Spa Day Challenge!!



Katie Joy is an amazing Artisan!!!  She makes all her amazing creations by hand.  She has painted wooden earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, here are a few of my favorites…………





I want this bracelet so bad, I love everything French!!kj2


I just ordered this necklace, I think it will make a great statement piece!!kj4I already have these amazing painted geometric shapes, and everytime I wear them I get tons of compliments!!


*Fourth in the series


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Spa Day Challenge

q1Love this shop!!!  I too crochet so I know the work and talent that goes into making beautiful creations from fibers.  Here are a few of my favorite creations from Quinny!!q2Such a cute bag to take with you when you would like to carry less!!

q3Baby Booties!!!  These are just adorable!!!  They would be cute for a Christmas baby!!

q4What an adorable Christmas outfit for the little girl in your life!!

*Third in the series.

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Spa Day Challenge


Tammy of Paisley Lizard is the most amazing artist!!  The things she can do with wire, stones, and beads is a sight to behold.  Here a few of her creations that I love, actually I love everything she makes!!

pl2This necklace really needs to be in my collection of jewelry!!


pl3I love the clear/white beads with the silver pieces!!

pl4This pair of earrings are actually in my shopping cart!!!  A treat for myself!!

*Second in the Spa Day challenge




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Spa Day Challenge


Rhi is amazing and so is her shop, she has so many different creations to choose from it is hard to decide what to buy!!

Here are some of my favorites:

puffy fasinatorIf I could find a place to wear this I so would, I just love it and the blue hair!!


puffy anarchyMy son has a band its name is Toxic Anarchy…..this is similar to his logo!!

puffy book markThis is the neatest creation of Rhi’s.  She creates people and they are given adoption papers, so you can have them created to match yourself with papers and everything!!! The best part about these people is they are fantastic bookmarks. Rhi once sent me a gift and it was a custom-made Raven bookmark….amazing work!!!!



*First post in a new series honoring the shops of The Handmade Forum and their craftsmanship.  All shops belonging to this forum and in this series are all certified handmade!!


Posted in Black Raven Creations, Spa Day Challenge | 2 Comments


It’s a beautiful Fall day. The sky is clear except for a few white fluffy clouds, the air is crisp and cool. I head outside with my favorite dog, to take a walk.  I am wearing jeans and a t-shirt with my favorite boots. I love to be outside in the Fall when the leaves are dropping and the animals are preparing for Winter. Even though my space in this world will soon be covered in a blanket of snow, and most things will die, this time of the year makes me feel alive.

I head over to my apple and pear trees, it’s time for picking apples and the pears are all but done now.  I don’t have an orchard just a few trees of shiny red globes. I pick one and slip it into my bag, I’ll save it for when I reach Paradise.

As I walk past the fruit trees, I come to my barn. My barn used to be filled with all sorts of animals…cows, sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys and rabbits.  Now it looks like a fading red toy box which was slowly emptied over time.

Passing the barn I enter the tall grasses.  I love the way these grasses wave to and fro as the soft gentle breeze floats by.  I reach my hands down to touch the tops of them. They feel like silk and straw mixed together. As I walk I listen to the birds chirping as they  dive in for grasshoppers that my steps disturb.  My dog and I walk quietly in each others steps as we gaze ahead to that perfect spot. It’s not a far walk maybe 500 feet or so, but I take my time so I can be lulled into the peace that surrounds me.

We come upon a clearing and in the center is a pool of water, or what we call a really,really small pond.  At the water’s edge I see tracks from deer, and raccoon.  The Canadian geese will be stopping by soon to drink of our waters as they travel away. Near the edge of the water there are cattails which I can only assume host a myriad of different bug species. I sit down in the same spot I always sit, I can see nothing of the barn or fruit trees now.  I see only the water and grasses that surround me.  At my feet I can see some ants going about their business.  A butterfly has landed on a cattail to rest, it is the most amazing blue color I have ever seen. The waters ripple with the tiny legs of bugs that dance on its surface. My dog wets his feet at the water’s edge and now his foot prints mingle with the ones left by others. Peace slowly engulfs us.

I sit for as long as I can, we share an apple…and dream of all things good life has given us.  I could sit here all day if my life allowed, but alas it does not. I soak up the silence of nature and beauty it holds to carry me through another day. This is Paradise, this is MY Paradise….if only I didn’t have to leave!!


*My Paradise is on my farm in the lower eastern edge of Michigan!!



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Just Ask Me!!

I love doing things for others, always have.  But I would like to be asked!!

I have raised 4 boys(Andrew 28, Daniel 25, Stephen 20, Joseph 18), and they are all turning into tremendous men (in my opinion).  I have spent a ton of time making sure they know what to do to become Great Sons, Great Husbands, Great Fathers, and Great Men.

My sons can do just about anything.

They know how to clean a house toilets included.  They know how to cook and to cook on a budget…everything from scratch in my house.  I taught them how to shop, how to save money and to shop wisely.  Taught them how to sew and repair their own clothes, and how to iron so they look great when they go out. They can set a table, decorate a house, and they know how to pick out appropriate clothing( okay #2 son is color blind, so he has a bland wardrobe)!!

They can all take care of the lawn, weed whacking  mowing, and gardening.  They can even can, dry and freeze the produce that they grow!! They know how to take care of their cars (not really the oldest, he just hires someone to do it)and the tools they use.

They know how to care for animals and how to show kindness and mercy to them.  They learned their work ethic from their father, and there is not a better teacher in the world. They know how to act in public and how to treat their elders.  They know how to help a neighbor and how to offer strength to strangers. They treat their Grandparents with reverence, and their love for each other is unconditional and everlasting….

but they never ask, they just tell me.

Hey Mom, I need some clean jeans, Mom I’m hungry what are you cooking, Mom we’re having a party Saturday night, Hey Mom some   friends and I are coming over Saturday, can I have some money….and on and on the list goes…

How can 4 young men be so wonderful but always forget to “Just Ask Me”…..I always say yes!!

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First Ladies…..

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington


Martha Dandridge Custis Washington is America’s first First Lady. She set the standard for all subsequent First Ladies, during her 8 years as First Lady!!!

Martha Washington was born in Virginia, on June 2, 1731. Martha grew up as a typical young girl on her father’s plantation. She was only five feet tall and a quiet soft-spoken young woman.

At 19 years old Martha married Daniel Custis. She had four children but only two survived childhood. By the age of 26 she was widowed with two young children.

On January 6, 1759, Martha married Colonel George Washington. Martha spent her day running their large estate, Mount Vernon.
She had the tasks of directing the large staff of slaves and servants, harvesting, preparing and preserving foods and medicines not only for those living at Mount Vernon but also for family and visitors.

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During her marriage and especially during the American Revolution Martha spent considerable time tending to her husband and his needs. Taking special care of him and the American troops was an occupation that Martha truly enjoyed.

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On April 30,1789, Martha Washington became our first First Lady. She would serve in this position until March 4, 1797 at the age of 57, at which time her and President Washington would retire to Mount Vernon. Martha did not particularly enjoy her days as First Lady but she made sure she did the job well so as was her duty to her country. She was adamant about ensuring in every way she could the dignity of George Washington as a symbol of greatness.

George Washington died in December 14, 1799 leaving Martha widowed again. She may have been without her beloved but she was far from alone. She spent a considerable amount to time welcoming visitors to Mount Vernon such as President John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams.


Martha Washington died quietly in her home, Mount Vernon on May 22, 1802 at 70 years old. Martha will always be remembered as Americas first First Lady and her contribution to American is priceless!!!

This is the first blog in a series titled “First Ladies”. To ensure you get every installment of this series enter your email address to  follow this blog.

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No Words Wednesday…



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Hidden Gems…Free Land Folk Art Signs

In my series titled Hidden Gems I would like to introduce you to Heather the owner of Free Land Folk Art Signs!!


Heather would you share with my readers a little bit about yourself and your Etsy shop.- My partner originally started on Etsy selling antique and vintage items she bought at auctions. I participated in this by going to the auctions with her and found it interesting but it just wasn’t my thing although I didn’t mind packing the items that were sold – this was my job lol. I made attempts at businesses before and I’ve always wanted to start my own business but just never could come up with something that truly was my passion. I originally started out with craft fairs selling Adirondack coat racks, calendar holders, etc., but found that not everyone loved the Adirondack style like we do and the audience was very limited. We are both big fans of the meaning of quotes and my partner looked at one of our stenciled signs one day and said “You can do this”! Although I had reservations about being able to make these I gave it a shot. Of course in the beginning it was a lot of trial and error as I taught myself how to make these without having to learn from someone else. I originally ordered the stencils on-line but this was a huge expense and I found that I was really limiting myself to what I can make unless i spent thousands of dollars for stencils. I did some research online and found a machine that was within our means and gave it a shot. Although, the machine I bought did not state that I would be able to use stencil material. I again did more research and was able to find a material that I could use that my machine would cut the stencils. Now, there is no limitation to what I can do and it’s such an awesome feeling. I have been selling on Etsy for over 2 years and hope to continue my business into retirement as I currently work a full-time job besides my Etsy business.


What first got you interested in your craft…
I was trying to find a way to make a little bit of extra income as well as find a hobby that I truly enjoyed as I’m the type of person that has a really hard time just sitting in front of the television.


Please describe your creative process…

I only use 100% solid knotty pine – 3/4″. With knotty pine there are imperfections in the wood as this is a soft wood. I sand each board down to alleviate many of the imprecations associated with the wood then stain the board twice, front and back. Although, there still may be imperfections with the wood, this just adds to the rustic look. I don’t like just staining the front side as I like the sign to look complete. After the staining has dried, I use a hand sander and eye sand around the edges of the sign to give it a nice rustic finished look. Then the stenciling fun begins! I use what’s called a dry brush technique. This is acquired by using a stencil brush with a very limited amount of paint on the brush, actually the brush is dry to the touch. This technique is very time-consuming as for each letter it takes several coats of paint to achieve the density you want. I like all of my signs to look full. Once the lettering has been competed, then I apply several coats of a matte finish to ensure a long life. The last part of the sign is attaching hangers to the back, which are 16″ on center.


Apart from creating things, what do you do…

I have worked for New York State for the past 32 years. I started working in one of the largest maximum security prisons in NYS – started when I was 19 years old and of course very naive! I spent a total of 18 years working for this prison then transferred to a State college where I worked for 8 years. My partner and I relocated and landed in the Central NY area where I am currently working for a Psychiatric Center for children. I work in the Human Resource Department and have various jobs. In my spare time, I LOVE making signs, this truly is my passion in life and I’m so grateful to have this for a hobby.


Where can people find you on the internet…

I currently sell on Etsy

I would like to thank Heather of Free Land Folk Art Signs for allowing me to share her shop and her creative mind!! Please take a few minutes to go and visit her shop and check out all her creations!!

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5 Spring Cleaning Tips

5 Spring Cleaning Tips to make this dreaded experience go as smoothly as possible!!!


It’s that time of year again….Spring Cleaning Time or as I say Scrub Clutter Trash, SCT!! Everyone in my home hates SCT, a time where I go crazy cleaning every inch of our home.


This year appears to be worse than most years.  With our current remodeling of our bathroom my house is extra messy. This of course is no fault of mine, it would be my husbands fault. When he works on a project he seems to drop whatever is in his hands wherever he wants. There are tools and parts all over my house. So I am getting anxious to get started!!

Also over the last 5 years I have had seen my sons slowly moving out to create a new life without me ….they are just so ungrateful leaving me in this messy house!! I am currently down to 2 sons and one of them is leaving in the fall.  Of course when they left me all alone they left behind large piles of stuff. So I have decided that after 5 years it was time to purge my home of their junk!!


This year my goal is to see my house lose some unwanted weight. Yes, I know the owner of the house could stand to lose some weight but that does not appear to be happening so instead  I would like to see a 20-40% drop in weight off my house!!


SCT can be one of the greatest reward filled events in your life.   Now I know some of are thinking she must be  insane because who actually likes to clean.  Not me!!! I would much rather do just about anything than cleaning….but having a clean house is such a wonderful feeling that women all over the world go through the process of SCT every Spring.

Here are some of my best tried and true tricks for making this years SCT a success with as little pitfalls as possible.

1. PLAN— First and foremost write-up a plan.  If you have no plan then you have no focus.  Without focus you can easily be swayed into prolonging the process or completely giving up. I write out my plan and let the family know what we are doing and when we are starting.

2. DIVIDE AND CONQUER— Do one room at a time.  Pick where you’ll start and complete that room before moving on to the next room.  Cleaning one room completely before moving on gives you the satisfaction of having one room in your home looking fantastic.

3. START AT THE TOP—  Always start at the top and work your way down.  Do the ceiling first and get all those cobwebs, then the walls, cupboards then finally floors.

4. BINS–Have three different bins labeled give away, throw away, and keep.  As you go through each room anything that is trash goes, anything that is still in good shape you should donate, and anything you have decided to keep goes into the labeled bin.

5. WORST COMES FIRST–Always start with the hardest room.  If you start with the hardest then SCT becomes easier as you progress through your home.  If you save the hardest for last you may become discouraged and  not want to finish the work and that would be tragic!!

c5*Disclaimer: This is not my home!! I just like to pretend!!

I hope this years SCT is a pleasant and quick project for all of my readers and I hope that some of these tips will help you accomplish your goals. Of course if they don’t work you can always get your husband and children to do it for you while you sit in a large Throne like chair barking out orders!!!


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