I win the tech race! My blog is now on my own domain!

Well ... actually time conquered the technology. I have successfully redirected my blog to my new domain http://www.solsistershandbags.com! Yeah!

It was pretty easy following Blogger's directions. There was even a click through to tell me exactly how to update my cname records at GoDaddy, where I bought the domain. I just hadn't waited long enough for the new cname record to update all the DNS servers before I tried the redirect. So if you want to do this... do the cname record, then wait 48 hours for it to take effect before you try the redirect from the blogger dashboard.

A little thank you needs to go out to http://twitter.com/ghozali who generously offer his help to solve the issue. Tweeps are awesome!

A few weeks back I did a trade with Yvonne of Artistic Glass Impressions by Yvonne. This is our second trade and we've both been so pleased with each others items. Here's what Yvonne had to say about her new Verano Messenger Bag.

These talented artists make the most amazing bags. They are truly works of art. I get stopped all the time with my bag. I am thrilled to have another one to add to my growing collection!

Thank Yvonne and I'm glad you like the bag! For my part, my mom was thrilled with the green glass necklace I presented her for her birthday.

Here's a few other treasures from Yvonne's shop.

9:01 AM

domain hiccups

I am trying to move my blog over to my own domain name and having a few issues ... so if you visited last night and got a godaddy page.. I'm sorry. Oh, the technical beats do not care for me!

President Obama made many promises on the campaign trail and on this, his 100th day in office, lots of folks are looking back on what he's done to fulfill or abandon those promises.

He's kept one this week that really speaks to me. Last week, he signed the National Service Act. You will all remember how I have been trying hard to help my daughter pick up the value of community service and micro philanthropy. This act makes it much more possible for all Americans to give time to causes they care about by providing small financial incentives. Why should we pay people to volunteer? When you make minimum wage, it's a lot harder to work a day(s) for free, even in service to a cause that you care about, and still put food on your table. No one is ever going to get rich feeding the homeless, but these incentives will make it more possible for a single mom to take a few days a year to give her time and set and example for her children to live up to. It will also allow young people who have enthusiasm and drive to help people to resist the lure of lucrative careers and maybe take a detour into making the world a better place. Older Americans, rich with experience and caring but maybe not money, can now gift their grandchildren with scholarships earned with their community service.

It's a building block to make a better society by helping people remember that we are all in this together and that we each have to take responsibility for the places we live and make them better. Perhaps it might even teach some wisdom and avoid the next crash?

Our local public radio station KNPR has been doing a bang up job of covering the massive effects of living in ground zero of the foreclosure crisis. In some Las Vegas neighborhoods EVERY OTHER HOUSE is empty or on the way to foreclosure. In my neighborhood, there are at least 15 homes for sale or empty on just my street. A few weeks ago, someone who was looking at the property across the street told me it was on the market, bank-owned, for $127,900. The house was over $400,000 new! My house in Summerlin that was foreclosed on sold recently for $114,400. The last time I refinanced it, it was valued at $280,000. These are not exceptions. Most houses in Vegas have lost over 25% - 50% value from mid 2007 prices. No bank is going to re-fi a loan that is underwater like that. Even if you bank does offer a re-work of the mortgage, the process is so slow, tedious and CONFUSING. It can also hold nasty surprises like sky-high fees that make your payment HIGHER than it was before.

I recently wrote in to State of Nevada with an idea for a future show on how to deal with the fallout once you take the red pill. For a number of reasons, I walked away from my home of ten years and let it go to foreclosure. Don't get me wrong. I tried numerous things to salvage the situation - short sale, refinance, workout, deed in lieu of trust, $1500 in attorney fees to consult on the type of mortgage I had. It was not an easy decision. I have worked very hard FOR YEARS to recover from some poor credit decisions in my youth and had gotten my score up into the high 600's/low 700's. I knew this would destroy all that hard work and follow me for years, but none of the options I tired were successful. This just goes to show, getting your home foreclosed on in these current times doesn't make you a deadbeat. If you owe $150,000 more than it's worth and can't short sale, in all honesty, you have very few options.

So now, I've been looking everywhere for good information on what I should do now that I am on the other side of foreclosure. Do I HAVE to file bankruptcy? Just how long does the bank have to file judgment against me? What if they don't? How does this affect my otherwise good credit? The show's host and producer have both contacted me and I'll probably be on the show next week if we can work out scheduling around my evening photoshop class. I hope my experiences and my story can help others find answers and get their life back on track.

In the meantime, I was only too happy to agree when the station manager emailed and asked if they could use a part of my comments on their Hope@Home website, a resource guide for Las Vegas residents who are in foreclosure, facing foreclosure or who have been foreclosed upon.

Note: If you are having trouble getting a grip on this crisis, I encourage you to find your local public radio station and tune in or go visit Planet Money and This American Life for great stories on the unfolding crisis.

See the comment from Krystal in N. Las Vegas in the blue box...yep, that's yours truly!

So anyone have any info they want to share for those of us in the "red pill" club?

11:02 AM

Visible Dreams

I just saw this article in the LA Times about an unlikely jeweler.

Lee Kwan-young, an amateur artist who works for a public relations firm in Seoul, designed jewelry using the sound waves of Barack Obama saying the word "hope." The set includes a diamond- and pearl-studded necklace, earrings and brooch for first lady Michelle Obama and cuff links and a necktie pin for the president.

He is moving diplomatic mountains to try to get the jewels to the Obamas. You can't help but admire his determination and his vision. I think his jewels are lovely and such an elegant way to preserve the message of hope.

photo by LA TIMES

Go one over to Blockhead Radio's Artisan challenge and widen my lead a bit would you? My Kinchasa Earth and Sea Micro Messenger bag is leading the category, but just by a few votes.

11:45 AM

Audrey's bag

I drew Audrey herself in Audrey's birthday bag swap and I just finished her bag a few minutes ago. She said she likes green and her shop seems to be very country feeling as are the bags she makes. So I choose a nice dusty, olive green as my main color and incorporated a a little floral, too. There is also a piece of fabric I got from a German friend several years ago and most of the big piece I cut off a table cloth (the handle) to make it fit my table. It happened to match perfectly!

The rest of the bag exterior is patchwork all over. The inside is a solid dusty green with a zipper pocket and a regular pocket in the basket weave fabric from Germany. It has a magnetic snap in antiqued brass to match the rectangular D rings on the handle. Crowing the bag is a handmade ceramic button from BeadFreaky. In the background you can see the issue of the magazine this pattern came from.Overall I am pleased with the bag, but I think the bottom is a little wide. I hope Audrey likes it, too.

I teach several classes at my local university's ed. outreach department. For the fall semester, I am putting together a 2 day workshop for those who want to start a blog - Blogging for Beginners.

We'll cover what a blog is, how it is different from a website, setting it up here on the blogger platform, choosing a template, changing it a bit, how to make a post, link images and text and embed video.

Then in the next class, we'll cover the readership goals of your blog - how to set them and how to achieve them. How to write good posts, posting frequency, commenting on other blogs, getting your readers engaged, advertising your blog and so on. Sounds fairly useful so far, but it has just occurred to me that I am missing something here... the collected wisdom of ALL OF YOU, my friends here in the blogosphere!

Broadcast your blogging tips to newbies!

If you were brand new blogging and took this workshop over two Saturdays with other folks who were similarly inexperienced.. what would you want the instructor to cover given the gift of hindsight regarding what you know now that you have been at it for some time. I need to turn this in by May 1st, so please.. post away!

9:06 AM

A Great Bag!

Check out this incredible orange bag I received in Audrey's birthday bag swap. It came from Adel of UPPERCASE COMMA. The bag was made by Cuddle Monstre. Adel's note says it was her first sale and I am pleased to be the new owner of such a neat bag! I love the vivid contrast of the orange bird with the black and white pirate stripe interior. What a fun bag! I am trying very hard to limit my plastic bag use and take reuseables to the store, so this one will fit right in! Thanks Adel!

while we're talking about Adel, look at this great handmade fishing game from Adel's store. How cute would this be as a gift for a toddler's birthday?

9:02 PM

Bad news today

My cousin, Blake Strebel (19), son of my Aunt Sue and Uncle Tim, was killed last night when his car was t-boned by a Caddy driven by a 17 year old fleeing from the police after a suspected home break-in earlier in the day. The car crashed into Blake and his friend Derek's car when it ran a red light. The impact killed both of them, but the two suspects lived. This follows the death last year of my Uncle Scott (a Utah police officer), from a sudden heart attack during a routine traffic stop.

My heart goes out to my family and I sincerely hope this is the last death they have to mourn for some time. My uncle Tim looks so calm in the video. I don't know that I could be that calm. Although I cannot attend the services, I hope my aunt and uncle are ok and I grieve for Blake's sister's and brothers and my grandparents. This is a lot for them to deal with, but I know my family and they will forgive.

I just got these maplewood buttons from LovingleeCrafted. They were in my button and bead post last week. Holly says they make AWESOME Other Mother eyes (a lá Coraline). The buttons are so light, but so beautifully detailed. The elegant trees are burnt into the wood.

The one thing I was surpised by was how BIG they are. In the seller's photos, no scale reference was given, so I really thought these were about an 1" round. The description also doesn't list a size. As you can see, they are just about twice as big as I thought. This isn't a bad thing, but it does serve as a reminder that adding a familiar object to your photos for scale in addition to providing measurements in your text can be very helpful for buyers to picture the actual size of something. The same was true of the great buttons I got from Beadfreaky the other day. They were also about half again as big as the picture made me think they were.

Regardless of the size surprise, I am really delighted with both of these purchases and the seller's fast shipping and wonderful customer service.

Please wander over and cast a vote for my Kinchasa Earth and Sea Micro Messenger bag in this week's Artisan Challenge at Blockhead Radio.

My mother turns 65 today and she requested a medium messenger bag made from fabrics she brought back from Hawaii last year. So here it is, complete with a tiny tiki. Lots of pockets, a nice adjustable strap and a stiff plastic bottom with little brad feet.

UPDATE: She was utterly delighted and loves all the pockets and the tiki man. Holly was quick to point out that the tiki had a "tiki" between his legs. ahh.. puberty arrives.

It's Sunday and that means it's time to get Carried Away with one of my fellow bag makers from Carried Away: the Etsy Bagmakers Team. My daughter Holly was in charge of selection today and she has picked Desiree of Hamncheezer. Desiree creates unique and colorful patchwork bags. Her quilting background is obvious and some of her quilts are for sale in her etsy shop , along with these great bags.

Pretty Princess Little Cotton Quilted Bag/Purse filled with Goodies - Ready-made gift

Desiree is a stay at home mom with two great young kids. She likes to read and knit as well as sew. She says she recently taken up yarn spinning as well. Wow, how does she find time?

Recycled Jeans Denim Purse with Chucks hightop Peace sign Rhinestone embellishment

Desiree also likes to recycle, and makes most scrap quilts and bags. She also rescues things, like these jeans.

Ye Olde Book or Laptop Bag Tote OOAK SHAKESPEARE portriat handdyed fabric

And look at this Shakespere tote! Any lover of the bard would be mad for it!

In addition to her etsy shop, Desiress bags are also available in her home town Clinton, TN at the Artisan Studio on Market Street.

Visit Desiree's blog or see Desiree's online photo album of baby quilts, big quilts and handbags at Flickr.

Desiree is also a member of the CAST and Quiltsy etsy teams.

8:41 PM


I got a great package today from Christine of BeadFreaky. You may remember her from my button and bead post last week. I liked her buttons so much, I bought the set I featured. Then we got talking and I traded her Thessaly for an assortment of ceramic hand made buttons. OH, wow! oh wow! Look at all these lovely works of art! One of the green ones (top right, next to the purple dragon fly) with the tree is going on to Audrey's bag for her birthday bag swap.

I also got these two beautiful rust buttons (on the cream cards) from Just Puff. There are a matte finish ceramic with deep etched lines. The rustic, earthy look of them is crying out to be on one of my batik bags.

Then my sister sent me these gorgeous lamp worked glass buttons. The maker is a mystery, but the beauty is undeniable. She's been sending me little gifts to thank me for all the work I have been doing on her site.

Joshua Klein: The amazing intelligence of crows from TED.com

Have you ever considered looking at annoyance from another angel? This guy did ... and you'll be surprised at what he found.

4:53 PM

Easter in Vegas

It was a lovely sunny day and we went over to my mom's. Here's Holy on the patio showing off her new mommy-made spring twirl skirt while blowing bubbles from her Easter basket.

And here she is at the Dog show with Aunt Norah. We had a nice time watching the agility trials and playing frisbee in the grass.

On Saturday we dyed Easter eggs. My boyfriend got into the act and decided to make a little statement with his eggs. Silly man.

I know this little pot of green goop doesn't look like the answer to anyone's prayers, but if you have dry skin ... this stuff is MAGICAL! I live in Las Vegas, maybe one of the driest civilized places on earth, and my hands suffer, especially my cuticles. I am always getting little hard hang nails and no matter how much lotion I put on, there they are again.. all dry and flaky looking. So a while back, I traded Ami for some of this and her homemade roots chai tea. She got 4 little "necessity" zip pouches in her favorite colors. Both products have wildly outstripped my expectations.

So what is this stuff? It's Green Goodness All-Over Balm from etsy seller Monamiga. Ami lives up north in a redwood forest and she makes this from scratch. It's rich and deeply hydrating, but absorbs so fast. And the smell .... like fresh green things after a good rain. I use it on my hands and feet nightly and for the first time I can remember, my hands are not CRYING for moisture everytime I look down. My feet also love it! I bet you can imagine how dry they are after a summer in flip flops and sandals or in the winter with the heater sucking all the moisture out of the indoor air. Even my boyfriend, skeptic of all things natural, has started to ask for some for the callus on his foot.

I'll let Ami explain a little further what's in the green goop:

This balm is not quite salve, not quite cream, but all goodness. Made green by the avocado oil, and lady's mantle infusion (lady's mantle is said to speed the healing of skin), this butter has got you covered.

Whether you want to use it as a traditional hydrant, cuticle cream, gardening-hands softner, massage lotion, foot balm, hair pomade, or winter rash preventer.... it doesn't matter.... it will work for you.

In addition to being an excellent emolliant, it also smells wonderful, with a complex array of floral waters and essential oils - the dominant fragrance being cinnamon and lavender.

Containing essential oils of Lavender, Cinnamon, Vetiver, Orange, Palmarosa, Sandalwood, Rose attar, Cedarwood, Marjoram, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, and Patchouli. Also contains Rose Geranium Floral Water

The formula goes on thick and soaks in quick! This is an all natural product with no fragrance oils or synthetic parabens or polymers.

Don't you love it when you find a product that is BETTER than you expected? Try Ami's green goddess balm. You won't be disappointed. The 4oz. size comes in old fashioned jelly canning jars. Which just goes to show, fancy wrappings are nice, but it's what INSIDE that counts.

I been cleaning up a bit and came across some orphan quilt blocks this week that I've just repurposed into bags.

Typhoon was made from an odd 12" storm at Sea block. It was paper pieced from the pattern at Quilter's Cache. This is such a fun way to create complex blocks. No finicky points to match, no fussy shapes to cut. Check out Marcia's easy instructions.

It's cool colors remind you of beach holidays and summer afternoons. Roomy with an outside pocket and a big zippered inside pocket, it even has a key hook so you don't spend time hunting for lost keys. Long, comfortable shoulder straps and a fun two color lining finish off this seaside treasure. Typhoon measures 12" x 12" and the handles are about 14" from the top of the bag to the apex for easy over the shoulder wear.

Typhoon qualifies for the Time for Spring Giveaway. Be the first person to make a purchase of $20 or more from my shop and you'll get Daphne the clock bag FREE.

Angel Fish uses up several 9 patch fish and water blocks I had from when my old quilt group was learning another way to make these. I can't remember whose method it was. Anyway, the bag features a deep hand dyed sea blue from my brother Benjammin' for the fishies to swim in. He very rarely makes one color fabrics like this. Usually it's much more elaborate tye dye tapestries or velvet.

It's just the size for those who like to travel light with just keys, cards, cash and a phone. 3 fun plastic fish buttons school over the flap on this undersea wonder. Angel measures 6" wide x 8.5" high. Lined in sky blue, no interior pockets.

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