Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sandyvern "Soaps" the Halls of Hogwarts - A BESTeam Feature

Sandy's Handmade Soaps and Things is a great little shop run by Sandyvern! She loves making soap from scratch using the old-fashioned cold process method of combining various oils, butters, and lye in very small batches. After curing for four to six weeks, these luxurious soaps are hand-cut and individually packaged. Sandy also makes molded soaps using a combination of quality goat milk and shea butter bases, and oatmeal and honey bases. Molded soaps are great as party favors or wedding or shower favors.

A native New Englander and a self-taught crafter, Sandyvern was born and raised in Massachusetts, spent her young adulthood in New Hampshire and has been living in Connecticut for the last ten years. She runs a pet sitting business and in between taking care of her customers’ animals she crafts. “I love the mixing of the ingredients and the process of making soap from scratch using the cold process method,” she says. “But I love the artistic details of doing the 'melt and pour' soaps.”

Sandy is person to her own little menagerie including Brandon, a Border Collie/Australian shepherd mix, two cats (Ms. Spencer and Oreo), one ferret (Sammy), two parrotlets (Rory and Logan) and three bearded dragons (Harry Potter, Weasly and Hermione). When she’s not making soap or taking care of animals, Sandy’s either knitting or dabbling in jewelry making.

Speaking of jewelry, here's a special kind just for knitters. Ravenclaw House Stitch Markers a beautiful way to embellish or mark your place!

Gryffindor values courage, bravery, loyalty, nerve and chivalry. Its mascot is the lion, and its colours are scarlet and gold. This Gryffindor House Soap is made of a shea butter base soap, colored a light red (of course!) and scented with a Blue Bonnets.

Ravenclaw, Gryffindor and now owls? Holy Hogwarts, Harry! Am I sensing a THEME here?? :-) This Owl Soap could be modeled on Hedwig! All of these items are perfect for the Harry Potter fans in your life from age eight to eighty.

Aromatherapy, anyone? These Pink Grapefruit Bath Bombs are the ultimate fizzy luxury at the end of a hard day! Throw them in your bath or shower and luxuriate in the lavender scent! Great gift for anyone who likes to pamper themselves. Or, to give someone YOU want to pamper!

These Pastel Pink Jolly Rancher Earrings really resemble the little hard candy treats! They're made from frosted square beads and various Czech glass beads in pastel pink with surgical steel fish hooks. They're so lovely! Perfect for a new graduate, bride or bridesmaid!

I've saved the best for last! (Drum roll, please.) My favorite is the Watermelon Soap Popsicle! I honestly don't believe I could even stand to get these scrumptious-looking little morsels wet! They are just too cute! But for those of you who have better sense, soapsicles are a great way to get kids in the bathtub and an even better way to keep them in there. Each soapsicle the size of a standard popsicle and made from a gentle, vegan-friendly glycerin soap base. Each soapsicle comes shrink wrapped and decorated with a ribbon.

Whether you're a Harry Potter fan or not, you can certainly find something to love in Sandyvern's shop! Please take a flue trip over to her blog at and get a glimpse of her inspiration!

And speaking of inspiration, are you an inspired blogger on Etsy? Well, WE WANT YOU! The BESTeam is looking for inspired bloggers to join our ranks! So stop by and see what we have to offer!

All the best!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Sooooo, Whatcha' Watchin'?

Okay, so I admit I'm a fan of SciFi and Fantasy, have been since long before the genre became popular. For the longest time I couldn't share my interests because the best storytelling was in books and getting people out of their comfort zone is no easy task.

But these days, there are so many really well done sf&f shows and movies that I can finally share! Here's a peek at my latest guilty pleasure, Game of Thrones! Politics intrigue murder, sex and magic intertwine in this George R.R. Martin plot! Here's a recap of the story.

Any other fans out there?


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video Tutorial - Basics of Metal Stamping

Here's a little video on the basics of metal stamping. It's a great way to create personalized and unique metal jewelry.

If you like this video, please click the like button at the bottom of this entry. If there is anything you would like to see covered, just let me know in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pecanieregirl: "Sew" Much Fun! - A BESTeam Feature

Pecanieregirl runs Gramme's House on Etsy, a shop that has a little of everything. For the sweet babies, infants and toddlers in your life, there are dresses, little boy's jon-jons, bibs, ribbons, hair bows, and diaper bags. Looking for a gift for an adult, check out her key fobs, badge holders, koozies, purse organizers, and tissue holders. The shop offers monogramming, personalization, appliqué and custom designs.

Pecanieregirl, a mother and grandmother, works her creative magic in a small community in southern Louisiana called Livonia. A trained and practicing hospice nurse, she gives her professional and compassionate attention to those who need her most.

“I learned to sew from my older sister years ago,” says Pecanieregirl, “and sewed quite a bit when my children were younger. I have recently started sewing and machine embroidery again, and am now hopelessly hooked.” Besides spending time with her family, sewing is her favorite pastime. “I love making boutique style dresses, baby items and even have my hand in digital and paper scrapbooking."

This Set of 2 Personalized Bibs with zoo animals appliques - Mix or match  would make a great shower gift for the expectant mom on your list!

Any LSU fans on your list? Here's a great little LSU Mini keyfob just to wish them well!

Take the little ones in your life to "Infinity and Beyond" with Buzz, Woody and this Personalized Toy Story Kindermat cover with attached pillowcase!

Momma and baby will be stylin' with this fabulous Personalized Diaper Bag - Zebra design. Are you SURE this is for diapers?!!

Okay, this is just too freaking cool! Check out this Little girls diaper cover - Bloomers - CAMO Diva! Get over it guys, camo's now a (baby) girl's best friend.

This Personalized Pencil Box in your choice of color vinyl makes a great gift for school-aged kids. It's also a great little knick-knick or storage box for anyone on your list!

Whew! What a great selection of personalized items! And you can find so much more at her shop on Etsy! She has a wonderful blog so stop by and join. Also, become a fan of hers on Facebook! Be sure to do some shopping at Gramme's House, where there is always "sew" much fun!!!

And speaking of fun, do love to blog and have a shop on Etsy? If so, join the BESTeam and see what fun is REALLY all about!

All the best!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Video Tutorial - How to Drill Metal to Make Jewelry

Hey There!

     I've found another video tutorial on how to drill metal for jewelry making from Wonder How To. Pretty straightforward but shows a couple of techniques.


      Some more basics of making jewelry. Hope you like it!

     Don't forget to leave a comment if you like it, (or not)! :-)


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Creative Passion at Creativity Bugs - Another BESTeam Feature

The Creativity Bugs are two sisters (Sandy and Sue) who have a passion for crafting. For these two making gifts for family and friends has now turned into a business venture. Their Etsy store includes paper crafts and gifts, handmade cards, paper craft kits and supplies, holiday gifts, doll clothing and accessories, plus a whole lot more.

The sisters are avid crafters who began at a very early age. The love of crafting was inherited from their mom, who loving taught her daughters how to make something special out of next to nothing.

Creativity Bug Sue is a crafty crafter whose first projects included potholders made with string loops, doll furniture made from recycled cereal boxes and plastic containers, and vases made from old bottles covered with masking tape and inks. Not surprising her first Brownie badge earned was for arts & crafts.

Creativity Bug Sandy is a crafter, artist, and seamstress. Art classes in high school broadened her horizons, gave her a flare for color and design and a desire to turn trash into treasures. No one has a better knack for finding diamonds in the rough at garage sales and thrift stores and turning them into unique gifts.

Say "hello" to someone special with this Blue, Green, and Turquoise Hummingbird Hello Card. It's a lovely 3D card to send "just because" any time of year.

This Blue Green Yellow Flower Achieve Blank Card is a sensational gift for the new graduate! It inspires the loftiest goals in anyone!

This luscious Creme Brule scented candle with butterflies is a sure fire hit with any lady on your list! Makes a wonderful gift for teacher, housewarming, friendship, and birthday.

This adorable little owl thank you - blank card is blank inside for you to handwrite a special personalized note to the recipient. A great way to say "thanks" for that graduation gift!

Spring is here, which means summer is not too far behind! Get those feet ready for sandal weather and bare footing with the softening effects of foot salts.This Soothing Foot Salts with Decorative Red Flower Gift Tag is 2 ounces of scented bliss!

Creativity Bugs is another family-owned business on Etsy, stop by and see all they have to offer! You can also find the sisters on their blog or become a devoted fan on Facebook.

Speaking of devoted, are you devoted to blogging? If that's true then WE WANT YOU! Join the BESTeam and find out what we have to offer!

All the best!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Here's a Sneak Peek at the Newest Attractions at Designs by M'Ayanna

I've been a speculative fiction addict for more than 40 years. I was into Heinlein, Tolkien and P. K. Dick back in the days when they were considered down right weird. Now they are more than acceptable, they're fashionable. This is due in no small part to today's fascination  with the industrial revolution and the fascinating possibilites represented by that era. The influence of science fiction writers from the late 19th century like Wells and Verne is still alive today in steam punk fashion and lifestyle. I'm putting my own spin on the style as part of my New Vintage collection.

Skeleton keys are a big part of the steam punk look. This 3 inch brass key embellishment is combined with 25mm antique brass wheel elements, red and clear faceted glass rounds and hung from an oval linked antique brass chain. I think it's a cool, rather elegant piece and great for dress or casual wear!

Look for it and more new items at Designs by M'Ayanna!


Giveaway from Designs by M'Ayanna at Blue Butterfly Vintage!

Hey There!

Well Jenn is doing it again. She's hosting a giveaway for my "Squares and Circles" bracelet! Hurry over to get your Chance to Win!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Coming Attraction! Coming Soon to Designs By M'Ayanna on Etsy!

My New Vintage line includes classic styles and classic techniques. One of those classic techniques is decoupage. I learned to do decoupage last year. i honestly though of it as something little old ladies did to keep busy. I never realized what a wonderful way it is to be creative when you are otherwise artfully challenged! So come meet my buddy "Chauncey."

 "Chauncey" is also a steam punk themed pendant done in wood. The artwork is from fellow Etsian LandofEnchantment and has been glued to a wooden domino. The image is embellished with a piece of the inner workings of an antique watch, a red rhinestone and a pale olive green rhinestone. It is covered in 20 coats of of decoupage medium and dipped twice in wood lacquer. The embellishments add a certain something to the dimensionality of the piece. Isn't he handsome?

Coming soon to Etsy!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Preview: Up Next at Designs by M'Ayanna on Etsy

 It's been a Lo-o-o-ong time coming, but the new line is finally here!

Last fall I started a line called "New Vintage." It's my take on the vintage craze with some unique elements and mixed techniques, styles and colors. I found some fabulous raw brass filigree with fresh from the forge patinas and I used one to create this little number.

Okay, can you tell it's a Steam Punk style design? I'm calling these pendants "Pretty in (Steam) Punk." (I twisted up that bail myself, been working on my wire techniques, too! I know I'm supposed to be all artsy and stuff, but I'm having so much fun I'm bouncing in my seat!) It's a cold connected piece fabricated by yours truly! This raw brass pendant is composed of a beautiful 35mm filigree medallion, a 25mm 5-spoke brass gear wheel and a lovely amethyst-colored 5-petal Czech glass flower. It hangs on three lengths of silk embroidery ribbon. My daughter keeps looking at it with puppy dog eyes, so it's definitely got appeal!

Coming soon to Etsy!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oh, So Lovely! - Bits 'n Beads by Gilliauna: A BESTeam Feature

      If I had to use only one word to describe Bits n Beads by Gilliauna it would be just lovely (okay, maybe two words). She creates exquisite and unique handmade artisan jewelry rich in color and quality including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, eyeglass chains, beaded lanyards, charms, zipper pulls, rosaries and more.

      Like me, Gilliauna loves color. And color and quality are what her shop is all about, her items are all well crafted and beautifully displayed. A testament to her experience and skill, her site holds a myriad of beaded jewelry and gift items that display a remarkable sense of artistic balance, patient craftsmanship and attention to detail.

      Bits n Beads by Gilliauna often uses cleaned, re-purposed and vintage jewelry parts and beads in many of her colorful creations. This helps to help keep waste to a minimum, and shopping for vintage materials at places like the Salvation Army helps the community.

      An artist with over 20 years experience, Gilliauna is a US citizen who lives and works in British Columbia, Canada. Her lovely creations can be seen at craft shows both across the border and in Washington state, as well as a variety of venues on the web.

      Here we have a piece that caught my eye right off. This Agate Dragons Vein Necklace Handmade in Bronze is a really striking piece. Notice the little bronze filigree beadcap at the bottom of the pendant and the little dragons vein bead that dangles at the end of the chain. It's these types of details that make Gilliauna's work truly unique. Great for Mom or Mother of the bride!

      These Gold Hoop Earrings, Amethyst Gemstone caught my eye because they're purple, of course. But they are also set to dangle on gold plated "Adik" hoops with a safety hook clasp. Again, it's in the details! A great gift for Mom, a new graduate or something "new" for the bride!

     Here's a bit of colorful whimsy any bookworm or new graduate will adore! This Handmade Beaded Book Charm - Dragonfly's Kiss, a one-of-a-kind silver-plated bookmark, boasts a dragonfly and a two-tone faceted glass bead of green and blue. Useful and pretty to boot!

     With summer just around the corner, what could be more apropos than this adorable Ladybug Love Handmade Charm Bracelet in Red, hm? Bright and cheerful, this charm bracelet was created using red coral beads, glass pearls and wire wrapped red glass beads; with little lampwork ladybugs and a matching silver plated toggle clasp on a silver plated chain. A sweet graduation or birthday gift for some lucky girl!

      These Frosted Amber Teardrop Earrings, Gold Wire Wrapped are a Gilliauna signature design called "The Elixirs." The glass drops in these earrings have been hand-dipped in clouding solution to create a satin sheen before being set to dangle on delicate matching gold-tone hooks designed by hand for a unique and graceful shape.


    As you can see, Bits 'n Beads by Gilliauna is a marvelous place to find well-made, handcrafted jewelry and gifts! She also maintains a wonderful blog with guidance and inspiration for gift shoppers. And be sure to become a fan of hers on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! So many lovely items, so little time!

     Speaking of lovely, do you love to blog? Are you on Etsy? Well, the BESTeam wants you! Stop by and see what lovely things we have to offer!

All the best!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Video Tutorial - Make a Even Peyote Stitch Amulet bag

Hey There!

Okay. you wanted more tutorials, you got 'em! Here's one from digsart on making an even count tubular peyote stitch amulet bag!

Happy beading!