Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's hard to believe 2009 is almost gone.  As we prepare our Thanksgiving feasts, eat way too much and begin to decorate for Christmas, Hanukkah and a myriad of other year end celebrations, it's a nice time to reflect on the things that truly make our life rich.  I have so many things and people to be thankful for, as I'm sure you do to.  I truly am a lucky individual and grateful for my very full life.  So, I thought I'd share a few things that I'm mindful of this Thanksgiving:

1.  After a torturous 2008, my dad has remained cancer-free for almost a year and a half.  Thank you M.D. Anderson!
2.  My family.  We're all so close and I don't know what I'd do without each and every one of them.
3.  My husband.  It took me a long time to find him, but it was worth the wait.  Aside from giving me the freedom and support to explore my artistic endeavors, being incredibly supportive, and providing our wonderful lifestyle, he's also brought my four amazing stepchildren into our lives.  They're just the best people ever and I'm so lucky to have inherited them. I know I don't tell him thank you and how much I appreciate him nearly as often as I should.
4.  Having my two youngest stepchildren home for a full year (and a bit) now after four years of studying abroad in Ethiopia.  Our lives are richer for having them back in Texas.
5.  Having something to share with my mom.  She makes handbags and I have my jewelry.  We've not always had a lot of common interests to share, but for the past year have worked together in support of each other to grow our individual businesses.  Dad has always said to mom, my sister and myself that we should be doing something with our talents.  Now we are (my sister's a graphic designer).  Mom and I have done several craft shows together...something I might not have done on my own, but truly enjoy doing with mom.  It's fun to share business ideas with her and encourage each other along the way.
6.  My unfailingly good health (knock on wood) and that of my family.
7.  No matter how bad things get, for some reason everything always works out for the best for me and my family.  Our guardian angels, I'm sure...the family no longer on this earth, but still a part of our day to day lives.
8.  My many, many, many dear, close friends all around the world.
9.  The eleven babies that many of those friends and family members have brought into the world this year in addition to the children they already have.  They make every day a little brighter.

I could go on for pages.  I truly consider myself lucky and I think it's beneficial to stop and actually think about it.  Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day and don't stop to realize how fortunate we are, for both the little things and the big.  Feel free to take a moment, if you feel so inspired, to comment on what you're thankful for as well.

Wishing everyone out there, in the U.S. and abroad, the very best on this Thanksgiving, through the holidays and in the coming year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eye Candy Everywhere!

I've really loved checking my e-mail in the morning these past few days!  This morning's surprise was a message from Olivia of S and O Productions today alerting me that a treasury I was included in was highlighted on her gorgeous blog (of which I am now a follower!).  Olivia and her sister, Sarah (the S in S and O) have put together an amazing list of their "Elite Eight" treasuries.  Needless to say, I feel so privileged to be in a tiny little corner of such a wonderful collection.  By the way, be sure to check out Olivia's shop, OliviaOlivia on Etsy!

One of the treasuries featured in S and O's post was from Nurit of NuritDesign, who keeps pouring on the Etsy love and included my Bird's Nest Necklace in another one of her beautiful treasuries entitled, "I don't worry about diets..." with the description, "The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond."  Good advice in a quote from Mae West as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in the United States.  Since Nurit is in Tel Aviv, she may well have no idea how appropriate that quote is at this time of year!  Let the feasting begin!
While I do have my own website for Amy Holton Designs, I have to say, I truly enjoy maintaining my shop on Etsy (amyholtondesigns) and have met some wonderful people there.  Imagine, a whole site of independent artists doing what they love together and supporting each other in any way they can.  I've met so many amazing people in the forums, including Olivia, Nurit and Noa, all willing to help each other share our creations with the world.  From Texas to Tel Aviv, the love of creating beautiful things knows no boundaries.

I'm off for the Thanksgiving holidays tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's All About Getting What You Want

"If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it."  So says the quote by Brendan Francis which was cleverly used as the title to Noa Brumberg's new treasury on Etsy and there are many objects of desire in her treasury!  For one, I'm slightly obsessed over Nurit Design's Flower Ring...

It made me so happy today to find that she'd also featured my Hammered Hoop Emerald Earrings in her treasury as it's so full of beautiful, colorful objects of desire!  

Check out Noa's shop as well.  NOICA has the most adorable plush creatures and graphic designs.  She's also a member of the Craftomania Toolbar team who created my new favorite toy...the Craftomania Toolbar.  If you're on Etsy and haven't checked it out, I highly recommend you do...after clicking through her treasury and checking out NOICA, of course!

Thanks, Noa for the support and the wonderful holiday shopping ideas!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Treasure of a Treasury

As I was at my work table today, rushing to get to a trunk show, a little window popped up on my computer screen letting me know I had a new e-mail.  Hmmmm...."Etsy Conversations."  I'd better go check it...

To my delight and surprise, I had a lovely message from another fellow Etsian, Nurit of Nurit Design letting me know she had chosen my Emerald Hammered Hoop Earrings for her beautiful treasury, cleverly entitled "Jewelry Takes People's Minds...Off Your Wrinkles."  It's always so flattering to be chosen for someone's treasury and Nurit's is truly beautiful.

After having a look in her own shop, I felt even more honored to have been chosen.  Nurit does metalsmithing (my next goal) and creates beautiful jewelry of sterling silver, 9k or 14k yellow, white or rose gold and her work is just amazing.  You must go an check out her shop at Nurit Design on Etsy.

Today was like Christmas, as Nurit also sent me this fabulous tool for us Etsy folks...the Craftomania Toolbar!  It was created by her friend and fellow Etsian, Noa Brumberg whose shop has the most adorable graphic designs, baby onesies and plush creatures ever at NOICA (find her under noabrumberg, which is how she's listed on Etsy). Read more on the Craftomania Tools blog, then go promptly to the Craftomania Toolbar download site and get your own!  Everything you need, right at the top of the screen.  I heart Craftomania (and every plush toy in NOICA)!

Thanks again, Nurit and Noa, for the Etsy love...both through the treasury and a fabulous new toolbar!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Little Etsy Love - Cool New Etsy Tools!

A fellow (brilliantly clever) Etsian, Shannon Kish, has created a great Etsy shop statistics site for those of us who sell on Etsy and are addicted to checking our statistics. Etsy Goth provides similar features as Heart-o-Matic (which is another favorite tool), but Shannon has taken it a couple of steps further, having also given the user the ability to sort by the returned information as well as show summary data regarding the returned results.  While she says it's still a work in progress, I find it very useful and it has quickly become one of my daily must-check sites.  You can view statistics about items in your shop, those who "heart" your listings and shop as well as retrieve summary information about listings and favorers.

Also don't forget to check out her fantastic artwork and jewelry at her own Etsy shop, alphagrl

Thanks for the great new tool, Shannon!