Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My "Grow Your Blog" Party!! All Bloggers are Invited!! This is THE Official Sign Up post!

***January 15, 2013 - UPDATE
If you are looking for the Grow Your Party list of participants for this years HUGE party -- you will find it here!

The day I started blogging is etched in my mind forever.  After working for what seemed like hours on my very first post, I held my breath while cautiously (and nervously) -- touching my fingers to the publish button.  One second later, I was a blogger.  At that time, I had no idea how this experience called "blogging" would change my life~~
Without ever packing a bag I'm able to visit with some amazing people from all over the world. Over the past couple of years I've developed wonderful relationships with folks on the other side of the world -- friends  that I truly cherish~~
 Dorthe lives in Denmark- she makes mermaids and dolls and beautiful crafts from objects that she finds along the beach near her home.  ~~  Jenny and her husband Enno live in Holland and have the most beautiful garden you have ever seen.  ~~Suzy lives in Australia and works her magic with lace -- an unbelievable talent. ~ My friend Jo also lives in Australia -- she introduces me to great art,  wonderful recipes -- she is an amazing cook, wonderful books and keeps me always thinking with her inquisitive posts. One more friend in Australia - sweet Neesie, shares her gorgeous artwork on her blog while  writing the most intriquing posts about her interests and life in general. ~~   Jim,Ron,(and Sophie Doodle) live in Nova Scotia- they showcase their amazing scenery on their blog and live life to its fullest -- all through the eyes of their adorable doodle dog - Sophie. ~~  

My dear friend Elaine lives in Canada- we share similar interests in books, movies and PBS series. She has given me some wonderful recommendations! She is also an amazing photographer. ~  Rod - my knitting extraordinaire friend - lives in Iceland (and I am going to visit him next summer!!)  This experience most certainly would not be happeneing if it were not for blogging!!  ~~ Liz lives in France and makes gorgeous crafts using some This experience most certainly would not have happened had it not been for wonderful items that she buys at the flea markets over there (lucky dog!) ~~ Paul lives in England-- he is an expert on plants and flowers and all things gardening related.  He has taken me to some amazingly beautiful places in England through the pages of his blog.~~ Myriam lives in Germany and is truly a wonderful friend. She is so kind and always remembers me on my birthday :) ~~  

Tammy lives in Kuwait and has introduced me to a whole new culture. She is a talented crafter, a world traveler, and shares some amazing recipes on her beautiful blog. ~~   Delilah lives in Finland, but is moving to England -- a recent graduate of a Master Gardening degree -- she is moving to take a position in one of the great historical gardens in the English countryside.  She makes beautiful jewelry. ~~  Mila lives in Italy in the place of my dreams, Cinque Tere - she is a painter and her designs are exquisite. ~~

Elvira lives in (sigh)--- Tuscany.  Her photography is simply breathtaking.  She shares photos of the Tuscan countryside that are beautiful beyond words- and she has a wild boar that she rescued as a baby -- she keeps her as a pet!  ~~ Catherine lives in Belgium -- she is a children's illustrator and makes beautiful bears.  Her party themed designs are precious.~~   And Maggie -- lives in France - in a beautiful historic Presbytere.  She shares stunning photos from around her home and takes us along on her travels.
These aren't just people that I know -- these are people that I love. We have become true friends through this experience called blogging~~

Whether you have been blogging for years or months or just days -- we all want the experience of making new friends and just knowing that there are people "out there" who care about and are interested in our blogs.  We want to be "heard".  We want people to visit - and leave comments -- and come back again and again to read what we writeWe want FOLLOWERS!!
My "Grow Your Blog" event is designed to bring more readers and FOLLOWERS to your blogs.  The premise is simple -- visit as many blogs as you can and follow those that interest you.  In turn, those folks will be doing the same thing -- and hopefully everyone will grow a bigger blog! 
We need some guidelines - so here they are~~

1.  ***Everyone who has a blog is invited!!  Please note - the deadline for entry is January 15!!!***
This is the official SIGN UP Post.  If you want to participate - please leave a comment here on this post.  Make sure you have a valid link to your blog and also tell me how many Followers you have.  ***I am going to place everyone into categories based on the number of followers that you currently have.  While you can certainly visit any blogs and as many blogs as you wish -- those of you with only a few followers may wish to begin your quest by visiting blogs that are similar to yours - so that you can support each other and more quickly add to your follower list.***
2.  PLEASE share the beautiful party badge (created by friend Karen) on your own blogs.  The more people that know about this event -- the better.  We need lots of people to participate so that you have a better chance of "growing your blog!"  Share this information with your blog friends, with your readers and followers -- perhaps do a special post about the event.  Spread the word!! 
3. Just in case you don't get what you want for Christmas (LOL!!) -- lets give away some prizes to our participants!  If you wish (it's NOT a requirement) you may give away a prize.  (Anything you want.)  The rules need to be simple -- anyone can enter, anyone can win - regardless of where they live. There is NO requirement that a person has to be a follower of your blog to win. ***The winner does not have to have a blog -- please make sure that you make that evident on your post -- anyone can enter -- anyone can win.***   Blogging has NO boundaries and you need to be willing to mail your gift anywhere in the world.  Let's all  do the same thing and give our prizes away on February 1, 2013.  You can announce the winner of your giveaway on Your blog.  
4.  **** Please publish your blog post late in the evening of January 18th.  I will publish my post as the host blog -- around midnight on the morning of the 19th.  I'll participate just as you all do - and will have a little give away of my own as well. 

Some suggestions for making this a better and more fun experience for all of us--
1. Introduce yourself on your blog.  Tell about who you are and why you started your blog.  If your blog pertains to a particular interest - tell about that also.  In short - let folks know what your blog is about. 
2. Make sure that you go to your blog profile and add your email address to your profile.  There is NOTHING more dreaded than the No-Reply Blogger status on your comment.  People want to be able to reply back to you and if they can't because you have not included your address in your profile -- they may get frustrated.
3. Comment Moderation  spam filter ---We all hate it.  Please consider turning it OFF for this event.  Folks just do not want to sit and have to type in those silly numbers and letters every time they leave a comment.  If you visit 50 or 60 blogs - that might get old really fast. It is totally your choice to turn it off or leave it on -- I am just suggesting that you turn it off.   
4. VERY IMPORTANT -- Be sure that you have your Follower button installed on your sidebar!!!   (It's located in the gadget section of your design page- just click to add it to your sidebar.)  
5.  You might want to consider adding your email address to your sidebar someplace where folks will see it.  (you can add that by using the text gadget)
6.  Put your first name someplace near your blogger profile and share a photo of yourself if you would like.  People want to identify with you and to call you by your first name when they leave their comments.  
7. Please -- we are NOT selling things here.  That is not what this event is about. The purpose of this event is to Meet-Greet- and Grow your blogs! So please don't take advantage of that.  If you have an ETSY shop or website -- just have it listed on your sidebar.  If folks are interested - they will go there. 
8.  If you want to give your blog a new "do" in time for the party --- you might want to contact Karen - she will make your blog look beautiful! 
This is my way of giving back to the blogging community that has given SO very much to me. I feel in my heart that this event has such great potential to help your blogs to GROW and to change your blogging life -- especially if you are a new or novice blogger.  I'm so very excited to have the opportunity to host this event and to invite you all to participate.  My fingers are crossed already -- and we still have to wait 2 months!!!  Lets use that time to spread the word among our fellow bloggers.  Please - Please-- share the information with all of your friends.  Lets make this an unbelievable event!! (and then we can do it again next year!!)

ps -- coming up next -- a little motivation for some pre-Christmas shopping and a little reward for my devoted followers! An I LOVE ETSY Party!! .  I will link to some of my favorite ETSY shops and--- I will link to yours.  If you are one of my devoted followers and your etsy shop is ready for Christmas shoppers -- then I would love to help to bring folks to your etsy shop.  I will have all the info in a post that is coming up soon - so be watching!!

And so it begins~~ the first donation for my "Pink Scarf Project" has arrived.  Donated by the generous souls at the Lady of Fatima Church in Huntington, West Va-- it is beyond beautiful and so very special.  The flower embellishments were added by my friend Janet Yost.  This scarf will bring a smile and a warm hug to someone who is recieving treatments for Breast cancer. 

Please consider participating in this special project.  You may make or purchase a pink scarf for your donation. The scarf you donate could make a difference -- You can find more info on my sidebar-- or here.   


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My "Pink Scarf Project" -- an Opportunity and a GIVEAWAY!!

The statistics are horrifying~~
It is estimated that over 230,000 women  were diagnosed with breast cancer during this past year. Ninety-five percent of these cases occurred in women 40 years of age and older. As horrid as those numbers are, they are an improvement over the previous year. And those numbers are an improvement over the year before -- thanks to increased awareness, better detection methods, and remarkable new treatments.

 to participate
 in my
"Pink Scarf Project."
 Simply stated - it has only one goal~ 
 To bring a smile to the face of a woman who is fighting her own battle with breast cancer. 

You are all invited to participate
 by making or purchasing a scarf for donation.

Do you knit-crochet-sew?
Does your ladies club or craft group need a project?
Does your ladies church group wish to participate?
Your friends-sisters-family?

Are you totally NOT crafty?
Would you like to purchase a pink scarf for this project?

The guidelines for this project are simple--
just make or purchase a pink scarf
in any style or design that you wish
as long as it is predominately

You may send the scarf  (as many as you wish!)
to me at anytime during this next year. 
This is a year long project and will be ongoing
from October 2012-October 2013. 
A special address for these donations has been created~

"Pink Scarf Project"
311 West Main Street
Grayson, Ky 41143 
(Please note that this address is for scarf donations only.)

Everyone who participates by making a scarf donation
will be entered into a special contest
to win a beautiful knitted and beaded wrap
that I have created specifically
 for this event~

Featuring exquisite fringe and a beautiful beaded ribbon detail along one end--
this wrap is my one of a kind creation.
I've filled it with heartfelt thanks to all of  you
for participating in this unique project.

This wrap is so very special-
I've poured my heart and soul into making it so exquisite and beautiful for you.
The winner will be announced  NEXT October 1
as we conclude this year long project
and the
Breast Cancer Awareness nests
make their debut. 

Please come here and leave a comment when you donate a scarf. 
You will be entered to win every time you leave a comment.
You may enter as many times as you wish.  
Every single scarf that I receive will be photographed 
and featured here on my blog throughout the coming year. 
I'll share the name of the person or group who made the donation
and link to your blog if you have one.  
If you have a personal message
that you would like me to share along with the photo of your donation-
a memory, a dedication,a message-
Please include it along with the scarf in a note to me.  
(please limit your message to 6 or 8 sentences or a small paragraph) 

The scarves will be collected throughout this next year
October 2012-October 2013.

Next October your gifts of love and support
will be donated to women
who are braving their own battle against
 Breast Cancer.
Your beautiful scarves will be shared
between two of my friends --
LeAnn and Donna
(fellow bloggers)
 and courageous ladies
who have recently waged their own personal fight against
Breast Cancer.
I wanted these gifts of love to deliver a personal message --
to show women who are undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer
that they are in our hearts and prayers.
Both LeAnn and Donna will
 share your precious gifts with ladies
at centers where they received their own treatments.
(LeAnn is one of the artists contributing to the design of the Breast Cancer Awareness Nest.)   

Please spread the word of this special project amongst your friends --
 both here in blogland and beyond,
by sharing the "Pink Scarf Project" badge
on your own personal blogs. 
You may leave a comment here telling me that
you are sharing the badge
or that you have created a special post. 
(In which case I will love you forever!) 

Everyone who shares the message of this project
(by placing the badge on their blog OR creating a post OR both!!)
will be entered to win a beautiful mini-inspirational quote album
created specifically for this event
by my "oh so talented" friend
Sue Kosec. 

Filled with quotes
 that define the soul of a woman--
this album will be a keepsake that you will treasure. 
Just leave me a comment here on this post
telling me that you have helped
to spread this message 
about the
"Pink Scarf Project".
The winner will be announced NEXT October 1
at the conclusion of this year long
Celebration of Women! 

"Make a scarf~ Make a difference."

I want to thank you all in advance ~ because I know that this is going to be an amazing project.  I know that you will fill my mailbox with your gifts of love and support for women who are desperately fighting for their lives.  This is our way to bring a smile -- to send a hug-- to make a perfect stranger feel that someone cares. "Make a scarf and make a difference."   You guys are the greatest!~~xoxo

About the photoshoot--

These photos were taken at the home of my middle sister, Belinda. She is truly the sister who has the green thumb - as her flowers and back deck were absolutely gorgeous this summer.  We used quilts that were made by our Mother and Grandmothers.  Belinda was a really good sport to assist me in the taking of these photos - especially since she had just had some minor surgery done just the week before.  Honestly -- I think she had NO idea what she was in for when I casually asked -- "can I come to your house and do the yarn photoshoot for the new nest design?"   It's NO small project to stage and take all of these photos -- it was an ALL day event.  That's her pretty kitty -- Callie, in the photo above -- she liked to help us sometimes :)

Coming up next ---
the OFFICIAL sign up post for my GROW YOUR BLOG project!!! If you want to bring more readers and followers to your blog -- please don't miss this post as this will be your opportunity to sign up to participate.  I will have all of the details in that post!! 


This beautiful event badge was created by my friend Karen Valentine.
  A mentor to all of us here in blogland--
Karen is a valuable resource to anyone who needs help with anything related to blogging.
 I can honestly say that my blog would probably not exist
 if it were not for Karen's help and support.
Thank you my friend~ 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pink- the Color of Hope (my Breast Cancer Awareness Nest)

She was the cook, the hostess, the comforter--
the keeper of all the mysterious secrets for how to do just about everything~~
(The Spirit of a Woman)

Most of us have known at least one incredible woman in our lives
 who has an unalterable inner strength and determination. 
 She is a sister, a Mother, a family member, a friend--
 She is a victim of breast cancer -- 
and she will fight to survive.  

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness 
and in honor of every woman who has ever had to battle
 this incorrigible demon--

My Breast Cancer Awareness nest will debut in October of 2013.
All charitable profits will benefit the
Susan G. Komen Foundation
for the promotion of
Breast Cancer Awareness.

 "The shape of a woman's life is formed not only by circumstances and events
 but by her resilience--
 from which can unfold unexpected resourcefulness
 and moments of sheer grace."
Charlene Spreknak, Author of  "Missing Mary"

 "There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire 
which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, 
but which kindles up and beams and blazes
 in the dark hour of adversity."
Washington Irving 

 "You gain strength, courage and confidence 
by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. 
 You are able to say to yourself,
 'I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.' 
You must do the thing that you think you can not do.
Eleanor Roosevelt 

 How many women do you know and love in your life?
Do you have sisters? Best friends? Women who you admire?
Statistically - about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. 

There is hardly any woman who has not been touched by breast cancer
at some point in her life. 

 With over 1 million new cases diagnosed each year -- 
chances are that every woman knows at least one woman who has breast cancer. 

Whether it is their own diagnosis or that of someone they love -- 
Breast Cancer Awareness knowledge can empower a woman's struggle to survive.

  I am a woman of substance created by God,
beautiful on the inside as well as the out--
Loved and cherished by many,
One of God's beautiful designs--
I am unique---
There is only one me.
(Woman of Substance) 

 In October 2013 ---  I will debut 22 amazingly beautiful Breast Cancer Awareness nests.
Unlike anything that I have ever done before--
these nests will fittingly honor--
 the spirit of a woman. 

 (a little self-portrait here!)

Dainty, delicate, and feminine--
 these nests will speak to the soul of every woman. 

Some facts about the nests--

This nest will be the cooperative efforts
 of some of the most amazing artists and designers 
that I have ever worked with. 
Their talents and contributions will make this nest 
one of the most collectable that I have ever
For the first time ever --
each little nest will be embellished with a removable and wearable handmade brooch-
delicately embroidered and embellished with tiny beads and seed pearls--
you may proudly wear this unique and original design brooch
  to show your support of
 Breast Cancer Awareness.

Using a variety of textures that will amaze you (!!!)-
each nest will be embellished with dainty handmade flowers
and leaves  
in an artistic rendering 
of a beautiful flower 
My Mother first taught me to knit when I was 13 years old.  
I remember that I made an ugly scarf
 for a class project.
I really did enjoy the practice of knitting,
 but back then -- knitting wasn't cool --
 especially when you were
 13 years old.  
So -- I put down my needles~~
for over 35 years.
Just days before my Mother passed away --
 she re-introduced me to knitting again. 
We were trying to find something to do 
that would occupy her mind and keep her hands busy.  
When she asked for her knitting needles --
 I realized that I had forgotten the skill.
So -- she taught me again, 
and we knitted
I believe that my Mother rekindled my passion for knitting --
that, in turn, created my obsession for beautiful yarns,
which in turn, has lead me down the path to these
After my Mother passed away,
 my sisters and I found bags of my Mothers old worsted yarns
when we were cleaning out the attic at her house.  
Honestly -- I almost threw it all away 
But - I didn't
My friend Jan and my sister Denise are making tiny crochet flowers
 from my Mother's yarns-- 
Mary will work her special magic and embellish
 each of the little flowers
 with beautiful sequins and beads~
You will find these little flowers 
nestled amongst the other embellishments 
on the nests. 
I am so proud that I am able to use my Mother's yarn in such
a very special way~  

Joining me in this special project are the amazing talents of--
Maire Dodd
Brenda Sype-Donahue
Michelle Ferullo
Deb Hembree
Sue Kosec
Kylie Parry
Carrie Elizabeth Petrocelli
Paulette Racanelle
Mary Scott
LeAnn Weih
Julie Whitmore
Janet Yost
Denise Burnett (my sister)
(for now-- I am linking to the blogs and professional websites of my talented friends. 
Next October I will be linking to their etsy shops -
 some of them will have special items for sale in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness.)
Mary will work more beading magic with gorgeous vintage beads and embellishments.  
Delicate florals, swarovski crystals,vintage glass beads-
I've been collecting some amazing vintage jewelry pieces for use in this project.

Created from the pages of
 my knitting magazines
 and from Breast Cancer Awareness materials -- 
 each little nest will be embellished 
with handmade, sparkly, glittery, paper beads --
 so unique and beautiful --
they are truly amazing.

tiny little birds
glazed, pink, dainty
will embellish each nest-
(be still my heart!)

tiny little treasures will bear the name of that thing that we must always have--

 Each nest will be embellished with a tiny little "nest sized" hand painted silk chiffon scarf.
Lovingly wrapped and entwined ~the nest will be encircled with a signature piece of art -- 
 Created by a truly gifted and talented artist --- these tiny little scarves are 
simply and stunningly-
My gift to each person who purchases one of these Breast Cancer Awareness nests --
will be one of these gorgeous "big girl" sized scarves.
Designed to match the tiny little nest scarf--
this will be your very own one of a kind accessory to wear-
 signifying your support
of Breast Cancer Awareness. 
(as modeled by our little grand daughter Keri Beth.)
She tells her Papaw all the time that she is a "big girl!"

With only 22 of these nests to be created --
 they are extremely limited in quantity.
Those of you who are interested--
may email me now
for information 
or to place your name 
on the waiting 
This very special nest 
will truly be a year in the making~
and will debut next year -
 October 2013. 

I'm so deeply honored to have this opportunity to create this Breast Cancer Awareness nest
for the benefit of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  
Spreading the message of Breast Cancer Awareness is so very important.  

Knowledge is empowering and can save lives--
each little nest will be packaged to include
the latest in Breast Cancer Awareness literature.
On a more personal note--
Like many of you I'm sure,  I have treasured friends who've fought
their own battles with breast cancer.
Some have survived-- and sadly, some have not.
To me -- they are all heroes.
They define the courageous and undeniable spirit of women everywhere. 
"If you want to see a woman fight -- just make her mad."  

This Breast Cancer Awareness nest
is dedicated to the memory of my Mother
Barbara Pope
and to women everywhere --who thankfully,
have the ability 
to get mad~

ps-- Have you noticed my beautiful blog header?
(a million and one Thanks to my friend Karen Valentine for making my blog SO beautiful and for creating my fabulous "Pink Scarf Project"event badge!!) You know I love you!
 I'm turning my blog PINK for the next few months to CELEBRATE the spirit of women and the announcement of my Breast Cancer Awareness nest.  Please join me here for my next post when I introduce my "Pink Scarf Project"-- a unique Awareness event in which you are all invited to participate.  We've lots to talk about -- lots to CELEBRATE-- and there will be a wonderful give away as well!  I made something SO pretty --- and I'm giving it away to you!