Getting to Know You.....

This month we will be meeting Claire of Copabananas. She is creator of many wonderful product on Etsy and other online shops. Claire also has a "brick and mortor" store where you can find all her creations in Montclair, NJ. I love getting to know about the other crafters and suppliers on Etsy.
>Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I grew up here in Montclair, NJ, and I live with my 11 year old daughter. My parents are also in town and I love having them so close.

>My blog is sometimes about my life on Etsy and 1000 Markets, but mostly about my family and living green. So what does GREEN mean to you and your family?

Living green to us means keeping as much out of the landfills as possible. My friends and family all save packaging, boxes, bags, and jars, for me to use in my work. We try to only make one bag or less of garbage a week, use reusable packaging for lunch, and drive as little as possible. I also reuse packing materials for my business. Green to us means making conscientious choices everyday to reduce our carbon footprint.

>We are now in Spring and everyone is getting their seeds and gardens ready. What do you grow and/or raise on your property?

I would like to think I have a green thumb, but it has abandoned me over the years. In the early 90's I lived in very rural West Virginia and had a large garden. But now in NJ I rent in a suburban setting with no space to grow anything. I'm okay with that since I had a garden in the past. Lilacs are my favorite so I enjoy them at this time of the year!

>My favorite part of recycling is finding ways to repurpose. I love all your creative repurposed crafts. How did you get started in making homemade repurposed items?

I went to college for weaving and textile design way back in the 80's. I did craft shows for 8 years after college selling handpainted silk scarves I made and one-of-a-kind leather shoes I made with my first husband. Eventually I dropped out of the craft scene. Fast forward to a couple years ago when I started making things again. Repurposing is popular now and it's easy to be inspired by what's going on around us. Creating new things out of old things a great way for me to use my sewing, crocheting, embroidery, and other skills.

>Tell use about your Glove Dolls and how you got started making them.

I love to tell this story! Three years ago in the winter my daughter and I noticed how many gloves people lose. We collected a few and brought them back to the studio where we considered what to do with them. Together we created the gLove Story Dolls and started our mission to collect lost gloves and give them new life as dolls with unique personalities.

>What are some of your favorite projects that you have done?

Last year a woman brought me some items that belonged to her daughter: a large piece of rainbow fabric, a pair of her socks, a scarf she knitted, and one of her gloves. She asked me to make her high school graduation present with them. I made a market bag from the fabric, a sock monkey who wore the scarf, and a glove doll named Palindrome Perfection because her name was Hannah. Here's pics of that custom order: That was a memorable order because it was so personal to the recipient.

>When did you start on Etsy and other online selling venues like 1000 Markets?

I started on Etsy in December of 2007 and 1KM last October.

>What do you wish you had known when you started out?

I wish I knew how to use my camera properly. I remember being sooo frustrated with my pictures. I only recently started bracketing with the white balance and learning more about my cameras settings. I read this Storque article that really helped me out a lot:

>What would be your best tip for someone starting out?

One of my top tips would be to have clear and understandable policies. That will convey to buyers what they need to know in order to buy confidently from you. And you will be able to sell with confidence knowing that you can deal with an issue that may come up.

>Tell us about 1000 Markets and the NJ Market you have set up there?

I'm very excited to be in on the ground floor with 1000Markets! They strive to perfect the buying and selling experience and inspire the artisans to be the best they can be. The Garden State Artisans Market is a geography-based market started to highlight the diverse talent of artisans that live in NJ. We support each other and share information through the forums and feature members in market blog on a regular basis.

>What tips do you have for parents trying to run a business while raising a family?

I am awed by parents who stay at home with their kids. My daughter started day care at 6 weeks simply because I had to go back to work and it was our best option. I am lucky to have my family nearby now so they can help me. My daughter is old enough now to be an active participant in my business. My best advice would be to get your kids involved and don't be condescending.

>Now I understand that you also have a brick and mortar shop; how do you juggle all that you do; shop, family, online shops, craft shops, etc. and find a balance?

I'm lucky enough to have my workshop in the brick and mortar store so I can make, photograph, and list my products online while I run the store, where they are also for sale. I often make a sale from a conversation started when someone asks what I'm working on! Again, I couldn't juggle it all without the help of my family.

>Where do you see or hope to see your company in the future?

My goal for the future is to develop good, long-term wholesale accounts so that I can have guaranteed work. I have been encouraging custom work and I would like to continue to expand that area.

>Last but not least, if granted one super power what would you pick?

I would want the ability to make stuffed animals come to life so we can play on rainbow slides and have tea parties.

Other places to find out more information:

Copabananas products can be found at these great shops:

Red in Fredericksbug, TX
Tintypes in Bath, ME

Wordless Wednesday: 1st Harvest of the year...

Tuesday Green Tip

We started using only rechargeable batteries to save on money but also waste in our landfills. We found it difficult to keep track of what was charged and what needed charged. I came up with this clever idea and it works great with the kids. Red bag is for those needing charged and green is for those ready to go. You can sew your own or get ones like these at any craft store.

May Giveaway!

Today is my birthday and what I want most is to share my gifts with you.
So, my giveaway for May is one of my Fairy Playsets. I hope you will find all the love and magic of playtime I have painted into this set for you.

You will get the fairy Zinnia. She wears a dress of orange but also loves the color purple. She washes her hair with blueberry juice and it has become a lovely shade of purple! She lives in the blueberry patch where she always has a fresh supply. One day she hopes to have a blueberry stand at the Fairy Market. This fairy is hand painted and measure 2 inches (5.1 cm). A set of delicate wings are painted on the back but the flying is up to you!

You will also get the Woodland Fairy Forest Accessory Set. Here in Fairyland the woods are full of pretty little mushrooms and rich with little trees. The fairies have collected a few just for you. This forest accessory set is a lovely addition to any fairy playset or all on their own. Each set is hand painted. This set is for 3 mushrooms and two pine trees and a hand dyed silk scarf the color of the Earth.

To enter this giveaway you must:
Become a follower of this blog, if you are a follower then you must tweet or blog about this giveaway.

Then go visit The Fairy Ring, pick out a favor fairy or playset and post it in the comment you leave here.

Make sure you give contact information.

Giveaway ends May 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: An Apple A Day...

Free Comic Book Day

Every year in May my family has a tradition that has nothing to do with me or mother's day. On May 2nd, DH and the boys braved the rain to travel to our local comic book store. This is the first year that all 3 boys got to go. Free Comic Book Day is a single day - usually the first Saturday in May - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local shop for their participation and rules.

Here you see my boys at our local comic book shop, Comic Relief.
Comic Relief has been in operation since 1985.

Comic Relief
158 Mercer Mall
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 457-7548

Free Comic Book Day started back in 2002 as in industry-wide community outreach to show the non-comic-book-reading public what they may be missing. Our youngest son, Everett, being only 2 years old and riding on his daddy's shoulders attended. It didn't mean much to him then. but as he grew older and could read it became a treasured yearly activity. Over the years as our family has grown, mom has ducked out of the activity and now it is just a father and son day. The day trip has now expanded to sharing an ice cream at the next shop over and talking and reading together. I know that this will be one of those traditions that the boys will be talking about when they get older!

My husband brought his great love of comics into our lives and our family. I believe they strongly influenced who he came to be as an adult. He has a great sense of right and wrong and is a very loyal and devoted man to everything he is involved in. I want you to get a sense of who he is and why comics were such an impact on his life by hearing it straight from him.

What did comics books mean to you when you were growing up?
It’s funny, but I think at first comics were just a way for me to make a connection with my cousin Todd. He and I seemed to always like the same things but he was much closer in age to my older brother, so when he started to get into them (and my brother didn’t), it seemed like a good thing to pursue.

As I got into them though, they really became a place for me to learn from. I have always been a person who was able to get a lot of value from reading. Even at a young age, I seemed to get the moral teachings implicit in books like The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, etc. And comics just seemed like a super-concentrated form of that. You had action, highly-developed characters, good versus evil and more all in a brief 22 pages.

Do you remember your first comic book?
I think the first comics I ever read were at my Grandma’s house. And to be honest, I am not sure how they got there. I think some may have been left overs from when my dad was a kid, while others were too new. So I guess my Grandma must have stuck some in her grocery bag every once in a while. There were a few Spiderman books, a few Tales from the Crypt type books, and some Radio Shack comics that were really just thinly-veiled advertisements for their computers – the Tandy 1000’s. But I devoured them all.
The first comic I ever bought though was from a convenience store about a block from my house and it was an Uncanny X-men book. Number 257 I think. It introduced to me this colorful cast of characters that was just so enticing. I had to learn more.

What did you learn from comic books and super heroes?
Oh, wow. I learned a lot. Or I guess maybe I should say it reinforced a lot that I had already learned. Christian values were taught to me all through my life by parents, grandparents, teachers, church leaders, etc., but to see such graphic representations of these same lessons, really drove the point home for me in a way that stuck with me.

There are the obvious lessons, of course, like Truth, Justice, and the American Way from Superman, and patriotism and defending the weak from Captain America. But I think the three big ones for me are:

Spider-man’s “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” To those who have been given much, much is required. I think this has a lot of meanings, not least of which is the idea of charity. But also that you have to be a person of action to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t just take your personal gifts and horde them, you have a responsibility to use your talents and abilities to help others.

The X-men – these heroes don’t have a pithy one liner to demonstrate their main moral, but basically, these characters exist as “freaks” in a world that fears and hates them, and yet they continue to fight the good fight to protect all people everywhere regardless of whether they like the X-men or not. There is so much good to be learned in this. Don’t judge others by their labels. Don’t give in to peer pressure, especially when it comes to the treatment of others. Don’t give up when it comes to doing what’s right, no matter how bad the odds are, no matter whether you will get gratitude or glory in the end, no matter what it may cost, do the right thing, every time.
Green Lantern – Green Lanterns have a special ring that allows them to temporarily create energy “constructs” of anything they can imagine. There only limitations are their imaginations and their willpower to make things happen. I think it says an awful lot that this “greatest tool in the universe” only works if you can perfectly imagine and totally believe in the outcome you want. What a perfect metaphor for living up to one’s own potential.
Who is yout favorite Super Hero and why?
I guess my favorite superhero to read would be Wolverine, because I envy his ability to live the way he does. He is a man of honor with a deep heart who is willing to do what needs to be done. He’s able to drill down to the black and white of a world that is very much grey to most of the rest of us. But my favorite hero to imagine is Green Lantern; I just am in love with idea that you could have a superpower that would basically allow you to do anything, only limited by your own imagination and willpower to make it happen.

Why was it important to you to share this with your sons?
I want my sons and my daughter to know that they can do anything they put their hearts, minds, imagination and willpower to. And that if they do that in service of a cause that is greater than themselves that they can experience the true happiness that we are intended to have in this life. My religion teaches that our Heavenly Father has sent us here so that we may have joy both here and in the life everlasting, and this joy, I believe, comes from doing what is right, and doing it in the service of others. I think the more examples of this our children can be exposed to, whether they be biblical, fictional, or from current events, the better, stronger people they will grow to be in their lives.

A Honey of a Memory

I love honey! The color, the smell, and most of all, the taste. My first memory of honey was at my mammy's(great-grandmother) house. In the front hall across from the stairs was one of those old telephone cabinets. In the door compartment of her telephone cabinet was a large jar of honey shaped like a bear. I remember sitting on the floor with my Sunday Dress on and that big bear right in front of me, legs stretched out wide. I dipped all my fingers in all at once and licked off every drop. I took no notice nor cared who was in that room; it was just me and that honey.

Then I heard the sharp piercing sound of my mother's voice as she gasped and screamed at me. Being only 2 or 3 years old, I froze with fright! Then a strong, commanding voice spoke (not yelled) from my mammy across the hall, "You will not touch that baby!"The fact that my mother stopped,shut her mouth tight, and did not stop me has become etched in my memory.
To me, my mother was powerful, and everyone listened to her. But, here was this sweet tiny woman who was able to control even her. She looked down at me and motioned with her hand to continue. Her eyes told me she enjoyed every moment of watching me and maybe secretly had always wanted to do the same.

My new playset brings back those memories.

Wooden Fairy Doll, Bee Keeping/Market Day Playset with Playbox

Camping, Caves, and Tunnels

No, not those kind but ones like these.

I love it when the kids get creative and work together. On this particular day I was doing a big clean up in the dinning room and the chairs had to go somewhere. The boys took them to the family room and made a tunnel maze for their sister to play on. We have been struggling with her lately and her need to climb. She will turn anything into a stool to get up on something. On this day she was happy to just climb on the chairs and I was happy to not have to say, "NO!".

Later when it was lunch time and we had no chairs there is only one thing to do, Picnic in a Cave! The kids all had a grand time eating under the table and they thought this was the funniest thing since normally they eat on top of the table.

So the only thing left to do was put up a tent in the livingroom for rest time. All the kids got in with pillows and blankets and watched a favorite movie. It all made for a fun and relaxing day and an at home "field trip" that cost nothing. Later we looked up information about how caves and tunnels are formed.

What to know more check out these websites:

April Giveaway's Winner

And the winner is.........


Everyone who entered and sends me their address will get a few lollipops to try and the big winner is photoadele . We love this company so much we want everyone to get to try and share this wholesome goodness.

Please send you address to

May 1st

Here you see Hyacinth at the Fairy Market selling her 1st of May Freckle Away Dew!

May is named after the Greek goddess, Maia. The month is a time of great celebrations in the northern hemisphere. It is the time when flowers emerge and crops begin to sprout. The Anglo-Saxon name for May was Tri-Milchi, in recognition of the fact that with the lush new grass cows could be milked three times a day. It was first called May in about 1430. Before then it was called Maius, Mayes, or Mai.

For me the first of May meant one more opportunity to get rid of my freckles. My mother was British, born in Australia. Folklore, fairies and magical creatures were part of our everyday life. My mother's ancestors were redhead and freckle-faced. Me and a few of my siblings got the freckles, and every May 1st I was out washing my face with dew. Just like in the Victorian England old wive’s tale, wet your hands with morning dew, rub your freckles and recite, “Dew, Dew, do do, take my freckles away with you. Dew, Dew, thank you.”

The Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World published in 1903 offers a fascinating glimpse into early man's obsession with freckles and his desire to remove them. It says that freckles around the eyes means you'll drown to death! To lift this curse (and remove freckles), the author provides several options. You can wash in the dew before sunrise on the first of May.

In some parts of Britain, May 1st is called Garland Day.

The first of May is Garland Day

So please remember the garland.

We don't come here but once a year,

So please remember the garland.

Greenery was collected by primary school children to make garlands. In many English villages children would parade with garlands of flowers, sometimes fastened to sticks or in the shape of a cross, or fixed to hoops. This was done in the hope of collecting money. Sometimes this was known as May Dolling because often placed in the centre of the garland was a small doll.

To find out more check out these websites: