2011 - what really matters

The Happy Couple Dec. 24 2011

Planning on sharing a highlights of 2011 post today,  I enjoyed wandering through memories of friends made, books read, destinations visited, artwork created & other wonders enjoyed this year. Then I decided that my 2011 can be summed up in 1 word:


Loved ones gained & lost. Unions & reunions. A couple of close shaves. All made me appreciate & enjoy those close to me (& those far away) more than ever.  I've blogged less and hugged more.  For some people this is normal but for me.... not so much. 

Me, my Dad & my stunning Sis

We just returned from 2 weeks of visiting our New England relations. There was a fabulous gathering on Christmas Eve to celebrate the wedding of my Dad to his lovely bride. 

Little Dude's new Uncles & Aunt

A grand time was had by all...

.... and the bride wore Etsy!

Anyone who hangs out here knows I have a soft spot for all things handmade. This gorgeous dress was created by the designing duo from EllanaCouture.Etsy.com. <----Visit the link for more fantastic finds from this talented team.  

custom hand dyed scarf from Everywitchway.etsy.com

If you are into fun fashion, also pop by Everywitchway.Etsy.com to check out the yummy made to order hand-dyed velvet scarves. I love mine! This fluffy wrap brought together my silk top & crinkly skirt, while perfectly matching the red velvet party shoes. (Thanks again, Cyn & Kat!!)

So what does 2012 hold?

I predict good times, fun folks, new challenges and lots & lots of images. Plus a host of cool giveaways, studio tours & guest artists visiting my little corner of the internet.

Which reminds me - if you have not yet entered tomorrow's random drawing, get to it! Leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. (EST) to enter. On January 1st 2012 two random winners will start their New Year with a splash of good luck and a gift certificate to MeiFaithStudio on Etsy! 

Chinese Pagoda Limited Edition Print from MeiFaithStudio

Psst.... I'll let you in on a secret.... your odds are really good. Travels, computer woes and my slacker nature slowed posting in December... so very few folks have commented since this contest began. For giveaway details and a visit with the artist/jewelry designer who generously donated the first prizes of 2012 click here.

Wishing you a wonderful end to 2011 and a Happy And Healthy (& Lucky) New Year!!


Santa shops Etsy

Some things you will find under my tree:

Velvet Leg Warmers from RomanticNocturnis

for our  roller-derby queen

Something Blue Earrings from hARTdestash

and the glamour girl

Bacon Flavored Fleur de Sel Caramels from PoisonApple

for the carnivore with a sweet tooth

Aqua Coffee Coaster from BuffaloCreekCrafts

and the the coffee lover

Purple Flower Lampwork Beads from FireInIceLampwork

for the crafter

Barnibus from The Feltery

and the kidlet

Custom plushies from The Feltery

Actually the kiddo is getting a custom job -  Totoro & friends... but it hasn't arrived yet,so I thought I'd  share a photo of the dapper  Barnibus Cat.

5 card tarot reading from AgentOfChaos
And for me - some help to navigate the familial chaos.


Visit Mei Faith Studio & enter 2 random drawings - ends 1/1/12

Pagoda Emperor's Summer Palace Temple photo from Mei Faith Studio

Hey there. How have you been? Holidays keeping you busy? You look like you could use a breather. Why don't you take off that coat and stay a while. Today we're visiting with Sherry Pompey Leonard from MeiFaithStudio.Etsy.com. I ran into Shelley during the 4 day Etsy Come Together Team's Black Friday through Cyber Monday Online Sale last month. (Now that was a lot of fun! Ran into some old friends, made new one, had a few sales and even got some Christmas shopping in)

She kindly agreed to stop by for a chat and to sponsor the latest Thursday Giveaway. If you are in a rush, pop to the bottom of the post for prize details. But if you can spare a few minutes, join us for virtual tea & cookies (or other favorite imaginary, zero calorie snack). We'd love to have you! 

Pink Goddess Turquoise necklace & bracelet from Mei Faith Studio

Shelly plays with a variety of mediums including photography, painting and jewelry design. You can click on any of the captions in this post for more info about her wonderful creations. Now that we've restoked the fireplace and settled into our cozy chairs, let's start with a few fun questions:

When did you first become interested in art & jewelry design?

SPL: I have been "creating" for as long as I can remember. My mom is always telling me stories about how I would sit with a few pieces of blank paper and a box of {that famous} 64 crayons for hours and just draw. As I grew, my interests in art & creating grew too. Before our soon-to-be four children came into my life, I was an upcoming self taught artist. Several of my paintings sold in local galleries and online. I walked away from it all after {adopting} coming home with our first daughter, Francesca Mei, in 2005 from China. It was at that time I needed to focus my energy on my daughter and myself. 

Love Sibling Sisters Adoption from Mei Faith Studio

SPL: As the years past, I settled into motherhood ~ started a life as a stay at home wife & mom ~ and focus all my attention in growing our family {through the miracle of adoption}. Once our second daughter, Annabelle Faith, came home in 2008, I wanted to show & teach my daughters that even though you are a mom, you can still do what you love - and for me that is creating! After taking a few jewelry design classes and falling in love with all those semi precious gemstones, I knew I found where I needed to be. So I opened up my shop on etsy back in April of 2009 with about 30 pieces of sterling silver & semi precious one-of-a-kind jewelry creations and Mei Faith Studio was born.

Dangle Blue Green & Sterling Earrings from Mei Faith Studio

What are your favorite materials and why?
SPL: Anything that I can express my visions with....whether it be with semi precious gemstones, a paint brush, a camera lens, or that box of 64 {still my favorite} crayons! It’s all about creating!

Which came 1st the painting, photography or jewelry?
SPL: Painting came first {picked up my first serious paint brush back in grade school} - than photography {took some advanced photography classes when in high school through a local college} - than jewelry. 

Dusk Old World Nighttime from Mei Faith Studio

Where do you find inspiration?
SPL: Everywhere and anywhere...but it is the simple things I see, like a certain color, shape and/or design, which gets my imagination working...

Heaven's Eye Photograph from Mei Faith Studio
Do you listen to anything while creating?
SPL: Music...some days it is classical while other days it is very "alternative" ~ Theory of a Deadman is HUGE on my iPod!

What is the last book/movie you read/watched?
SPL: Seeing how it is Christmas time, I am glued to my TV watching all those holiday Hallmark, Lifetime, AMC and TCM movies! For me it doesn't matter if I've seen them {many times} before, I always enjoy watching them and it makes the holiday season that more real.

Red Star & Sterling Christmas Pendant from Mei Faith Studio

What do you like to do when you are not creating?
SPL: Be with my family - first and foremost but I also LOVE to travel, cook, and read (but lately I don't have much time for reading).

What do you think about selling on Etsy.com? Do you sell in other venues?
SPL: Etsy is wonderful...but at times I think your shop can get lost. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am at (once again) and while my shop is still a "work in progress", I am finally feeling like I am getting noticed ~ for my creations, customer relations and {most of all} quality. As for selling on other web sites, I have used eBay and Ruby Lane in the past. Both have proven to be exciting and profitable. I also have a few of my artistic creations available in local boutiques and galleries here in the metro DC area, Serendipity and Hope Floats.

What are your 3 favorite etsy shops?
SPL: Only three...Oh My Gosh ~ that's a hard one but I'll try...

Asian Blue Vintage Setting Moon Trees Pendant from TheVenusCollection

TheVenusCollection - Not only is her shop AMAZING but she is a very talented artist, she is super cool, and she always there when needed...

Hanukkah Holiday Glycerin Soaps from TheBathFactory

TheBathFactory - Again, AMAZING SHOP ~ wonderful products and Michelle {the owner} is just super sweet!

Personalized Christmas Angel Ornament from Gufobardo

Gufobardo - Her creations are so unique and she is super easy to work with!

Lapis Lazuli & Aragonite Necklace with Painted Porcelain Pendant from ExoticTreasuresJewels

I also have to mention one more ~ ExoticTreasuresJewel ~ Suzanne & Tony are great people and have amazing creations that I truly believe need to be recognized and considered when shopping on etsy!

Red Lanterns Photograph from MeiFaithStudio

If you could have any superpower what would it be? 
SPL: It would be to "see the future". Not sure if that's considered a "superpower" but I  would love to be able to see the future, pick out winning lottery numbers, and help people {everywhere} that are in need with my winnings. Whether it is with feeding the hungry, providing medical assistance/care, housing, clothing, transportation, adoption funding, and...(well you get the idea) ~ there is only so much I can do by lending my time & talents to those in need. 

Fire & Ice Set of 3 Bracelets from MeiFathStudio

SPL: While I so dislike to think that money solves everything ~ it sure helps. And if I could help someone else who is struggling because of finances (because trust me ~ we all have been there) or if extra finances could help me get to that person in need ~ that would mean the world to me. I am a firm believer in "Pay It Forward", "Giving Back" and "Think About Others More Than Yourself". If we all lived our lives by these basic mottos, our world would be a much better place.

Chinese Girl Youth photograph MeiFaithStudio

Shelly, thanks so much for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts and creations! Also, thank you for sponsoring the final prizes of 2011!

$10 Gift Certificate from MeiFaithStudio

Yep, I said prizesDear visitor, Shelley has generously donated two gift certificates to her colorful Etsy Shop. On January 1st two lucky winners will be randomly selected - each will receive a $10 gift certificate to Mei Faith Studio. What a great way to start the New Year! 

How to enter? Simply leave a comment on my blog between now and 1 a.m. (EST) on January 1, 2012. It is that easy. This random drawing is open worldwide. But you cant enter if you don't comment, so get cracking!

Again, many thanks to today's featured guest, Shelley. And hearty thank yous to all who pop by and leave their thoughts. The artists viewed here often mention that your comments mean a great deal to them. Sometimes your feedback is just what is needed to give them a little boost or encourage the muse to come out and play. So, thank you for stopping by today and sharing our chat & virtual cookies. Hope to see you again soon & best wishes for a wonderful day!


Chillin' with the Etsy Taste Test

Autumn Jewel Print from fictionshop on etsy
Have you taken the Etsy Taste Test?

Etsy says "Anyone can use without joining. Get recommendations based on your taste." Click the link above to check it out.

Antique French Danger Wooden Sign from Invisible Gallery

While some folks don't care for it, I am a big fan of this feature. Basically Etsy shows you some items and you click on your fave. If you don't like any, choose the "show different items" phrase above the group of photos.

Bandit Fox from Adatine

Keep plugging away. A few selections later Etsy fills your screen with stuff they think you will like. 

Sometimes the items seem spot on...

Cheshire ACEO from 2

(Sadly you can't have this cool cat as he is coming home with me. Wouldn't it be a fab phone/ipad case too?)

MOD Retro Squares from studio 724

Sometimes the recommendations leave you scratching your head.

some of my Etsy Faves

Sometimes it seems like Etsy just mined your "favorites"

My Home Is The Sea sewn print from Clare Elesseare

And sometimes you will fall in love.

Mood Rocking Bed from Shiner International

But if you don't..... just take the test again. Easy Peasy.

When I need to shut the brain off & just chill this feature really hits the spot. Where else will you find a French crown....

Antique French Crown from checkeredApron

for sale beside a vigilante amphibian

Frog Bandit Vinyl Wall Decal from wilsongraphics

and studly Bob the Robot?

Bob the Robot coin bank/sculpture from Nelles

Need a break? Get to it!  CLICKETY CLICK HERE & have some mindless fun :) You never know.... you might even find that perfect something you didn't even know you were searching for.


Personalizing the gift cards

Just adding some personality to the generic gift-card boxes tonight.  What are you doing?


Illustration Friday - Separated

Missing You -watercolor, ink, colored pencil on patterned paper
"Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop" - Anonymous

This lovely lady was originally created back in 2009 for friends who were working through some powerful loss and sadness. Today she seems to fit the new Illustration Friday prompt, Separated. If this art challenge inspires you, please post your work & then link up over at IllustrationFriday.com. Or just hop on over to see what others are up to today.


Suki Secret Santa = Love

I have a new mailman. He's not yet familiar with our route...  our missives arrive late in the day & the mail is often mis-delivered (on the + side, we get to know our neighborhood a bit better). 

After a longish day, I came home to a package from the UK... from someone I didn't know. But it wasn't for my neighbor - it was for me (woohoo).  'Twas something lovely from my Etsy Time Traveler Team Secret Santa!!!

This sweet stranger went to the bother of checking my shop & catering to my red riding hood obsession theme. How cool is that!

She made this adorable card (anyone kicking around this blog for awhile knows I have a soft spot for manga & how perfect the big-eyed Little Red really is) and the hand knotted necklace is simply adorable. I love it!

And the wolf... he fits perfectly on the shelf above my desk. My Zuni fetish white wolf has finally found  mate, I think. Another wonderful thing about this fellow is how much he reminds me of the Wade figures my Nana collected. I used to (carefully) play with them when I was very, very small. This handsome fellow is now comfortably nestled between his new mate & a cherished photo of my Gran.

My Secret Santa also included the colorful book shown in the background - Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge Winter Story.... which I am looking forward to reading soon -Little Dude (the pest bookworm) skipped off with it as soon as I took this photo.

If you'd like to see what my Secret Santa is up to on Etsy, please check out LittleKamakura.  Perhaps I can persuade her to visit this blog for an interview in 2012...

In the meantime - many thanks, Suki! Your thoughtful gift to a total stranger is appreciated more than you know. Best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!