waters again every now and then and the report is still, bla, no thanks. I can't go backwards and that's what it feels like when I try eBay again). Were there problems on Etsy in 06/07? For sure. But they were all the sorts of aches and pains that something growing will naturally experience. When Maria Thomas became the CEO of Etsy in early 2008, I assumed Etsy had evolved, as many sellers were individually evolving, from small mom and pop to a larger scaled business, and as far as I was concerned bigger was better, right? I assumed it needed to be that way, things change and people need to roll with what's best for the company. I assumed the best.

The positive changes that Maria brought to Etsy were many and (not that she'd be reading my little blog but...) I'd like to thank her for her time and service to a company that I care about and belong to. However, somehow the more "pro" Etsy seemed to become the less magic it exuded. It became predictable. Even though Etsy has always seemed to have a bit of favoritism (speaking of which, in a way how can you blame them?) we found ourselves getting to the point where we saw the same items over and over in admin created elements of the site (gift guides, front pages made by admin). I didn't feel sour grapes, it was more frustration because it seemed like an act of laziness more than favoritism. It's one of those deals where you think "I could do a better job than that!" and really, how do I know - I've never done it. There's just so much great work on Etsy, if I had the job of picking front pages I'd be constantly on the hunt for new and unique items to heart and feature. As for the gift guides, repeats of favs are expected but it was a regular thing to see misplaced items in the various categories. If you say "these are all items under $50" they should all be under $50. It's not that difficult to scan a page and see. I know we all make mistakes, and I may be sounding harsh right now, but the frequency of seeing the same "mistakes" starts to lessen understanding and compassion for the one/s making those mistakes. It was a great idea, but if you don't do it right, it just looks sloppy.

(Now I know what you're thinking... who made you the expert on Etsy? No one and I'm not, these are just my own personal reactions to the big new year's news. Every member of Etsy has their own unique perspective on the company and what it should be/do/look like/operate/etc. That just shows how invested we all are, and it's beyond just business, it's personal. How could it not be when so much of the Etsy population is made up of creative people sharing their hearts and souls woven into a blanket that was thoughtfully designed or a work of art painted with passion?)

That being said, I shall continue with my opinion piece on the matter at hand. ;) When the news of Rob's return hit Etsy, he followed up with these two posts that begin to answer all of the questions and concerns of the Etsy community.

Right off the bat I'm tickled pink by these posts. He's here, he's present and he's talking to us AND listening to us AND responding with honesty rather than vague blanket statements or talking in circles. I am particularly pleased to read these quotes from his posts.

"I'd like to know (am asking this for the fine art artists on etsy) if etsy is planning on doing more promotion of 'fine art' on etsy? Are the fine art artists going to have a more defined category and sub categories of art? (MysticSilks)
Yes, we'll be redoing all the category structures. We've spent a lot of time researching this. Etsy has also been talking with art schools and museums to help push this further, and Matt (who was heading this up) can speak more about it."

Communicating with the art world for our advantage? Hooray! Can't wait to hear what Matt says...

- Will there be more open lines of communication with admin? More personalized answers rather than canned responses? (MNHPhotography)
Yes, yes, yes. We have a long way to go, but we're moving in this direction.--

Weekend Deals: Will Etsy still be trying to get us to do the SMARMY SAMMY'S USED CAR BLOWOUT EXTRAVAGANZA type of deals with free shipping, BOGO, and other stuff that simply isn't feasible for most of us? (peaseblossomstudio)
No, no, no. Weekend deals have been scrapped, you won't see them again.

Thank goodness for both of these responses! No more gift guides (mentioned in another quote) and no more weekend deals that reflect poorly on the quality aspect of the site. If individual shops want to have sales that's great but to encourage sellers to slash their earnings for a bit of exposure was, in my opinion, insulting and denegrating to the whole.

Some members in the Etsy forums express concern in Rob's use of words, particularly the term social commerce. I'm not worried by that, to me it means getting back to the people behind the scenes - the creators, the makers, the collectors, the buyers. Also, the people behind the scenes of Etsy, who Rob wants to welcome into the public converstation again, starting here. I believe this is a return to the heart of Etsy, the spirit that made you take notice and want to explore further.

I'm reminded of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (which my husband and I love) and the many businesses you see that have something special about them but they try all of the other gimmicks in the book and it's the gimmicks that bury them. Ramsay always comes along to find the one or two great elements of the place and focus on them, simplify the menu and get the staff to work as a well oiled machine, as a team. Along the way Chez Etsy got distracted and tried to be something it's not, something that fought against the very thing that made it special to begin with. I'm hoping Rob can come in like Ramsay (perhaps with less cursing, but hey, whatever works for you!) and get this place back on it's feet and better than ever before.

We can't go back, nor should we, so looking forward is the best answer harnessing our strongest assets, our lessons learned and our biggest and brightest dreams. Cheers to a New Year my friends - and cheers to a new Etsy!

Let the games begin - What are your comments on the matter?????

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light in the Darkness

As I sit here in my living room on a quiet late afternoon, the sun long set, the glow of our Christmas tree warms my heart. We set it up this weekend. It's fake but that's ok with me. Even though I grew up with real trees and I love them, there's no way we could get away with a real tree in our house with Leo (our yellow lab). He'd see that and think "STICK!" and I can only imagine the destruction that would ensue. I don't mind the fake tree, it's sweet and it's long and lean so it doesn't take up too much space in our small home.

I've been really getting into the Christmas spirit this year because I've needed it. I've needed the sense of magic, the playful and heartfelt emotions, the pretty lights and familiar songs. I've chosen to ignore any of the commercialism or Black Friday type mayhem that goes along with this season. It doesn't really affect us so why give it any bit of thought? I'm choosing to be nostalgic and carried away and it's doing wonders for my mood and outlook.

Our humble home and lifestyle may frustrate us at times but it's so clear how blessed we are as we laugh and love as a family together. I don't have to look far to be reminded of how lucky we are to have a home, to have oil in our furnace, to have food on our plates, and aside from the seasonal sniffles, we all have our health. Thank God. I don't often share my spiritual feelings in this medium and I won't be much in the future either. But I do thank God for the greatest gift of true love with my husband and best friend and the three blessings of children that make me a better person just knowing them. I thank God for hearing my prayers, for hearing all of our prayers in saving my mother four years ago. I am thankful every day to have her in my life and I am thankful for my father for being there for her always in all ways. They have taught me so much about life and love, forgiveness and growth. They inspire me to strive beyond what's comfortable and known, to push towards goals knowing that my faith in achieving them will take me half the way there. I'm thankful for my dog who has shown me that it's possible to live a life of pure joy! When I see him bounding through the snow retrieving a stick I can't help but hear his soundtrack as "It's the most wonderful time of the year!".

Lastly, I thank God for our special relationship and the blessing of creativity. Our wordless communication through paint on canvas, the acceptance and the spark that is always there, accessible whenever I simply allow myself to acknowledge it. The spiritual reward of painting carries me along and I've mixed finances with my greatest passion but sales and marketing and bla bla bla aside, it's my heart and soul and it was here from the beginning. I cannot help but assume my creator made me this way on purpose. So I paint and I am rewarded and I find that good things come into my life when I just allow myself to be my true self and live accordingly. I feel, I sense, I know that this spirit that I do not assume to understand accepts me, forgives me, believes in me and wants good for me. I am eternally grateful for that feeling, for that knowing.

Whatever one's personal connection to faith may or may not be, there is a universal message that light shines in the darkest times. Be it a star, a candle, or Clark Griswald's outrageously lit up house. I really FEEL that this year in such a personal way, becoming acutely aware of how the season (the lack of light) affects my behavior, my thoughts and feelings, my emotions. This light lifts me up and makes me smile. It's comforting and hopeful. It takes away my fears and replaces them with peace. It reminds me of the light that always shines within me, within all of us, no matter what.

Thank you readers for following me along my journey and for your insightful, funny and wonderful comments. I wish you peace and happiness as we look towards a new year together.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New floral stamp set

Available at - too early to start thinking Spring? It's never too early for me!

End of Year Sales

Buy one painting get the second half off in my gallery collection:

20% off everything in my LiveFunky gift shop:

Now through January 1 enjoy these great savings on unique artwork and products!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Let me introduce you to Bernie

This is Bernie. My first grown up puppet and probably not the last. I bought Bernie from a wonderful Etsy seller (great name too, right?). He is the best and purchased entirely for our own amusement. Seriously, it's amazing what a blue mood buster Bernie is. It's just silly, bug eyed, fuzzy fun and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

In this shot, I think Bernie is thinking very philosophical thoughts. He's a deep thinker. My husband and I would like to make some Bernie videos so you may be seeing more of him down the road. If/when that happens then the whole world will have access to my unique brand of insanity.

As a funny aside, the creator of Bernie gave him that name and it's just too perfect, I had to keep it. When I was a little kid I called Bert and Ernie "Bernie" collectively - my parents say I'd point to the TV and excitedly announce "Bernie!" when they came on Sesame Street. I always thought it was just one of those quirky things kids do but now I can't help but wonder.... maybe I knew? haha Oh I'm just giddy with love for Bernie. Or Bernard. He doesn't care what you call him.