Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, May 30, 2010

'Tis the Season......

'Tis the Season......for gardening.

Thought I would update you all on my recent gardening activities! It has been a busy spring for me! So busy, in fact, that I haven't really done much jewelry designing or creating!

Over the last month, I spoke with the third grade classrooms at our elementary school about the plant life cycle and seeds. They were fascinated by all of the interesting facts I shared with them! They especially liked making seed viewer booklets that allowed them to watch the germination process. Some of the children were amazed at the fact that seeds do not need soil for germination. All they need are the right conditions which include; warmth, oxygen, and water! Other children were amazed by the size of one of the seeds I bought in to share; a coconut! My family was able to get the seed "coat" off before the presentation and the children could see how hard and thick it was for that particular seed! This presentation was at the beginning of May!

Two weeks ago I presented to 50 kindergartners at another school in our district about corn and seeds on their farm field trip. They liked feeling the grains......oats, corn, alfalfa, and soybeans provided by my friend, the farmer. And all of them loved shelling the ears of "feed" corn into buckets. These children loved knowing that there are four basic types of corn that we grow; ornamental, popcorn, sweet corn, and feed corn or dent. Although I had done this presentation before, about 2 years ago, I found a great new resource in this book;
The Life and Times of Corn by Charles Micucci, published in 2009. I liked it so much I ordered a copy for my own personal use from amazon at a great price.

May is also the month that I have two meetings with the garden club I facilitate for elementary children. Earlier in the month, we weeded the butterfly garden on our school grounds and voted on our color scheme for annuals. The color scheme was purple, orange, and yellow! Last week, I had 23 children in the garden with me planting our annuals around the already sprouted milkweed, spent lilac shrub, rising day-lilies, purple coneflowers, and New England Asters. We are a certified Monarch Way Station that basically means we officially provide habitat for the monarch butterfly! And I'm glad to report that they have returned to Western Wisconsin for our summer!

Lastly, just the other day I met with another Master Gardener who is doing a presentation on holistic gardening. She wanted to know more about the garden club. After speaking to her, I realized that I garden to feel connected to the earth and lead garden club to connect to children who need to have a realization that we must all take part in conserving our natural resources for ourselves and for those creatures (like butterflies) who play a role in our food production. I hope I am planting the seed of curiosity or a small seed of knowledge in all the children I talk to about plants.

So, I've had a busy month. It makes up for not being so active in the jewelry making department! I do have many beautiful pieces for sale in my shop right now. I am approaching my one year Etsy anniversary! Check back for notification about an upcoming sale to celebrate that milestone!

In the meantime; Happy Gardening!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream......Fun for a Summer Day!

Yesterday, my kids and I made homemade ice cream! It was close to 90 here in Western Wisconsin and very humid outside. We had gotten an LLBean ice cream ball for christmas but not used it yet! It proved to be relatively simple and delicious!

For this first time (with the ball, 1 qt. size), we used one of their recipes;


1 quart half-and-half
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c chopped marshmallows (or mini marshmallows)
1/2 c chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bars

Serve with graham crackers for dipping.

(recipe obtained from:

The additional items we needed were some rock salt and ice cubes. And about a half hour for the rolling! The food ingredients are added to the metal canister inside the ball. The rock salt and ice is added to the space between the canister and the inside of the plastic ball! Once everything is added, then you roll the ball back and forth to one another! There were four of us. It was fun! My youngest did get a little impatient with all this rolling!

I've made homemade ice cream in metal coffee cans before, also. These yielded very similar results to this ice cream ball! I'm sure the recipes would work as long as the canisters were of the correct size (pt. or qt.). We were able to find the rock salt (morton) right in the grocery store, in the baking isle. One box is enough for multiple rollings. Have Fun!

Please remember to check out my shop for some end of school sales on unique handcrafted jewelry and beaded bookmarks! And I am also running a sale on all PINK jewelry through the end of May!. Please see prior posts and pictures to the right for details! Have a great week! Carol

Friday, May 21, 2010

Earring Giveaway Winner!

I finally have a earring giveaway winner for being my 50th follower!

Congratulations go to Michelle.....from MichelleBankCoupons.

She will be receiving these great green disc bead earrings on handtwisted sterling silver. They are going out to her today!

Michelle offers a wonderful array of coupons to help you get some great bargains on items for everyday living! Check her blog out at;

I think my first giveaway was a success! Please keep reading my blog and following me for inclusion in future giveaways!

Also, check out my shop for some great teacher presents on sale for the end of the school year. They all can be found in a special section of my shop and the sale price is already posted for you! No waiting for refunds! My pewter beaded bookmarks make wonderful teacher presents! They are especially meaningful coming from a child who just has learned to read or has made great gains in reading this school year. I offer a celestial theme, a butterfly theme, and an ocean theme. Not all varieties are on sale, but all are reasonably priced! Check these and other great handcrafted teacher gifts out at;

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Donating to Charity....Breast Cancer Research

This past week, I donated the above pink beaded lanyard or identification badge holder to a charity fundraiser for breast cancer research in my community. I made it especially for this fundraiser! Isn't it beautiful! I hope it raised a nice contribution!

I was approached by the couple spearheading the fundraiser at the last local show that I did, back in March. Although I did not know the couple, I easily volunteered to donate one of my handcrafted jewelry items that I make to raise awareness regarding breast cancer.

I do admit that I know this isn't an entirely self-less act. I will get publicity from the fundraiser about my jewelry and I also get to feel good about the donation!

Breast Cancer touches many lives. You are probably wondering what impetus I have for making and donating an entire piece of jewelry that I could sell for my own profit. Well, I had a great Aunt die of breast cancer when I was little. She was a great person with whom I had a lot of fun with when I was a pre-schooler. In addition, my sister-in-law (my husband's brother's wife) recently fought this disease as a young woman (35years old).
She was diagnosed and fought it while pregnant with twins. She has survived with careful monitoring but, unfortunately, the twins were born prematurely and died.

This disease, like many, has far reaching affects. So, when asked if I could donated something to a silent auction for the charity of breast cancer research, it was hard for me to refuse!

Although I don't advertise it on my shop page anymore, I will make a donation myself to breast cancer research from selling breast cancer awareness jewelry. For every 100$ I sell, I will donate 20 dollars to breast cancer research. I've earned about 75% of the first $100.

Please visit my shop at;
or click on the picture links to the left to view some more of my jewelry to support Breast Cancer Research. I have many more pink items in my shop! Please visit!

Until the end of May, I will offer 25% off any item in my shop that has words Pink or Breast Cancer in it's title. This offer is for my blog followers only. You must leave a comment on my blog, follow me, and then when you check out write Pink25 in the message to seller box on my etsy transaction page before you check out. I will refund 25% of the item price (offer not good on shipping charges) via paypal, immediately after the sale! Help me reach my donation goal and get a beautiful bargain with the purchase! Thanks!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Camo Jewelry???? Out of my comfort zone!

I recently began selling sports themed jewelry at a local store in our town. I know the owner (we used to be neighbors) and went in to ask her a question about business logistics and came out with a gentleman's agreement to try and sell some sports themed jewelry through her store to the local high schoolers and their mom's. She had been selling some by another woman who really didn't want to make them anymore and I thought.....why not? I'll try it!

I have to admit, it's gone very well! I am on my 3rd batch of necklaces and bracelets for her! We have been concentrating on girls spring sports and it seems to be working! And to make matters even better, the store owner has paid me very rapidly! So, what I thought or agreed to be consignment has worked out to be a direct sale at wholesale prices (although the volume is low).
However, a couple of weeks ago the store owner had a request for a "camo" (short for camouflage) necklace with a deer pendant! What! I was kind of shocked! First of all, this store doesn't sell anything in the line of hunting periphenalia! And I have never made anything along those lines, either!

Well, the owner tried referring this person to my website
via my business card, which I have in the store and also suggested contacting me my e-mail (also on my business card).
But, as the owner explained, she didn't seem to want to go that route! So, my next step was to ask the owner if she really wanted me to do this for this customer through the store, citing the reasons above. I was sure she would say, no.....I don't really want to get in to that type of thing.
But.....she surprised me and said that she would really like me to go ahead and make it and that the customer was willing to pay whatever it cost, but something close to what the sports necklaces were selling for! Okay! Wow! I felt excited but really kind of out of my comfort zone! Deer? Camo?
What colors is camouflage again?

However, now that I knew I would be going ahead with this the first thing I looked for was a deer pendant in pewter. These aren't as prevalent as you would think but they can be found. I ended up getting two styles; one off of ebay that was an entire deer; head, body, and all. The other was found on etsy; and was just a deer head with antlers on an oval pewter pendant.

After contacting the store owner to let her know that yes, I could find a deer pendant; she let me know that the lady would prefer the oval with the head. Okay. Again, not what I would have picked!

Next, after going through my stash of beads (all beaders have them, you know)! I found some autumn jasper rounds and then bought some green and tan irridescent czech seed beads at my local bead boutique. Now, all I had to do was wait for the deer pendants to arrive!

Well, that almost was two weeks ago! Finally, the preferred pendant arrived just last Friday! Naturally, the ebay deer arrived almost immediately after winning that auction. The deer head on the oval took a very long time from Michigan (we are next door neighbors, after all)! I sat down yesterday and made the necklace up very quickly! I am pleasantly pleased with the results. You can see the results for yourself, above!

I ended up not using any of the seed beads but found some multi-colored chalcedony semi-precious gemstones in faceted rounds and tube shapes in my stash. These combined nicely with the autumn jasper and some wooden beads I had.

What did I learn? Well, some times having an order "out of your comfort zone" is a good thing! The experience challenged my creativity and let me use up some of my "stash" beads. Now, I just have to wait to see what the customer thinks! I'd love to know what you think, too! Please feel free to leave a comment!

I have two other pendants and more beads......I see more deer in my future! Thanks for taking the time to read my post! Have a great week! Carol :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Images of Spring

Northern Flicker
Who knew?

Glorious Rainbows...... twos!
Rainbows....We love 'em!
My heart is bleeding!

Home fruit orchard blossoms!

I thought that I would just post some pictures for all to enjoy of our wonderful mid-Western spring......warm temps, gardening, wicked thunderstorms, glorious rainbows, cherry and apple blossoms and a bird to get to know! Enjoy!

45 bags of mulch laid on Thursday in on perennial bed....not done yet, buying my first plants of the year.......plants are a very close second to my obsession with beads......vibrant green valleys, bleeding hearts of the horticultural kind, those glorious rainbows after a storm where it rained only in the back yard! Spring in Western Wisconsin!

Oh, and thanks to 2goodclaymates, my links are now working for my sunshine award recipients! Have a great week!