Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grow Your Blog - 2014 (This is THE Official Sign Up Post)

If you are looking for the actual party post -- for January 25, 2014  you can find it here!

Anybody want to party? Would you like to make new blogging friends? Mark your calendars for January 25, 2014 and make plans to join me and LOTS of other bloggers from around the world for this incredible opportunity to increase the readership of your blogs and also to increase your followers! 

 Last year over 400 bloggers participated in this event-- and you are ALL invited to this winter's party!  This could be the perfect event to help us all with the winter doldrums!  When it's freezing outside and the snow is flying everywhere-- just snuggle in where it's warm and spend some time making new friends~~

My "GROW YOUR BLOG" event is designed to bring more readers and FOLLOWERS to your blogs. The premise is simple-- just visit as many blogs as you wish and sign up to follow those that interest you. In turn, all the other folks will be doing the same thing~ we will all be growing our blogs!

We need some guidelines for everyone to follow
so here they are~

1.Everyone who has a blog is invited -- 
this is an international event.  
Wherever you live~you are invited to party with us. 
Please note -- the deadline for entry is January 15.  This is THE official sign up post -- if you wish to participate - please leave a comment here on this post.  (I can't go back and forth between multiple posts for all the entries -- so please consider that this is the official sign up post.)

In your entry comment -- please tell me how many followers you have.  I will be grouping the participants according to their number of followers.  While you can certainly visit as many blogs as you wish -- those of you with only a few followers may wish to begin your visits by going to those blogs who, like you, only have a few followers -- that way you can support each other and more easily add to your follower lists!

***** in addition to your number of followers - please leave me a live link to your blog in your comment.  Copy the URL of your blog and paste it into your comment.  This will make it easier for me to go directly to your blog when I add you into the blog lists.  

2.  Please share the beautiful party badge 
(created by my friend Karen Valentine)
with your own blogging friends. 
 Post it on your sidebar and encourage your friends to do the same.  The more blogs that participate - the more chances we all have of growing our blogs.  SPREAD THE WORD!  Perhaps even consider doing a post about this on your own blog.

3. Prizes --- 
the choice is yours
 to give away prizes or not. 
 Last year it was about half and half.   In the many comments that I received relating to last year's event -- folks seemed to really enjoy the prizes that they won and appreciated the efforts by those who gave them away.  But - the choice is yours and there is no requirement to do so.  If  you do chose to give away a prize - it can be anything you want.  The rules need to be the same for everyone~ anybody can enter, anybody can win.  

PLEASE do not make it a requirement to follow your blog in order to enter. In fact -- you do not have to have a blog to be entered to win a prize.  Blogging has NO boundaries so you need to be willing to ship your prize any where in the world.  Everyone can enter - regardless of where they live.  

**Let's all do the same thing and give the prizes away on February 15.  You can announce the winner of your give away on your blog on that date. **

4.  Please publish your blog post 
late on the evening of January 24 --
 that way it will be ready for those on the other side of the world
 who wake up before us.
As the host blog, I will publish my post with the list on participants just after midnight on January 25.  

Some suggestions for making this a great and fun 
experience for us all~

1. Please title your blog post "GROW YOUR BLOG".  Introduce yourself, tell us who you are and why your love to blog.  If your blog pertains to a specific interest or area - tell us all about that. In short - we would all like to know what drives you create your blog. 

2. There is nothing more dreaded than the "no reply blogger" status.  Simply go to your blogger profile page and add your email address. This will allow folks to reply directly back to you from your comment on their blog. We all want to be able to reply directly back to our visitors - especially if they ask a question-- it's so frustrating when that cant be done.

3.  Comment moderation spam filter -- ugh.  Most of us hate it!  Please consider turning it off for this event. This is NOT a requirement - but it will definitely make your visitors more likely to stay longer and leave a comment if they don't have to play with the robot.

4.  VERY IMPORTANT-- if you want more followers - be sure to add your FOLLOWER gadget to your sidebar! Please have it positioned prominently where we can all see it.  (you can find the Follower button in the gadget section of your design page.  Just click on it and position it on your sidebar.)

5.  You might want to consider adding your email address to your public profile and also somewhere on your sidebar.  Mine is listed in 2 places on my sidebar -- I want my readers to easily be able  to reach me.

6. Consider telling us your name.  Seriously. Folks want to be able to call you by name and to connect with you when they leave a comment.You might want to also consider posting a photo of yourself somewhere on your blog- that helps your readers to connect with you also.  My name is Vicki. (see photo at bottom of this post) .  See -- that was painless!  

7.  I know that many of you are artists (like me) and that your blogs are often about the things that you create. If your craft is genuinely a part of who you are -- then by all means share with us what you make!  BUT -- this event is not about selling our wares-- this event is to meet people and grow our blogs. Just have your website or ETSY shop listed on your blog sidebar-- if your visitors are interested in making a purchase -- they will go to the trouble to find your shop on the sidebar or to email you. 

8.  Sometimes when you go to a party -- you just feel like getting a new dress or outfit.  So-- if you would like to update the appearance of your blog -- a new blog header --or a whole new layout-- you might want to contact my friend Karen Valentine.  Karen has dedicated her entire blogging career to helping us all with our blogging concerns,questions, and also helping us create beautiful blogs.    Karen is my very own "go to person" when it comes to anything that I need help with relating to my blog. She has practically "adopted" me.  I know that she would be thrilled to help you with updating your blogs in preparation for all the company you will be receiving at this event!  

 SO -- please mark your calendars.  Make a poster - put it in your datebook-- place a reminder on your phone -- a sticky note on your computer--write the date on your bathroom mirror~~~ if you are a reader or follower of my blog, I won't let your forget! 

As I add blogs to the lists, I won't be sending emails to each of you this year telling you that you have been added in.  I just can't-- that took hours and hours of extra work.  So please, if participating in this event is important to you - please save the date, mark the date -- and refer to this post for all the info that  you need. 

*** please note~
After the party begins, I will wait 24 hours and then begin to visit the blogs-- those that do not have a specific "GROW YOUR BLOG" post, will have to be deleted from the lists. (I'm so sorry-- but I want this to be fair to everyone.)  So please do remember the date.

***I'm looking for a few volunteers to help me visit the blogs who are participating.  It's really easy -- all you have to do is visit the short list of blogs that I assign to you and report back to me which ones forgot to do a "Grow Your Blog" post.    If you are available to help me -- just send me an email 

*****UPDATE JANUARY 15,2014---
We now have over 500 blogs entered in the GYB event.  (I have tyled in blogs until my little fingers are stubby!) Please understand that I can not leave a comment on every blog to say that you are loaded in for the party.  If you have left a comment here on this post ---- you ARE loaded in for the party.  When the party date arrives -- if your blog is not listed -- email me, I can quickly fix it -- but if you left all of the requirred info on your comment -- you are already now loaded in for the party!  Wow -- 500 -- can you even believe it???

*****UPDATE JANUARY 24, 2014
I have completed the post for the party. If you left a comment here with your info --- link to your blog and your follower info --- than, rest assured you have been included for the party.  With now almost 600 blogs participating -- I am sorry, but I simply cannot come to each of your blogs and leave a comment here stating that you have been entered.  Comment #596 is the last blog to be included in the event.  The cut off date was January 15 --- but I have worked very, very hard to include those of you who have entered at the last minute.  I am now ready for tomorrow --- bring on the party!!   

This has been an incredible year - a year of great blessings and gratitude. The Pink Scarf Project is nearing completion.  All the scarves are here and are photographed.  They have traveled with me (and friends) on an incredible journey to places rich with the history of another era ~ places so beautiful that finding the right words to describe them are difficult. 

This photo was taken while on that journey.  A beautiful barn, sitting by the side of the road, inviting me to come and visit. You can see the rest of the barn photos in the "Pink Scarf Project" finale. The final posts have been divided into 3 parts -- so many scarves - I could not put them into just one or two posts! Watch for the first of the scarves to appear here in mid November~

Your compassion for the "Pink Scarf Project" has been nothing short of amazing.  Together, you all have helped to make this great big world~ a whole lot smaller, bringing us all together with your love and support for women braving breast cancer.  

My "Grow Your Blog" event is, once again, my gift to you all. A chance for you to expand your circle of friends, making your own personal world a bit smaller and filling it with new friendships and opportunities.  Blogging has changed my life and opened doors that I never thought possible. This is my way of opening those doors for you all~


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Introducing the Breast Cancer Awareness Nest

Pink is more than just the color 
        of feminine beauty and grace~

It is the symbol for 
bravery, courage, endurance, strength, 

In honor of everyone
who has ever been touched by Breast Cancer
in their lives~

whether it be a personal battle 
or watching those we love
struggle to survive~

Introducing my latest Limited Edition designer
Breast Cancer Awareness nest

this nest features the color
in a variety of textures and hues~
reminding us that Breast Cancer affects each of us
in ways that are both
deeply personal and unique.

In the making for almost a year,
this newest Designer nest
has truly been a labor of love.
This beautiful nest
is a collaborative effort of an amazing
group of talented artists
(all of whom have generous hearts)

Beginning here~
For the first time ever,
one of my nests features a removable brooch.
This beautiful felt brooch 
was designed specifically for this project 
by Paulette Racanelli.

Embroidered and beaded
by Paulette's patient and talented hands,
this brooch is easily removed from the nest
and can be worn 
as you desire. 

Each nest is adorned with a
"bouquet" of flowers and leaves
in a variety of

Crochet flowers
(seen on the right side of the bouquet)
were made by my dear friend
Janet Yost

Jan turned a basket of yarn
that once belonged to my Mother
into these precious creations.
They are so very special
to me.

The most exquisite embroidered
felt leaves
embellish each nest.
My friend Deb Hembree
(Mosaic Magpie)
created each little felt leaf 
with love and added her special touch
of embroidery and beading.
Each leaf is a unique
of beads and stitches.
Deb has been involved with
every Designer nest
that I have ever made.
She is the most generous of souls.

These precious little pottery leaves
were handmade by my 
amazingly talented friend
Julie Whitmore
(Julie Whitmore Pottery) 
Julie's handmade pottery pieces
are exquisite --
these little leaves are such
a beautiful addition to the nests.
as in nature
no two leaves are alike,
each is a totally unique

This beautiful little handmade
and painted bird 
was created specifically for this nest
by Kylie Parry
(Kylie Parry Studios)
The little bird bears the
word "HOPE"
for all of us to see -- 
a remembrance of the HOPE
that we all have that a cure will be found
for this disease in our lifetime. 
(Kylie worked so very hard to finish
these little birds in time --  just before she gave birth 
to a beautiful little baby boy!)

Each nest is encircled with a 
hand painted silk chiffon scarf
created especially for this project by
Brenda Sipe Donahue. 
Brenda took my dream idea
of a miniature "Pink Scarf"
and brought it to life beautifully
in these tiny little creations.
Each little scarf is uniquely painted -
no two are alike.
They each have the Breast Cancer Awareness
logo painted on the end of the scarf.
They are simply stunning.

These beautiful paper beads
 were created by
Carrie Petrocelli 
Carrie created these gorgeous beads from
Breast Cancer Awareness 
that I had saved from my assortment of
knitting magazines 
throughout the
these little beads are absolutely gorgeous~
glittery, shimmery,

You know, 
I can not create these nests on my own.
These projects have become
 much to large for my
busy little hands.
In addition to the amazingly talented
artists who contribute their own 
special creations~
are the wonderful talents 
of my best friend Mary.
She is my dearest friend,
my strongest supporter,
and the greatest listener
when it comes to my "nesting" ideas.
She devotes so much time and talent to these
special charitable ventures.
She never says no.
(I love her for that!)
She is
always ready and willing to help
 in anyway possible
to make my "nesting"
dreams come

Mary's special contributions
to these nests are her
stunning beaded
Using an assortment of paper beads,
 swarovski crystals, 
and vintage beads
she creates magic  

Mary also added beading embellishments
to the little crochet flowers 
 created by my friend 

Every embellishment on these nests
was created by hand -
with love,
by so many talented artists
for this
very special project.

My assortment of yarns
for these nests was one of the most
exquisite that I have ever used. 
Pink yarns in such a beautiful
arrangement of textures.
The art of combining them all together
in this nest
was truly a labor of love for me.

Tucked inside-
beautiful treasures!
three little handmade eggs
created by 
Petite Michelle Louise.
My nests are not complete
until Michelle's
precious little creations
are tenderly nestled
deep inside the 

The charitable proceeds from these nests
will be donated to the
Susan G. Komen foundation.

If you are on the waiting list for these exquisite nests~
you will find them listed in my ETSY shop 
ready for your purchase now. 
The link to my ETSY shop is
You will find the nests listed in sections
according to your last name.  
Just click on the section according to the first letter 
of your last name.

Tucked inside each box
when your nest is mailed to  you~
will be the latest in Breast Cancer Awareness
provided to you by the
Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Also tucked in side the box when it arrives
is a little gift from me~
A wearable version of the little scarf 
that encircles the nest.

Handpainted by Brenda Sipe Donahue,
this beautiful
 one of a kind scarf,
is my very special gift to each of you 
who purchased one of these
Breast Cancer Awareness

Your nests will arrive
in the most beautiful
My friend Sue Kosec
has created 
the lovely hand stamped
tissue paper
and glittery,shimmery bird tags.
perfect compliments
for the nest
that is packaged inside.

These little tags will be
treasured keepsake items as well.

I want you all to know that I have never been
 as emotionally attached to a project as I have this one.
Your letters and emails have touched my heart
and often brought me to tears.  
Reading the stories of your own personal
connections to Breast Cancer~
your loved ones,
your dear friends,
your neighbors,
your own personal battle with the disease-
Hundreds of emails
and all of your stories speak of the
love and support that you received
or have given to those
who have been affected by this disease.
So many of you requested these 
special nests.
My heart broke to have to tell you
that they were already reserved. 
My stance has always been that I do not repeat 
a design. 
But -- this is different.
I hope someday
to create another
 Breast Cancer Awareness nest~
a new design~
for this heartfelt cause.
I promise.

Some updates~
watch for the finale of the
Pink Scarf Project
to be posted early November!
(I've been taking photos for the last several days!
So many scarves have arrived here at the last moment -
the finale will be posted in 2 parts!)
Your scarves were photographed
in the most incredibly
(You just wait!)
Your latest scarf donations
(alreaady photographed and shown here on my blog)
have now been added my 
the "Pink Scarf Project"
Pinterest Board.
I will announce the winners of the
Breast Cancer Awareness
inspirational mini album
and the very special
Breast Cancer Awareness wrap
that I designed for this project.
These will be given away
in the Finale post
 for the
Pink Scarf Project.
(if you would like a Breast Cancer Awareness
 wrap of your very own,
you can find one listed just now
in my etsy shop) 

Thank you for allowing me to create this special nest
in honor of everyone who has ever been touched 
by this miserable and life changing 
You have shared your stories 
and I know what this nest means to you
and those you love.
I am humbled that I
could create something
that would touch your hearts
so much

I will be back soon with all the info that you need to know about this~