Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wood Framed Tile Art

Good Saturday Afternoon Everyone!

I hope you have finished your Christmas shopping by now.  If not, good luck!  It can be crazy out there in malls and shopping centers!

Some of you may have visited my shop and saw that I offer a few framed pieces of tile art.  I have had a few of my 4" (coaster) tiles offered in frames and one of my 8" (trivet) tiles framed and for sale.

The other day I received a shipment of frames for the 4" tiles in alderwood, black, rosewood, and walnut (all shown below).  The rosewood is very much like a cherry finish.  Any of my coaster designs can go into any one of these frames.  This is a really an awesome way to customize a gift for someone else or for yourself.  I advise choosing the coaster tile first, then choose a frame to go with it.  I am really excited about this option and hope you are too.  Framed tile art is an excellent gift for weddings, anniversaries, house warming, new job, or graduation.

When I frame one of the tiles it is permanently affixed to the tile.  It is sturdily affixed and not removable.  The total cost for this wood framed tile art is $20.00.



They are ready to hang or you may display it on an easel.  I have black and bronze metal easels for sale if you would like one.  They are $8.00.

At the moment I am updating my Etsy shop to reflect this option.  If there is a tile (coaster) you want to order and have it framed but the option is not available yet for that listing, just let me know.  I can update that listing for you right away so you can place your order.

Here are 3 links to some I have premade with 4" coaster tile.  These are ready to ship.



Here is a link with an 8" trivet tile and it is ready to ship as well.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/227488070/fr-walnut-t-1034-monarch-butterfly?ref=shop_home_active_5

Please allow time when ordering for me to put together your tile and the frame you choose.  If I have the frame in stock it will be ready to ship in about 2-4 days.  If I have to order it, please allow 10-14 days for it to ship.

I look forward to hearing from you on this new endeavor!

God Bless,
Cindy

www.customcoastersbycindy.com
https://www.facebook.com/CustomCoastersByCindy
www.summerfieldchantilly.com
https://www.facebook.com/SummerfieldChantilly

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What People Want, Part 2


What People Want, Part 2

The Meat of the Matter

Last time I wrote here I wrote about how people want to know someone cares; they want to feel as though they belong.  I was reminded of that when I read a Facebook post at Girlfriends In God.  I was reminded that it’s not only true concerning our friends and extended family but those right under our own roof.  I believe it’s a need that is planted by God in our hearts so that we would seek Him out.  Want to read more about it?  Then follow this link to read more …. http://girlfriendsingod.com/finding-perfect-love-2/

That need for Jesus was the whole reason behind Christmas as well.  He didn’t come just so we would have a reason for giving each other gifts and to attend (or host) a multitude of parties.  Jesus came to extend that eternal hand of God down to man.  You can read more at http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/real-meaning-christmas.

 


Putting it Into Practice

So if people really want to know they matter to others including their own family, how do we carry that out?  As I mentioned in my last post it’s about paying it forward.  I know some people will respond that they are so financially hindered right now that they cannot even pay attention.  Paying it forward is not about just spending money.  It is often more meaningful to pay attention to those around us.  It also does not mean that we have to pay it forward every minute of the day.  Just make it meaningful when you do it.

All too often, we pay attention to those around us at Christmas.  Then as the new year approaches our attention span gets short and our focus moves on to something else.  Here are some ideas to pay it forward year round and it doesn’t take much extra effort …..

Drive Thru Difference

LifeSongs Radio in New Orleans is promoting the Drive Thru Difference.  When you are in your favorite drive through, pay for the order in line behind you.  They have a printable you can download and print it for free.  You get to remain anonymous and get to pay it forward all in one easy step!  I have heard of people doing this and the “pay it forward” lasted for over 50 vehicles!  How awesome is that?!  Here is a link to learn more about it and get the printable.  http://www.lifesongs.com/lifesongs-drive-thru-difference




Caroling Event

Why not invite some friends an evening of Christmas caroling or to a Christmas Eve service?  It is free, fun and blesses those who hear your caroling!  It is easy enough to get lyrics to songs online so that everyone can sing along.  Then everyone can go back to one of the caroler’s homes and have hot chocolate.  All the carolers can contribute to the hot chocolate social afterwards.

God bless,

Cindy

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What People Want


Random Thoughts

I have realized recently that it has been a long time since I have blogged.  I am itching to get back to it so here is my first effort, hoping it can hold the average person’s attention to the end.  <smile>

Family/Community Report
Our family has had a nice spring, summer, and fall.  We have spent time around the house, working, and just taking care of projects that need attention.  It is always a good hurricane season when we get through it without any storms.  Hurricane season runs from June 1-November 30.  August and September are typically the busiest months.  We were blessed when we don’t have to deal with a storm.

The economy here is taking a hit so that has a lot of people losing jobs and facing unemployment lines.  It is affecting business owners in many ways.  They are dealing with fewer sales, less income, possibly having to lay off employees, and so on.  Business owners that truly care about their employees really hate the idea of having to lay off someone.  They have often become like family so it’s even harder.  Please pray for south Louisiana as we get through these rough times.  As usual, the tough economic times have hit us a little later than most of the country so we have begun to feel the pressure the last few months.

My dad had surgery and I was fortunate enough to get to spend time with him while he recuperated.  We were able to spend quantity and quality time together.  As my dad gets older, it is more and more important to me to do just that.

Our daughter had a procedure this fall.  It did not go as expected and we all were very disappointed.  Now we have to back up and punt.  We know God has it under control but looking at it from this side is still hard.  We are unsure what the future holds and I think that is the most upsetting part.  We are looking to the future with the doctors and God to see what we should do next.


Craft Show Report
Last calendar year we did 12 shows, evenly split between the spring and the fall.  This year we applied to fewer shows.  Six show organizers sent out acceptance letters to us.  One show put us on the wait list.  As it turns out it was for the best we did not make the first cut in that one show that put us on the wait list.  It turns out I was caring for my dad during that time.  Our shows were evenly split between the spring and the fall.  I did have to cancel one show due to health matters in the family.

The 2 shows we did this fall ended up being rain outs.  The first show was a 2 day show at Poche Plantation.  The weather was rainy and it all started on Saturday, and it was predicted for Sunday as well with flash floods predicted in some places. 
Our other fall show was at Southdown Marketplace at Southdown Museum and Plantation.  This one day show was a rain out as well.  It was the worst attendance we have seen at Southdown.  But … we got to meet some new art friends and see some old ones as well.  So it was not a total loss! <vbg>

We have one craft show friend from the road that we have not seen since the spring.  She still does shows but we are just not at the same ones.  We keep in touch on the phone and on Facebook and can pick up where we left off the last time.  Everyone needs at least one friend like that, don’t you think? 
We are looking at the spring but are making only tentative plans.  We want to do shows but we also know that we need to plan our daughter’s care, which may involve some medical things this spring.

2nd Annual Trunk Sale
I just completed my 2nd Annual Trunk Sale on Tuesday, December 1.  Despite the lagging economy, I think I did pretty well.  This year’s sale was not quite as good as last year but better than expected.  My plan is to continue my Annual Trunk Sale and help people have a calm, stress free shopping experience where they can purchase handmade quality items.

What I am Learning ... People Want to Know Someone Cares
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  I have seen this oft-repeated quote attributed to John Maxwell, Teddy Roosevelt and the ever famous, Anonymous.  I suppose it does not matter who first said or wrote this quote, it is still true.  Whether people admit it or not, they want to know someone cares.  I find this is true in personal and work relationships.
I remember from that old TV series, Cheers, the theme song referred to “everyone knows your name.”  While I think bars are a pretty lousy place to try to build real relationships, the theme song lyrics were pretty spot on.  Everyone wants to be known by someone, we want to know someone cares.

I am reminded of this sentiment, which is also truth, during this Christmas season.  We are all making plans for Christmas parties, caroling, charitable events, and so on.  Are making plans to get to know someone new on a personal level?  Are we trying to make REAL connections?  Are our interactions only on the superficial level?  It is super easy to feel involved when we quickly drop coins in a red bucket or make a quick drop off to a food bank that is already on our way.  We make a mad dash in and out, and then we are quick to forget about a personal interaction or trying to build a relationship.

I, for one, am feeling the pull to get involved more with people.  I want to spend more time getting to know the people already in my life but also bring in a few more.  KWIM?  Maybe it’s my age but I am wanting to go past the superficial level of conversation.  I want more than the typical, “Hi, how are you?” We often say that in passing, never giving time for real reflection or interaction between the “asker” and the “answerer”.  Do we really want to hear more than “I’m fine. How are you?”  Maybe it’s time we make time to hear the real, full answer.
This is the perfect time of year to not only tell someone we care but show it.  How about you?  How will you show someone you care this Christmas season?  Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section below.

God bless,
Cindy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Tuesday Everyone!!!

We had that awesome arts and crafts show this past weekend and now I need to get busy crafting again.   I need to build up my stock for our next show.  Where will we be next?  I am glad you asked.  We will be at Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches, LA in April.  If you live in that area or plan on coming through town, I hope you’ll stop by the arts and crafts event at Melrose.  The two photos included here are of Melrose.




I love the quote below when it comes to crafting.  You know why?  Because most of my work is IMperfect.  I like it that way.  I have heard to artists and crafters who purposely place an imperfection in their pieces.  (Or if it's done accidentally, they just leave it.)  Well let me tell you ... mine will be imperfect just because there is an imperfect person making it!



Now, what some people call an imperfection is just simply a distressed effect.  I love distressing the crafts I work on.  I like the shadowing and smudged, worn look it gives things.  To me it gives those things I love some character.  I love the look of corners that are rounded, edges that have lost their color, areas around knobs or pulls that have nicks and worn places from all the years of love and use.  This is why you’ll see things in my Etsy shop or in our craft show booth with distressed edges.  I remember when my dfil and dh worked on staining an unfinished trunk.  They did a beautiful job staining it.  After they were done, I wanted to get a chain out and go after the trunk with it.  Or, I wanted to go after the edges with some sand paper to give it a worn look,  Well, I haven't done it yet but I think I will one day.  I just can't bring myself to do it *quite* yet!  One day, one day.



This makes me think about how we as people are often distressed, but distressed people is not a good thing like distressed furniture an d├ęcor.  Sure, we are all imperfect but distress is not something we want in our life.  We don’t want those sandpaper days (or people) who wear on us and make us feel discouraged or dragged down at the end of the day.  However, it is often our imperfect state that leads to the distress.  Since we can’t live in perfection situations and things people say leave us feeling troubled.  Sometimes it’s hard to leave all the difficulty behind.  However, there is one who will carry it for us, IF we would only turn it over to Him.  Jesus says in Matthew 11:29-30:
28 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Place my yoke[a] over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves 30 because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”



Are you feeling distressed and stressed?  Want to find a place of rest?  You can find it with the One who will take over your load.  How about a fresh start this week?  Easter is the perfect time to start over.  First Baptist Church of Houma will offer 3 services each weekend starting Easter weekend on Saturday at  6:00 PM and Sunday at 9:00 and 10:30 AM.  If you would like someone to pray for you, you can just leave your name in the comments below or email me at customcoastersbycindy@comcast.net.

My family and I hope we’ll see you down the road or around town in Houma, LA.  Let us know how we can serve you with our products.

God bless,

Cindy

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pay It Forward

Happy Monday Evening to My Friends,

>> hum, um, walking around--dh in the den with me, piddling around
>> hum, beep, beep--dd in the kitchen, heating a snack in the microwave
>> the hum of clothes tumbling in the dryer


These are a few of the sounds of life at home.  Sounds that help me remember what is important to me … the little things, my husband, my daughter, a routine, a home to live in, and so much more.  My life as I know it is simple, and awesome and amazing at the same time.  I have family that loves me, a home that shelters me from the storms outside—real and imagined, trival and colossal, Mardi Gras or infuriatingly slow drivers on a normal day.  LOL  We have a refrigerator with food and beverages in it, vehicles that are gassed up, and clothes appropriate for our mild winters and summer days that feel as thick as gumbo.

What makes life awesome is that I get to do something I love …. My crafting.  I love getting my hands dirty and inked up with my solvent ink while making my coasters, trivets, and plaques.  It is as fun as can be.  Of course, the ink does not come off easily and I can look like a kid who has been playing with sharpies or magic markers!  <smile>


In the process of making and selling my wares is that I get to meet some amazing people.  Some I have met in person and some online.  Today I got some technical advice on photographing my products from a professional photographer/editor.  We have never met in person but met each other from a forum we are on for artists and crafters.  This phone consultation was free but worth the time to make the photos look better.  I am no “photographer” by any means.  When I have taken photos, they are merely pictures to remember events like vacation or people who are special to my family and me.  It amazes me that people currently willingly give time to help a newbie when they could easily charge an hourly rate.

Some say, “You get what you pay for.”  Others say, “Free is good”.  Sometimes you get more than you pay for and free is not only good but amazing!  Like in my case today when I got free advice that is not only good, but also amazingly helpful.  It is a good thing to live with open hands and share our wealth of information or talents that God has given us.  I do not mean open hands ready to take, take, take from others but to give back or pay it forward.  We are all given gifts to share with others as my friend did today.


God’s Word says:
The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
    the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.  Proverbs 11:24 (The Message)

This Proverb reminds me that I have things to share with others too.  If I want to remain open to what God wants me to do, I am to remain open to God and share the insights and talents God has blessed me with.  Now that I think about it, many people have invested in me and I have not always appreciated what they have done.  Sometimes I have glossed over their investment in me.  Other times I’ve dismissed their investment because I didn’t think I had time for them at the moment.  Sometimes I thought I knew it all already.  How sad on my part.

I have something coming up where I can bless someone and will use that situation to do so.  I don’t know who the end recipient will be got God does and that is all that matters.  It is one small step in paying it forward.

Now that Lent is upon us, what are some ways you can pay it forward?  Who can you help along your way?  Are you willing to start this new habit during Lent and then extend it beyond that 6-week period?

If you find a way to bless others and pay it forward I'd love to hear your story!

God bless,
Cindy

Monday, February 9, 2015

Welcome 2015! An Update

Hello Friends!

I am so happy to be coming to you this afternoon via my blog.  My blog … it has been longer than I remembered since I last posted.  I am sorry it has been so long but that means I have more to fill you in on, right?  :D

Let’s see, the last time I wrote in we were in the middle of that awful New Orleans Saint season.  What can I say except that I am glad that is over?  As we Saints fans like to say, “There is always next year.”

We were also in the middle of the fall craft show season.  At Custom Coasters by Cindy, we had some good shows.  Of course, we had a good turnout at Southdown Marketplace here in Houma.  I believe that was our best show yet.



Shadows on the Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana was a great show as well.  I got to see an old friend from childhood.  It was great to reconnect and hopefully we can get together soon.  Between work for both of us and distance, it will be a challenge but it would be worth it.


Of course, not all craft shows go off without a hitch.  We had one that got off to a rocky start.  Let me back up a minute and give a brief history.  Back in the summer when we were on hiatus from craft shows for the season, we had reworked our booth.  We obtained totally new “fixtures” for out booth.  We put together a pipe and drape system that we can use for our booth with our without the tent.  Our fixtures include floor length black professional table covers and honey colored 6-foot drapes.  Dh is so handy and got this design thing down in a heartbeat.  Of course, I picked the colors.  A girl’s gotta have her part in the decorating, right?



So we go with our new set up to our fall shows.  We got really great reviews from customers, family and friends alike.  Our confidence is riding high.  Then we show up at “Show X” and begin setting up.  After we put up our pipe and drape and began setting up tables and merchandise, the show organizer came over to our booth.  She asked us to removed our pipe and drape system.  I let her know that the rules and guidelines did not address this and that it was not prohibited.  Long story short, we removed part of it but not all.  When other artists and crafters at Show X realized we had removed part of our set up, they asked why?  When we told them, everyone to a person was shocked and appalled that we were asked to do this.

So why am I writing all this?  For most people attending craft shows as a shopper, you have no idea the heart, work, and sweat that go into just getting into a show, then to get set up.  I know I had no idea.  As a shopper, it was all about the fun and seeing new cute things to buy.  Many artists get up before dawn and/or drive in the day before an event.  Then he or she spends 2+ hours setting up for the event before the public is allowed to enter.  At some shows each vendor’s booth must be inspected by the organizer to know their products match what is on the application for the show.  Then tear down starts as soon as the show closes and can go on for 2-3 hours.  After tear down comes the commute home.

When you go to a show and see a product you really like, or even a booth that you like, please let the artist or crafter know.  It can really make his or her day.  Even if you cannot buy from them, the positive encouragement goes a long way.




At this year’s shows, we were able to reconnect with many “roadie friends” who have booths at many of the same shows.  There are a few that live close enough that we get to see them in between.  I have a roadie friend who I keep in contact with by phone.  We may not talk every week, sometimes weeks may go by in between calls.  However, when we get on the phone, it is as if no time has passed and we just pick up where we left off.  Hey Flo! if you are reading this!!!!

During Black Friday weekend, I did something for the first time.  I had my 1st Annual Trunk Sale!  I did really well, especially since I did little advertising, had no booth fees or travel expenses, and got to see some friends over that weekend in my home.  Therefore, this will become an annual event, and admission will remain free to those who want to attend.  As time gets closer, I will announce the next one here.  The announcement will probably come out in late October or early November.

December brought good sales for Christmas gifts.  There were a couple of people who bought during my Trunk Sale that came back and bought later in December.  Repeat customers are always good.  Late December slowed some and that was good because we were able to concentrate on the real reason for Christmas, Jesus.  Our family had a quiet day together and it was just what we needed.

January brought some new ideas and we are proud to say we have gotten off to a good start.  The first idea came from my husband.  I had always said I would never, ever, ever have an Etsy shop.  I seemed to me there is no way to get noticed, there are gazillion artists competing for a limited number of sales and some will underprice their art or crafts just to get sales.



So about a week in to the new year, dh says, “I think you ought to set up an Etsy shop.”  I am so surprised.  I had explained to him why I did not want to do it but he had suggested it anyway.  Sometimes he does have good ideas.  So that evening I set up a shop and began adding stock to it.  One week later, I had a sale, then another week went by and I had another sale.  I sold four sets of coasters in all in just 2 weeks.  I was amazed!  Then, today I had another sale!  Some artists go a long time without being noticed.  I feel truly blessed.  My Etsy shop will serve as a place for people to find my product during craft show season hiatus.  For those who are interested, you can find me on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CindysCoasters.  My shop has “coasters” in it but I have a variety of items to choose from:  coasters, trivets, plaques, cards, etc.  I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.

Now, for those who saw my post on Facebook about some photos I posted Saturday, February 7.  (For those who did not see the photos, you can follow this link …. https://www.facebook.com/CustomCoastersByCindy.)

I have been designing trivets since shortly after I began doing coasters.  I use travertine for the trivets just as I do for coasters.  The trivets in original form---8”x8”, with chiseled edges, have been awesome.  The surface was smooth, beautiful, and so easy to work with.  Late last year I ordered a case so I’d have some when I was ready to work on some for this year.  I opened the case and was so disappointed.  The tiles were so pitted, distressed and ragged that I feared not being able to use them.  I had ordered through the same local company I had ordered through on previous orders.  So I asked if they ordered through the same supplier.  Of course, they said.  Well, I could send them back but I’d have to pay shipping, which is understandable.  However, shipping back travertine tile is costly.  So had I to come up with an option.



The option, one I was scared to try, was to grout the tiles.  So, now am I not only designing and selling trivets but also getting into grouting!  I could start a completely new career.  Let me tell you, it is not as easy as it looks.  I am having quite a learning curve!  It is tricky learning to get the texture of the grout correct but also applying it to fill the holes.  Then it is learning to wipe off the excess grout without wiping off too much!  Oh, this could be too much for me!!!




I have done about 10 tiles and have gotten some technical assistance with my best buds at the flooring center.  I took some of my “work” down there for them to provide a critique.  I never imagined I would be asking for a “grout critique”!  LOL  All of this goes into making a better, supreme, premium product for my customers.  You are worth it and I will work on my technique till I get it right for YOU!  To see the finished trivets you'll have to keep watch at my Facebook page and Etsy shop.

https://www.facebook.com/CustomCoastersByCindy
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CindysCoasters

Thanks to everyone who supports their local artists and crafters!  You make all the work seem like fun!

My plan is to make a weekly post of things going on in my little crafting world.  I am not sure what it'll include but look for it each week, most likely around Monday.

Many blessings,
Cindy Welch