Every art has tools of the trade. Items needed to complete your masterpiece - make it possible. Tools may include a paint brush, a staple gun, counter space, or a level. But a tool of the trade may also include a specific environment, a certain feeling, or music in the background.

I decided to ask some of my favourite Etsy sellers what their "tools of the trade" are.

AnnyMay can't live without her sewing machine. The sweet re-purposed house slippers in the below image are one of her designs. But for AnnyMay, her sewing machine is at it's best in her century house, surrounded by her family - surrounding herself with family is her tool!

Zenbecca needs her tiny, super sharp scissors and glue sticks - lots of glue sticks. She also needs lots and lots of stuff - inspiration just happens. But along with inspiration, must come the courage to crack open the stash of goodies, and the vision to see beyond the obvious.

Visit zenbecca here

Watercolour artist, multi-media artist, CrazyBliss has a tool arsenal, including her own two hands. But to be at her creative best, she needs space, and some time to herself. Pencils, paper towels, paper cutters, screwdrivers, cutting boards, synthetic watercolour brushes, and good lighting are her regular tools.

Visit Crazy Bliss here

Making the perfect handmade soap, jam or jelly, or even a lip smacking lip balm, BovineBubblesandHogwash needs her scale! And for all of her super shower goodies, with a waterproof label, she needs her laser printer!

Visit BovineBubbles here

And the best tool of all, no matter what your art, was mentioned to be by CrazyBliss - yoga. Yoga to start, and taking breaks while you are working to stretch yourself out. Yoga not only brings increased strength and flexibility to your body, but it can help to clear your mind...opening up the creative flow!

a ghostly story

Let's continue with the creepy, Halloween-y talk...but I still don't celebrate Halloween ;)

I believe in ghosts. The harmless ghouls that make your hair stand on end. The spirits that lurk in your halls and walls, that cause you to feel that you aren't alone.

My family lived in such a house: a house haunted by a single ghoul (we think) who roamed our rooms, in Port Hope, Ontario.

It doesn't look like a haunted house. It has some quirky steps outside, a gracious veranda, and lots of windows.

Creaks and ...groans? Yes, every house has those, right? Unexplained tumbling vase of roses? A face, floating...

The specifics have since left my memory. I can't give you the year, or the date. But I can tell you what happened. In the middle of the night, and months later.

My bedroom, visible as the two upper windows in the first picture, was spacious. My bed was on an inside wall, with the two tall windows to my right, and my door (complete with transom) was on my left. The floor was made from wide pine planks, and the walls were covered in yellow floral wallpaper.

One night, I awoke, and found myself frozen in place. I was laying on my back, covers pulled up to my chin. Frozen. Frozen with fear. The "ghost" was in my room, and for the first time, I could "see" him. No one in my family had caught a glimpse of the "presence" in our home.

Until that night. He wasn't looking at me. His profile, a man with dark, tight curled hair, and a beard like Abraham Lincoln, was suspended in the air, across from my bed. I only saw his profile, because he was looking out my window. I remember closing my eyes, and opening them again, only to still see him "suspended" in the air. I didn't want him to see me. I didn't dare move, call out, or pull the covers over my head.

Eventually, I fell back to sleep. The next morning, I reported the sighting to my family. Along with a name...Walker.

Months later, a property search for our address (performed for our realtor) showed the second owner of the land to be "Walker".

my Halloween

I'm not one for Halloween.
Of course, the stores, even the fabulous on-line store Etsy,
are brimming with Halloween goodies. It's hard to avoid the orange
and black, the laughing pumpkins, the scary cats, and the towers of candy!

Since I can't avoid it, I decided to scour Etsy using two search words
in the "Handmade" category: Halloween, Canada. I didn't
intend to search too deep or for anything obscure.

And I found these awesome cards!

She's Batty Designs

I could give one of these cards to anyone,
and it would bring about a smile.

She's Batty Designs has cards for lots of occasions!

The Woman of a Kazillion Talents

Near the end of September, I had the pleasure of meeting Pegg, the woman behind fiveforty on Etsy. A mere 11 hour drive from my home, hides a baker, a chef, a weaver of rugs, a lover of pearls and baubles that she translates into gorgeous jewelry, and a great lady to spend a day with.

Pegg's crafts are spread throughout the house. And if cooking is a craft, then her crafts are outside too, in her flower and vegetable gardens! Bags of beads; piles of sweaters and t-shirts waiting to be woven in to one of her 100% recycled rugs; rows of veggies waiting to mingle in a salad or a tasty casserole.

My new recycled rug from fiveforty!

The Road to fiveforty !

As a member of Etsy since May 2006, fiveforty is an expert curator of treasuries (collections of the work of Etsy artists, assembled by Etsy artists), and her stunning collections have graced a handful of Etsy front pages. Oh yes, and her own work is often found in treasuries too!

Pearl and Copper Earrings

Would you like to get to know fiveforty? Please check out her blog Five Forty at Home. Be sure to scroll down, with your eyes glued to the right side, and there you will find some tasty Five Forty recipes. I recommend the Thin Finn Pancakes!

sharing coconuts

Ok - so I am in love with coconut beads. You know that already.

When I was recently asked to share my coconut story, I wasn't sure what to say, or what to think.

What more can I say other than coconut beads are awesome!

I did end up saying a bit more, and you can read about it HERE, along with other coconut stories!
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