Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Product Recall...Does your Diamond Glaze Crack?

Say it ain't so.

JudiKins, the name behind Diamond Glaze has issued a recall of sorts on their 2 oz. and 10 oz bottles of Diamond Glaze that were produced on November 13, 2008. The affected batch is GP005 and GP008 with the silkscreened label.

Here is the text from their website:

Notice: Diamond Glaze Cracking
Thanks to some very astute Diamond Glaze artists, we have tracked a batch of Diamond Glaze that did not meet specifications. While there is no health hazard associated with this batch, it does develop cracks if applied thicker than 1/8 inch and allowed to dry below room temperature (less than 70 degrees F).

The batch was bottled on the 13th of November 2008. Any bottles purchased before that date are not affected. We have tested later batches (after the 15th of December 2008) and they do not have this problem. Only 2 fluid ounces (GP005) in silkscreened bottles and 10 fluid ounces (GP008) in labeled bottles are affected. The batch was small, only 3 barrels of 50 gallons each.

If you purchased a bottle from this batch, U.S. customers can return it for a replacement bottle. Don't forget to include your name and address. Please send it to:

JudiKins Inc.
17803 South Harvard Blvd.
Gardena, California 90248

Please feel free to visit directly for more information, or contact me directly and I will be happy to help you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Come On Baby, Light My Fire. And I Never Said I was A Boy Scout.

If my family's survival depended on my skills at fire starting, we would surely experience a slow, miserable, and very cold departure to "The Other Side".


The irony here is that I use wood to heat my studio. That's right, a wood stove. It takes me an hour to get it going because apparently that survival gene skips a generation every once in awhile. Or perhaps it's one of those skills taught in boys clubs, such as The Boy Scouts of America, because the Girl Scouts only taught me how to sell things, not set fire to them.

Luckily for me, I can compensate for my shortcomings as a cave woman by being a skilled armchair shopper. I found these scented soy wax fire starters on Etsy, my favorite handmade shopping mall. Berry Creek Candles has a wonderful selection of candles, too, and her scents are authentic and inviting. I love how simple starting a fire has become since I started using her fire starters. And what's better is I have heat in a fraction of the time, it's all natural, and I don't have to worry about handling harsh chemicals. It's all good!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hoosier Orchid Co. and a Moment of Silence.

My parents, bless their hearts, are notorious in our family for finding the best darned restaurants in town (their town) only to subsequently find the place boarded up and out of business. And I'm not just talking buffets. They find the neatest out-of-the-way, and some not-so-out-of-the-way places.

Take The New Orleans House as an example. My goodness, it was the best place in Indianapolis to get butter with a little seafood on the side. Huge crab legs, shrimp prepared in more ways than Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue ever imagined, and the most decadent dessert selection one could imagine. I think the local hospitals closed it down because too many patrons were needing their stomachs pumped, but seriously, where else could we go to indulge our seafood fantasies? It was a once in a lifetime treat. Literally.

So, it was with much sadness that I learned of the innate talent of restaurant closings having transgressed from mere restaurant closings (my health may or may not have improved) to Closing of All Favorite Haunts, and the latest victim appears to have been The Hoosier Orchid Company. My parents were beside themselves and very apologetic.

Oh for crying out loud, Indianapolis. Where else could one go to indulge in a little tropical foliage fantasy and inspire whimsical dreams of successful Exotic Orchid Care? Where else can one visit to find something other than a phalaenopsis regularis (I may have just made that up) found in every grocery store and Walmart all over the nation? Who else is to bolster my confidence that, yes, I too can nurture and responsibly care for an orchid? Who else would bestow a young orchid to a child almost as young? (Thank you, Leon, my daughter still cherishes and nurtures it :o)


For all of these places that close, of one thing I am parents will move on to the next discovery and if I move quickly enough, I too, can enjoy the discovery.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Daddy Didn't Raise No Fool. Using the Right Tool.

I cut glass. I cut a lot of glass. It's gorgeous glass and I'm always cutting it and firing it in my little kiln. I've got this glass cutting and firing thing down as a routine. Especially now that I've purchased The Right Tool for the Job. That's right, the Mercedes of the glass breaking industry with a name I can't even begin to pronounce. A bit of that fine German engineering right here in my studio.

I'm thrilled. Over the moon jubilant at the ease of use and minimal force used to break even the tiniest of strips with this fabulous Lieber Scnitzel (or something like that) glass cutter. I don't have to speak the language to understand and master the tool. Well, master, not exactly, but looking at the beautiful clean break in the glass pictured above, a nice thick piece of glass, you can say it makes a master out of me.

This sort of trumps my brand new phone line that's now hooked up in my studio. Yeah, that's right, I have my own phone line in here. That's another Right Tool for the Job. No more crackling sounds, breaking up, lost connections out here. No more standing out in the parking lot to get better reception. I now have phone access at my computer in my studio.


According to Mr. Howes, all this studio is lacking is a bunk and a pillow. I'm sure he's joking since I don't have indoor plumbing in here yet :o)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Angus Gets A Sweater, or Three. And Knitting is Magic.

I know what you all are thinking, I'm one of those girly-girls who has a tiny little ankle-biter so she can dress it up in cute little frou-frou pet clothing. Well, that's only partly true. Angus is a toy Rat Terrier (a.k.a. Rat Terror) who needs a sweater. He's only hairy on one side and the other side, his underside, needs a sweater in the cooler months. According to Mr. Howes, Angus needs booties and "ear mutts", too, but he'd chew the booties off and I don't know anyone who makes ear muffs for dogs.

I spent a couple of weeks checking out various shops on Etsy. Yes, Walmart carries reasonably priced sweaters for small dogs and I did buy one for Angus in moss green, but I can't help thinking how armadillo-ish it makes him appear. Not cute. But my search on Etsy for the perfect handmade knit sweater was successful and Angus now has 3 beautiful sweaters.

The first sweater he received was this cute skull and crossbones grey and cream acrylic hand knit sweater from Knick Knack Pack on Etsy. It was a pleasure to do business with Lex of Knick Knack Pack. I even got to choose the colors from her broad selection of yarns, and she whipped it up in no time. Knitting is like magic to me, I have no idea how a pattern can be knit into a sweater. I don't think they knit with needles, I think those are magic wands and when no one is looking they wave them and the sweater magically appears from thin air. To me that's more plausible. Really. How did she get that skull and crossbones in the sweater? I'm telling you, it's magic.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Survived A Studio Makeover.

It's been a very long October here at Annie Howes Keepsakes. Long hours, and missing X-acto blades, lost business card boxes, and many apologies for delayed shipments. The good news is October is over and the studio renovation is complete!

Well, almost. A few minor cosmetic features like the rest of the ceiling tiles, the framing for the windows and one door, and a bookshelf are all that remain.

Mr. Howes took a week off work and went to work on my renovated studio space the very weekend of my last craft fair. This turned my shipping and productivity upside down, but I wasn't complaining. We both knew with the growth of the company, this huge undertaking needed to take place immediately.

The garage is on the left, the studio on the right in the above photo.

The former studio space was about 110 sq ft of carpeted climate controlled space with more outlets on the walls than should be allowed by code. Inside that tiny space I created soldered art charms, handmade accordion books, Scrabble tile pendants, glass tile pendants, and that's where the concept of the pendant craft kit was born. Shipping and packing took place in there, too, until July when I began using the folding tables from my craft fair booth in the main part of the garage as my shipping station.

This is my packing/shipping station while construction was taking place.

Hey, at least I could see when UPS drove up!

The burgeoning studio needed expansion so Mr. Howes knocked out a wall and went to the serious business of constructing a space that would accommodate all aspects of the business, office!

Now when I leave the studio to address something online I don't have to walk through the "black hole", you know, that place where you forget where you were going and why!

To all my customers who experienced delayed shipping due to renovation, here's the unexpected chaos that has transformed into a streamlined efficient space. At over 350 sq ft, I may still have room to grow!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Make It Personal. The Party Pack Has Your Name Written All Over It.

I've been meaning to get to this for awhile but it's been a crazy couple of months with craft fairs and a complete studio renovation. It's been a very exciting time around here and a little hectic.

Now that I'm 100% moved into my fabulous new studio space I have time to share news on a variation of one of my top sellers: The Personalized Party Pack! What a fun way to treat someone special with this gorgeous kit customized with the recipient's name. Each quart sized container contains supplies to create 50 of your own glass pendants, magnets and rings. This option is also available upon request for the Petite Party Pack for an additional $15. The Petite Party Pack includes supplies and instructions on how to make Scrabble Tile Pendants, glass pendants, rings, and magnets using premium Chiyogami and Italian papers. What a unique and beautiful gift to give that's already wrapped in gorgeous paper!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Bottle Cap Collage Sheet Designs!

Brand new to my shop are therse freshly listed 1" bottle cap designs ready for you to create your bottle cap hair bows or bottle cap pendants! My friend at PrettyBowtique makes the cutest clippies for winter in white and pale blue, so I designed this fabulous bottle cap collage sheet with that in mind. These are sold exclusively at Annie Howes on Etsy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hinton's Orchard and Harvest Fun!

Each Tuesday morning I meet up for coffee with a few of my fellow Amazon spouses for some light socialization, much needed for me since I rarely get out of the studio most days. School is out for two weeks for Fall Break and a couple of the moms had planned a morning trip to a pumpkin patch.

I had a full schedule today with much needed glass arriving, orders to ship, kits to assemble, all while Mr. Howes was busy renovating my studio (that's another post entirely), so I hemmed and hawed, but after twisting my rubber arm, I quickly caved. It's rare that an invitation to poke around a pumpkin patch arises, and with children in tow we all headed to Hinton's Orchard & Farm Market located off 210 in Hodgenville, KY.

We were so pleasantly surprised at what we found. There was a blow up jumping *thing* (what are those called?), a hayride, baby calves (redundant, I know) that were the sweetest things I ever saw, a corn silo the kids could play in, a corn maze, and of course pumpkins! Lots of beautiful, perfect pumpkins.

It didn't take long for everyone to find their perfect pumpkins, in fact it took much longer for us to shop in their small but well-stocked market. The aroma of caramel apples permeated the market. Frozen lamb chops, beef patties, and pork were available, all grown locally in Kentucky. Homemade preserves, and apple and peach butters lined shelves alongside BBQ sauce and relish.

This coming weekend is their 5th Annual Pumpkinfest with a live band, pumpkin painting, and hot air balloon rides. The Green River Cattle Company will be there grilling their famous ribeye sandwiches which is one of my personal favorites. Take a look at the Hinton Orchard's website and blog for more information. You won't be disappointed! Please say hello to 3 week old "Number 29" (see photo at top) from me. He's a sweetie!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Country Ham Days Craft Fair Photos

I am so glad craft fair season is over for me. I have completely underestimated the toll it would take on me and my online business. Wow. Despite wearing comfortable shoes, my feet still hurt, and despite working 18 hour days, I still havea few days to catch up on shipping. To all my patient customers, I can never express in words how deeply I appreciate your patience with my shipping.

So it's been a non-stop packing, shipping, glass firing, coffee drinking, aspirin taking kind of a week around here. I'm left feeling slightly narcoleptic, but because I can see progress (I now have only a 4 days lag in shipping instead of 8), I'm beginning to have hope that at some point I can put my sore feet up and rest a moment.

Ham Days in Lebanon, KY was so much fun. I met fellow Etsy FAM Team member, Denita, in person and she's a DOLL! Her friend, Julie is special, too, and I miss them both! Denita makes the cutest tutus and we had one on Millie the first day, but sadly I neglected to take her picture. Julie makes the most gorgeous decorated frames and memory boxes. I am thoroughly impressed with the talent both of these fabulous women posess.

I also got to meet the owner of The Frisky Feather on Etsy! She came out of her way to meet me, however I suspect she came to browse all the fantastic booths put together by the talented people of the region.

All right, enough of this business of blogging. I have packages to ship and sleep to catch up on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Craft Fair Days. Cow Days & Ham Days in Central Kentucky.

These are the best days for craft fairs, nice cool mornings that turn into warm afternoons, without a hint of rain. Much better than my first experience with being a participant in a craft fair earlier this summer (see July post). We had two of the most beautiful days in Greensburg, Kentucky celebrating all things that go moo.

I wanted to share a few photos of my booth for my friends who like to check out other crafter's booths (I know I do!). I invested in a few more props, taking advantage of store closings in my own town. Sad as that may be (darn the Walmarts!), I'm happy to put the store displays to good use.

I met some really fine folks over the weekend, and especially enjoyed the company of Donna and Julie, of Tennessee and Louisville, respectively. If you ladies are reading this, I miss you already! No one sleeps late like those ladies do.

This coming weekend is Ham Days in the cute town of Lebanon, Kentucky. While my new friends won't be there I know I'll be in good company. Sandi of PrettyBowtique will be there selling her cute hairbows. Sandi's mom, Bea, will join us and she has the most fun purses you can find. And driving all the way down from Lousiville is Denita Cherry and her pal who will have Top Secret Stuff that I'm sure is too die for cute. It'll be a little Etsy Fam Team get together.

I also will be celebrating 5 wonderful years with Mr. Howes, who has been patient with me this entire marriage and then some. I think he's given up trying to figure what I'll do next. We will plan to mark the auspicious occasion with dinner at The Oak Barrel in Lebanon on Friday night.

If you're in the area, come out to Ham Days. It's the largest fair of it's kind in the area. Live music, contests, and fabulous pendants!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike & Windstream DSL in Kentucky *sigh*

Well, it could be worse, I could be evacuating Galveston in the anticipation of a huge, wet, and windy storm. But instead I'm living in Central Kentucky 45 minutes from the nearest shopping mall and have found myself without DSL.

I'm currently borrowing wi-fi from the allergist office where my daughter gets her weekly allergy shots. They think of everything, and thank goodness for that. Without an internet connection it's difficult to print orders, answer emails, update the online stores, and print shipping labels. So if you don't hear from me in the short term, please know that it's not for a lack of desire. It's for a lack of connectivity. I can still be reached by phone at my 800 number on to answer all your questions regardless of which store you placed your order.

If anyone can enlighten me on why a storm in the gulf would be affecting my internet in Kentucky, I'd really like to hear from you!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mushi Mushi, I Made Sushi!

Ah, yes, the day has finally come when I've taken the culinary leap of faith where I've taken my craft skills to the kitchen and have rendered not fat, but beauty.

Behold my first sushi experience. A simple start with just the basics: rice, nori, and fresh garden (not my own) cucumber. Known as The Shotgun in these here parts because there's something about the cucumber roll which makes the wasabi explode like fireworks in the back of my nose.

I finally gathered the courage to take the sushi plunge after visiting an international food market while in Indianapolis over Labor Day Weekend. Promptly after popping a Vicodin prescribed for my freshly broken pinkie toe (see previous post), I delved into the project. I figured pouring resin was probably not wise with the pain I was in and the effects of the medication, and besides, if I messed up my sushi roll I could always blame my toe.

So, I've come to the conclusion that if I can make a sushi roll this pretty and this tasty while hobbling around the kitchen on one foot, it can't be all that difficult after all.

The difficult part is getting sushi grade ahi delivered to Central Kentucky. I found this great site and got all excited because I could have 2 lbs of ahi for $35. Then my heart broke when overnight shipping brought the total to $74. But the point is, I could have it if I wanted it badly enough. And that, my friend, brings me great comfort.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What Not to Do While on Holiday.

My stepmom, Linda, throws a heck of a party every Labor Day Weekend and for the very first time I was able to make it to her neck of the woods to marvel in her organization and wallow in her barbecued pork chops and peach pie (the best pie I've ever tasted).

It's always a good time when I visit my parents, but rarely is a party thrown into the visit, so this was a real treat. My daughter and I made the 3.5 hour drive north to Brownsburg, Indiana, a much shorter drive to visit family than we're used to, and were eager to begin our 3-day adventure.

The party was grand, the shopping was great, and the company superb. We visited the butterfly house at the zoo, we got up close and personal with a cicada killing wasp, had lots of fun at Linda's party, and I broke my pinky toe.

How old am I? Old enough to not break a toe, I would think, but I managed to break it in half, even the urgent care wouldn't try to set it. And that was before I could make it to any good crafting stores. And then, because my mind was distracted by the damage I did to my toe, the worst part was that I forgot to take home a slice of peach pie.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Glasses & A Trapezoidal Nightmare

So, I finally found about 5 minutes in my weekly schedule to make an appointment with an optometrist in town where, yes, they determined, I need a prescription, and though my eyesight is near 20/20, I am, well, yes, maturing, and perhaps a prism for those astigmatisms. Yes, I agreed, I have astigmatisms, but I have no idea abut this aging business.

I found another 5 minutes (different week, mind you) to drop my prescription off at a shop that promised to sell me glasses that make me look, smart, no scratch that, intelligent, no scratch that, too. I think it was glamorous.

And finally..finally, I have my glamorous new glasses and I look 10x more intelligent and about that many years younger, and I could be on the cover of Vogue. No, really.

But there is a problem. Everything is a trapezoid and I feel, like, a foot shorter.

OK, what's the big deal, really, that the world is now a short trapezoid? I'll tell you what's the big deal, I need to see right angles. I need to be able to ship glass and cut corners (not the shortcut kind, either), and do all that stuff without the aid of a ruler! I have the skill for that. But now, I am seeing trapezoids everywhere. My monitor, my picture frames, my dog.

Trapezoids aren't all bad. That's why I have the photo of the gorgeous table in this post. The designer, Nathan Hunter, must have prisms in his glasses. I'm sure of it. To see more gorgeous tables like this visit this website.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Perfect Party Pack - How to Make Gorgeous Glass Pendants, Magnets & Rings!

Today marks my one year Etsyversary (one year on Etsy), and to mark this auspicious occasion I have developed and launched the Perfect Party Pack! The Perfect Party Pack is a quart sized paint can that's filled to the brim with all the ingredients you need to create your very own gorgeous glass tile pendants, magnets and rings!

The paint can is elegantly decorated with gorgeous Japanese Chiyogami paper and is hand labeled right here in my studio. Each item is carefully wrapped and packed inside the paint can to ensure everything arrives intact.

Here's what's included:
- 10 smooth edge clear glass tiles - .875" or 2.2cm square
- 10 smooth edge clear rectangles - .875" (7/8") x 1.875"
(1-7/8") or 2.2cm x 4.8cm
- 10 clear glass cubes
- 10 clear glass wafers
- 10 clear glass mini gems
- 20 Silver plated Aanraku bails
- 20 magnets
- 10 Silver plated adjustable rings
- 2 fl.oz. Diamond Glaze
- 1 tube of E-6000 jewelry adhesive (other kits have vials)
- assortment of Premium Chiyogami & Florentine papers, untrimmed
- 10 nickel plated stainless steel bead chains, 16" length
- Professional Tutorial PDFs with photos & tips
- 1 metal paint can to keep it all organized

I can't believe I got it all in there, and you won't be disappointed! So gather your friends and have some fun and make some pretty little things of your own!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fun with Bottle Cap and Pendant Designs!

I don't know how many of these designs I'll make, probably a limited amount of them, but they're so darn fun and cute! It's like candy to me, but they're a bit time consuming and off the beaten track from the rest of my products.

A dear friend of mine who makes hairbows had a special request from me, and while I know my time is somewhat valuable (to me at least), I also like to help fellow small business owners when needed. Sandi asked if I would design a few images for bottle caps that she could give away with her How to Make Bottle Caps tutorial on Etsy and they turned out stinkin' cute if I do say so myself!

Each image and all of their components are created by me here in my studio. I've taken the color palette from the Made to Match Gymboree (M2MG) collection so they'd coordinate with current children's clothing trends and with Sandi's ribbons. So they're easy to match with ribbons for bottle cap hair bows or as a bottle cap necklace that coordinates with your child's clothing.

I offer the pdf file for $2.00 apiece in my Etsy store, but if you'd like to learn how to make beautiful bottle caps from someone who makes them beautifully, I recommend buying the extremely affordable tutorial from Pretty Bowtique on Etsy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Scrabble Tile Pendant Tutorial Has a Little Competition

If the epitome of wearbale cuteness is a Scrabble Tile Pendant, then make room for something glamorous and sexy. Feast your eyes upon these gorgeous Glass Pendants made from Japanese Chiyogami papers and clear glass tiles.

Each kit includes a full color professionally prepared PDF tutorial with photos which is emailed to you at the time of shipment so once your order arrives you are fully equipped to start crafting.

I select only the most beautiful Chiyogami papers to include in my Glass Pendant kits, selecting from a broad range of papers that include popular elements and colors.

The various Annie Howes DIY Kits offered include:
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Japanese Chiyogami Papers
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Scrapbook papers
- Create Your Own Glass Pendant Kit with Round Glass Wafers, includes Chiyogami Papers
- Create Your Own Collection Kit for pendants and magnets, includes Chiyogami papers
- Create Your Own Scrabble Tile Pendants Kit

These original kits, which are an Annie Howes exclusive, are packaged with all the materials you need to create 6 gorgeous glass pendants. The beautiful packaging and fabulous tutorial means these kits are perfect for gift giving. But I caution you, this is one gift you'll want to keep for yourself!

You may find these kits at or AnnieHowes on Etsy. Wholesale inquiries welcome. Please visit for more information.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Desperate Times Call for Sushi Rolls

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are indeed desperate times. Desperate because I can't find sushi within an hour and a half drive from here, however many miles that translates into, I don't know, let's just call it a wee distance.

Mr. Howes and I took a drive up to Columbus, OH over the weekend and one of my requests, behind a pedicure, behind a good bookstore, behind Belgium chocolate was a decent sushi experience. And so we did.

Thanks to our Garmin, we located Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar and while the teppanyaki menu looked appealing, I was driven by a mad craving for sushi. The wasabi, the ginger, the sesame and all the yummy goodness packed inside the roll of rice is just something so precious, like a parcel of culinary perfection waiting to be savored. And it was good.

As I left, I thanked the staff in my customary Midwestern manner, and parted with the comment that I don't have access to such delicious sushi where I live. There was such shock (horror?) mixed with sadness that I decided to take matters into my own hands once and for all.

Today I ordered a sushi kit. I'm a DIY kind of gal and a problem solver, so I purchased the Sushi Chef Sushi-Making Kit on Other problems I need to solve include finding the right rice locally, getting my hands on some sake (dry county), and the time and the patience to create it all.

I also found this great site online, that has enough information and hand holding to make my adventures in sushi-making a little simpler.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mickey, My Sister, and the Panini Guy

So, my father has been doing a little digital archiving lately with a nifty tool he picked up at Hammacher Schlemmer a few months back. Better he than I because this sort of thing would drive me insane, but I'm so glad he's doing it. He purchase this media converter slide and negative scanner and has been going through the family slides archiving them to DVD. This neat little gadget converts 35mm slides and negatives into digital format with relative ease, according to my father. And he should know, he's already scanned hundreds of slides with this new toy.

Most of the slides he's converted are reassuringly familiar, filled with images of people who were younger and more vibrant, some toddling and reluctantly struggling with the concept of potty training, of Easter Sundays, of pets and loved ones long since passed, and trips around the world.

Then he stumbled across a real gem of a slide with a fun story behind it. A gem we thought was long since lost in the printed format of a photograph. A story of an American couple who traveled to Florence, Italy with their small child and a chance meeting with one of Hollywood's funniest actors. Of course, this all took place before I was born.

In my father's words...

"On my first sabbatical in 1966, Laura Mae (my mother) and I took Laura (my sister)to Europe. We spent a good part of our time abroad living in a charming house on a hill on the south side of Florence with great views of the city. Around the corner from us was a small local piazza with a little mom and pop grocery store where we bought daily necessaries and I practiced my Italian. On one side of this square was a high wall enclosing the grounds of a grand historic villa. One day I saw something really bizarre in the square. A couple of large vans were unloading movie equipment and even a real camel! I learned from my grocer friend that a movie company had rented the grounds of the villa to film a movie set in Renaissance Florence, and this villa with its view of the Duomo etc. was perfect. Moreover, my grocer friend had managed to get the contract to set up a lunch counter inside the wall where the movie people could get sandwiches and drinks during their breaks, and he said he could get us in!

Of course, we were excited to have all this fancy stuff going on right in our quiet little neighborhood. A little later in the morning Laura Mae and I wheeled Laura in her stroller over and my friend got us through the gate. Inside we saw actors, crew setting lights, cameras and cameramen, etc. All the actors were in fancy Renaissance dress, and looked pretty strange when they were on break, smoking cigarettes and drinking cokes! Much to our amazement, we saw an Italian movie star of the period, Vittorio Gassman (he was married for a time to Shelley Winters), and a well-known French actress, also all dressed up. Gassman was unbelievably handsome, even more so in person than in the movies. But the big special treat of the day was seeing, of all people, Mickey Rooney! He was playing a little devil (literally) in this movie. We watched them filming a scene for a while and when they broke for lunch Mickey came over to the lunch counter to get something to eat. I spoke to him, and he was so happy to hear English--with an American accent!--that he almost hugged me. We chatted a while, and a small crowd of locals who had also managed to get through the gate gathered around us. They were much more impressed by Mickey Rooney than by their own movie star. With me acting as interpreter, since I could speak a little Italian, they asked questions about various entertainers and Mickey was in his element, not only talking about his Hollywood friends but doing brilliant imitations of them. I remember that he did Jonathan Winters so perfectly you had to blink to see that it was Mickey and not Jonathan there, and Mickey was warm, friendly, and very very funny. The locals were enthralled, even though they could not understand English, but like the skilled entertainer he is Mickey managed to communicate very well with his impromptu audience. He was delighted with our little blond angel and picked her up and played with her. When he had to go back to work I asked if he'd pose with Laura for a picture, and we got my grocer friend into the picture too."

So there you have it, a gem of a tale with a fabulously converted slide photo that we can guarantee will be duplicated in triplicate and passed on to future generations.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Love Dogs.

I sometimes wish I was a dog when I see Sam roll in the grass. He has such an expression of pure bliss in moments like these when undoubtedly he's found something super stinky that he must claim as his own. I can't help but marvel at his happy dog face with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth and his face pulled in what resembles a grin. Maybe he's laughing at me because I'm too uptight to join him. Maybe I should try rolling in the grass sometime.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Craft Fair to Remember

My very first craft fair was on July 3-4 and it's definitely been entered into my book of Events to Remember. I'm not going to gripe...much, instead I mainly would like to share photos of my amazing booth. Well, it's amazing to me simply because I pulled it all together. I learned a few lessons along the way (like glue dots only stick when you want to remove them, and don't when you want them to stick), and that it always, and I mean always rains in Central Kentucky on the 4th of July.

Please enjoy a few snapshots of my booth while I share all my secrets. I have these photos and more uploaded on my Flickr site.

Here's a basic checklist
- E-Z Up canopy from Walmart
- Tablecloths - $3 twin sheets from Walmart
- Cheap Bunting made with ribbon, glue dots, and sheet scraps (not durable!)
- Peg boards to display pendants with hooks (home improvement store)
- Carousel displays and necklace displays purchased from jewelry store closing.
- Curtain panels from Ikea
- Banner from Wilson Graphics (LOVE it!!!)
- Mirror mounted on pegboards (excellent decision!)
- Guestbook with cheap pens because the pens kept "walking off"

I also brought a roll of ball chain for the pendants and made them on the fly for those customers who wanted a different length, and I had scissors, a money box, snacks, water, and even band-aids.

What would I do next time? I plan to "get around to painting" the peg boards. We didn't finalize that part of the project until the night before the event. I have 2 cans of paint that coordinate with my banner.

I also would like to get something colorful and informational that I can put in front of my booth to attract customers who are at a distance. The only 2 aspects of the fair I will complain about are 1) the location of handmade goods is too far from the entertainment, and 2) all the vendors who disbanded when the rain poured. The end of the street where handmade goods was located looked deserted with the exception of a handful of booths and many potential customers didn't think it was worth the long walk to get to us. There was virtually nothing between us and the entertainment but a long hot and wet walk.

I did have a fabulous time and brought home enough to make me feel the entire experience was worth it. I plan on participating in 3 more fairs this year, one of which is Cow Days in Greensburg and the other is Ham Days in Lebanon. It was a fun and memorable experience!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let Freedom Ring and Other Musings

Alas, the long awaited July 4th celebration in our small town in Kentucky came to pass, along with my very first craft fair. It was such an enjoyable experience for me despite all the rain and abundance of squeaky wallets, I really have few complaints, if any. I loved the entire experience, from seeing my child's face as she bungee'd to watching my dearly beloved Mr. Howes as President Abraham Lincoln on the float (in the pouring rain, no less!)

I hope you all have had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lazy Rivers and Not So Lazy Days

Boy, I love summertime. I love the sounds of cicadas in the trees, the drone of air conditioners, and the light golden glow of color my arms take on each year. And I love water. So I was delighted when yesterday, the esteemed Mr. Howes arranged for the family to engage in a canoe trip along the Green River in Cave City, home to Mammoth Cave National Park.

Located in the heart of Kentucky, we pulled up to Mammoth Cave Canoe & Kayak at roughly noon. By 12:30 we had been driven about 2 miles down the road to a Mammoth Cave National Park water entry point. From there we were launched into the Green River for a 7 (seven!) mile water cruise that would bring us to the exit 3.5 hours later.

Now, I've been canoeing before but never on the Green River. My earliest canoe experience was on the Merimac River when I was very young and all I recall from that trip is my parent's canoe tipping over in a strong current and my mom yelling "SAVE THE BEER!" to anyone within earshot. And I also remember dear dad's gushing laceration as a result of saving the beer. So to me, canoeing always was associated with excitement, and the occasional beer.

Unfortunately, yesterday's canoe trip wasn't expertly captured on camera because I experienced a lot of "operator error" on the camera (one with which I'm unfamiliar), however Mammoth Cave Canoe & Kayak has been gracious enough to allow me to use some of their photos.

While the Green River is truly the epitome of a lazy River, the trip was enjoyable as the river passes right through the Mammoth Cave National Park. We saw deer, duck families, woodchucks, a chipmunk, and several turtles sunbathing on logs. There was a small cave we entered where the water was quite chilly, and at the end of the tour there's a waterfall you can walk. I was wonderful to set work aside for several hours and enjoy what pleasures there are to be had in the heat of the Summer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to Make a Stunning Glass Tile Pendant

I've always had an affinity for glass and the way it enriches any environment with it's water-like visual quality. I love glass with texture and distortion, in blues and greens, and I love how glass reflects onto other surfaces creating what we call around here "lightbugs".

Naturally, I've fallen in love with glass tile pendants. I've found these beautifully handcut clear square tiles that have been fired in a kiln to smooth the edges so they're all as smooth to the touch as any curve would be. I've created a slew of these gorgeous necklaces using a wide variety of beautiful patterned papers, from scrapbook papers to fine Japanese Chiyogami papers, and I'm currently developing a method to offer them customized with your photo.

I may not have my pendants in my stores just yet (I'm reserving them for an upcoming arts & crafts fair) I do have a fabulous Do-It-Yourself kit available in both and! Each kit comes with a basic tutorial on how to make a stunning glass tile pendnat!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

I don't really know what that means, but I thought I'd share this photo my 9 year old took of our Toy Rat Terrier, Angus. She took this photo about 2 weeks ago on the hill behind our house where our vegetable garden is.

I also want to share that I'm participating in my first ever Arts & Craft Fair which is being held in Campbellsville, KY on July 3 and 4. It's the town's biggest event of the year and I hear the place is hopping during the 4th of July. I'll be right on Main St. with the rest of the area's creative folks. If you're in town, please do stop by to say "hello!"

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eyeglass Crisis Fundraiser! 20% off in BOTH shops!

What is a person to do when her eyeglasses are completely ruined by 6 pounds of pooch? Why, have a sale!

Or a fundraiser.

Glasses are not exactly inexpensive to replace, my friends, particularly if your most recent vision exam is over a year old. I think any optician is obligated to put my eyes through the Spanish Inquisition with my vision after 12 months, and it's been closer to 24 months.

So, in order to afford a new pair of glasses (and to ensure continued tight quality control on your orders), I'm having a 20% off sale in both my shops through Friday, June 13, 2008! If you're ordering through, simply put optician in the discount code box at checkout to receive your 20% discount. If you're ordering from Annie Howes on Etsy, put "optician" in the notes to seller box at checkout. I'll send you a revised invoice. This includes all custom orders.

Here's my pitiful attempt to repair them using E-6000 and a little creativity.

Why, Hello Dolly!

Friday was a very interesting day around here as days go for those of us in Central Kentucky. With school being out and my husband's work schedule finally giving him weekends off, Friday is a real day to celebrate.

However, this past Friday we really had reason to celebrate: our daughter was finally graduated to riding Dolly, a beautiful 16+ hand 3 year old Mule. For those of you "not in the know", Red Bud, a 4 year old mammoth donkey, had been our daughter's trusty mount for the past 8 months. Susan, a highly skilled competition-level equestrian and trainer, assured Bridget that if she could control Red Bud, she could control anything.

I'm so thrilled to have Susan in our lives to give Bridget a solid and safe equestrian foundation. Through Susan we've learned to love and understand these beautiful and affectionate creatures who are so dog-like in their personalities, and so much less flighty than their horsey friends (we adore horses, too :o).

I just wanted to share some photos of Bridget on Dolly. The expression on her face is priceless. Enjoy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

And the Winners Are...

Andrea Baker & Carlie Morgan!

Despite not having the correct number, Andrea Baker was the 4th person to post, and using the highly scientific method of asking my 9 year old daughter to "pick a number from one through eight" to select the winner, and she selected number four. The fourth post was made by Andrea Baker.

Now, becuase there were actually 100 matchbooks, I feel compelled to declare Carlie Morgan a winner, too, because she correctly guessed the number of matchboxes!

Congratulations to you both! If you haven't heard from me please contact me through Annie Howes on Etsy!

Thank you to everyone who played!

Monday, June 2, 2008

All You Need Is Love. And A Light.

Love is in the air and to celebrate the completion of this large custom matchbox order, I'm having a small contest! If you can correctly guess how many matchboxes are in this group that I photographed you will be eligible to win $5 off in either my or stores!

To enter, simply guess how many matchboxes were in the original photo and leave a comment with your answer! The contest ends on Friday, June 6, 2008. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Terrier Tuesday

Well, why not? I've had a wonderful time with family visiting us this Memorial Day weekend which was loads of fun. The house was relatively tidy considering 3 dogs occupy the house with us, so naturally, in true Terrier Form, Angus waited until they had left (about 5 minutes) before he ran amok with a fresh roll of Charmin Ultra Soft (you needed to know that). Please enjoy photos of Terrier Tuesday. :o)

Opening Doors...

Turning Corners...

Tuesday's Muse...