Christmas cheer

ocasiocasa sends warm wishes during the most beautiful and glorious season of the year

On Christmas Eve, my daughter gave me a dozen lovely roses. The day before, she and I had been reminiscing about one of my favorite stories I used to read to her and her brothers every December. It was called The Legend of the Christmas Rose by Selma Lagerlöf---a Swedish novelist, who in 1909 became the first woman writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. You can read the story here if you would like -

One year, we made silk marionettes of all the characters in the story and retold it as a puppet play at our Christmas family gathering. I remember it being very cute and charming. I still have the puppets, but what I really hope is that we filmed it on video, and have that somewhere also.

So, later on Christmas day, Jeff and I were relaxing outside, on our deck. The sun was very low, the kids had gone off to see a movie, and there, through the trees, we spotted several bright yellow grapefruits. What’s so surprising about this is that we didn’t even know we had a grapefruit tree! I know that sounds odd, but we live under an oak hammock (where many oak trees create a ceiling of branches) and although we have quite a few wild citrus trees that just popped up on their own, it was always too shady for fruit to grow. At least none ever had in the dozen years we have lived here. So Jeff grabbed a ladder, and without falling into the creek below him, managed to pick all of them---twelve big, beautiful grapefruits. What a gift!

We brought them inside and started juicing; it tasted incredible. Added a bit of Swedish vodka (because we deserved it) and toasted to a perfectly splendid day which we were extremely grateful for.
I hope yours was equally as special.

jeff’s mojo is just fine…

Every now and then, Jeff will stay awake much later than myself and work on a completely new project. When I wake, I never know what I might find in my living room that wasn’t there the night before. One Sunday morning, it wasn’t ‘what’ but rather ‘who’. Perfectly displayed on my computer and posed to greet me were a charming, little family (dog and all) entirely made from paper tape. I love that he gave the mom a superhero cape.:)

I call them my little mojo family---that same day, an Etsy treasury that our canisters were in, was featured on Etsy’s front page and the canisters were purchased. …I believe that sometimes, slices of life slide right into perfectness, ever so simply and subtly. I never wonder why; I just expect it to.

Maybe Mr. Waters tried a little too hard winning over his love interest, but he had a perfect win with such an excellent song…

We are currently having our very first giveaway and it is being hosted at a wonderful blog called Audrey’s Blog Give Away. I’ve enjoyed reading her features so much; she does an excellent job reviewing talented and unique artist and the crafts they create.

We are offering our Celtic Glen Casa Bottle Oil Lamp for the giveaway. It is an upcycled beer bottle fitted with hardware and wick to create an indoor tabletop oil lamp. All that is needed is regular lamp oil. They create a soft, glowing candle-size flame. We’ve been using them at home now in place of candles.
These Casa Bottles were popular at a recent art show we participated in. It is always so gratifying to see people’s reaction to your art.

turkey dressing…the ruffled skirt

MADE---a beautiful blog filled with wonderful projects, recently caught my eye with this stunning photo. The creator is an extremely talented crafter who likes to sew. Dana has two simple goals for her blog: to share ideas and to help the sewer of any skill-level realize that they can sew without a store-bought pattern. I love that!
This particular project has won a tutorial challenge on the excellent blog – So You Think You’re Crafty.
If you sew, and would like to see how to make this gorgeous ruffled skirt, or just want to gawk at more beautiful photos of it, click on the link below to go to Dana’s blog post where she directs you to the tutorial.
(The link to the tutorial will only be active till Sunday night, Dec. 6th. After that, the pattern will be for sale in Dana’s Etsy shop.)
As for myself---I’m thinking seriously about enlarging the dimensions and making one in my size. I love skirts!

Greetings…from our hometown to yours

One afternoon, Jeff and I invited my mom on a trip downtown. We had one of our art bottles in a shop window display that we wanted to see and knew that she would enjoy seeing the recently renovated buildings and beautiful brick paved streets. While there we went to the top of the Indigo Hotel to get more of a bird’s eye view of the area and soak in the glorious, sun shiny day. Jeff snapped this photo on his iphone and I knew it would be postcard material.

The river is Florida’s Caloosahatchee that flows from Lake Okeechobee, west, to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s named after the Calusa---a Native American people that inhabited the coast and waterways of southwest Florida many centuries ago. We are fortunate enough to be able to cross over these bridges just about everyday and witness the light reflecting off of the water’s surface and the unobstructed view of the ever changing colors of the sky.

the holly bears the crown…a treasury

The Holly and the Ivy is a much loved carol of mine, and the shades of red and green are my favorite color combination. (Is it any wonder that I become even happier as Christmas draws nearer?) Hence, the inspiration for a collection of a few favorite things...

My current treasury is compiled explicitly of Lab Rats artisians. The Lab Rats team on Etsy is a place for Virtual Lab regulars to get together and promote one another; it is also an extremely friendly and helpful group of Etsy people. I’m happy to belong to it and if you would like to also, you can check out the Lab Rats team blog here.

For my blog, I am also including the alternative listings that are part of my collection, but do not show up in the public view.

From the top, and left to right...
by MariaLuna
by spookychandelier
by lushboutique
by alyssakaycollections
by verabelle
by SimplyInvitingCards
by zwzzy
by 2ndcoming
by blueberryshoes
by justbecreative
by celticmoonstudios
by aprilevening
by celticmoonstudios
by AgelessThings
by duckfoot
by mizkatie

So much talent and coolness...I am always amazed.

a virtual trunk show?

Well, in the words of the LabRats team blog and I couldn’t have said it better myself: “A trunk show, in real life, is when a group of crafters get together and have a small show for people they invite or whoever happens to come by and see. It works almost the same in the virtual labs, only... well, it's virtual!”
There will be artisans from the Etsy LabRats team offering special discounts from their shops at We will be offering a 20% discount on all items for the Trunk Show only, plus our current promotion---free shipping in the US.
So join us in the Etsy Virtual Labs
Monday, November 23 at 7pm (EST)
Art, jewelry, baby items, paper goods, crochet, vintage and so much more!
Everyone is welcome!
Look for the Gallery, in black.
Hope to see you there!

glistening snow and mistletoe…a challenge

That is the theme, picked by SimplyInvitingCards, for the Etsy LabRats Team challenge. We decided to add the idea to an oil lamp bottle---a new category recently added to our shop on Etsy.
Having to conform to a particular premise while creating was a special experience. It felt like an exercise, but the kind you enjoy, because it is fun and you know it’s helping to stretch your mind a bit, which in turn allows for growth. And, growing is always good…

a simply splendid stocking stuffer

Today, I’d like to share an idea for a simple stocking stuffer and a brilliant craft blog called CraftyPod – the podcast and blog all about making stuff with Sister Diane — aka Diane Gilleland. Sister Diane’s podcasts are brimming with interviews of some of the best and the brightest in the craftosphere. Her blog enlightens us with, not only beautiful tutorials, but great information on crafting a creative business. The links below are a small slice of what she offers.

Two clever ideas that were literally dreamed up by Sister Diane:

How to Turn a Cardboard Box Into a Splendid Notepad
How to Weave a Cover for Your Splendid Notepad

These tutorials are not only beautifully photographed, the instructions are clear-cut and a breeze to follow. Have fun exploring CraftyPod!

Works in progress…a mask and a challenge

Currently we’re working on a new item that was inspired by a team challenge. The challenge? Anything to do with ‘glistening snow and mistletoe.’ hmmmmm…well, Jeff and I have come up with some ideas and they appear to be materializing, along with other new designs. That’s always a good feeling. Let’s hope the momentum continues.

These photos were taken today from our workroom.

fifty of the smallest bottles…

Experimenting with a new collection -
 No. 28 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle  No. 33 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle
 No. 9 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle  No. 16 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle
 No. 24 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle  No. 3 of Fifty - Smallest Glass Bottle
Sunday, I spent some time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather Florida receives when there is a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and taking photos of a brand new collection. Usually I use a light box, but decided to try natural lighting, in the shade, for the first six of fifty bottles we’ll be listing in our shop on Etsy. The backdrop for most of these photos is actually our giant bamboo. I’m surprised at how dark the background turned out; very different from most of our photos. However, I believe I like the new look …and it was a lovely, lovely day.

a favorite treasury…fresh via {pounce}

Often, I’m not able to put up a treasury when there is an opening to do so. It’s ok though; there are plenty of great treasuries already up. One that I came across this morning caught my attention. I love it when treasuries feature new shops, no sales, and manage to pull off a stunning collection. Here are the shops that are featured in shavingkitsuppplies's  Etsy treasury:

tuft hat by cathycarron

eco manly bag by katchabilek

laptop sleeve by boyzz

duvet by plantedplume

wooden barn friends by frenchsecrets

peterpan collar dress by vintagelush

straight line clutch by graceisenough

anemone ring by gingasquid
I have featured gingasquid in one of our treasuries before...they truly have creatively vibrant pieces of art in their shop. Take a look, when you have a chance; you may get lost in wonderment.

Shavingkitsuppplies's shop is a beautiful blend of vintage and handmade.

Works in progress…random collecting

col•lage : \kə-läzh, kȯ-, kō-\

Etymology: French, literally, gluing, from coller to glue, from colle glue, from Vulgar Latin *colla, from Greek kolla - Date: 1919
1 a : an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface
2 : hodgepodge - a collage of ideas
3 : Jeff’s favorite art form and diversion

the beginning of a new collection in progress...

A really good link about collage in art, defined with illustrations, and links to other resources.
ArtLex on Collage -

preparations for precious cargo…

When one of our items are purchased, a rejoiceful time follows, (of course, for the obvious reason!:-)) most importantly because packaging is the final, yet another, creative endeavor for all of our art.

double boxed, with custom made boxes, sized just right...

wrapped with the item’s description, from the shop---perfect for gift-giving...

bundling carefully for a safe journey to their new destination...

re-using recyclable materials from newspaper and boxes...

all in hopes to convey our gratitude and create a ‘happy moment’ for the recipient.

a winter treasury on the caribbean shore

I have decided that I take great pleasure in being a curator. Etsy treasuries are so enjoyable to present and share. They really are just an additional way for us to create: first you gather some of your favorites, picking just the right textures and colors for the mood or theme you are trying to convey, arrange…arrange some more…

Take a peek at the treasury on Etsy and visit the fantastic shops of some very talented artist; they amaze me. (note to self: feature more artist!)

star beaded ornament – WildWomanJewelry
film negative earrings – theLostEarring
octopus necklace – WorksInProgress
square clock – MCDB
waiting for the tide – HazyDaisy
vein hat – GingaSquid
utopian bloom – bionicunicorn
nancy drew handbag – spoonfulofchocolate
bird and blooms – AutumnArt
encouraging words – anycards
flowery lampwork earrings – lightkeeping
bliss bottle cap bracelet – bayatinge
hope you liked!

sunday collage…late october

Jeff loves his early morning walks through the yard, while letting our jack russell out for her first run of the day. On Sundays, he takes his time before coming in for his cup of coffee. With iphone in hand, he shoots away, in appreciation and awe, then shares with me all that he saw…on this cool Sunday morning, in late October.

happy autumn, everyone,

do you trade buttons?

I’ll trade mine for yours. I’m speaking of blog buttons, of course. There are many reasons I like blog buttons. One reason is they help make our blog pretty. Another is the act of helping each other; it just feels good. When we trade buttons, we are helping to promote one another. So if you don’t already have one of our blog buttons, scroll down the page a bit. They’re on the right side. Choose an image and copy the code beneath it and add it to a place on your blog where you would like your button collection to be. Let me know about it, so I can add one of your buttons to our blog.

If you don’t have any buttons to offer and would like to, below is a brief tutorial. I would like to thank lightkeeping for posting about this on the Etsy forums and enlightening me about the great hobby of blog button trading. :)

  • First, make your blog button image in JPEG or GIF –in sizes 125x125 or 150x150.
  • Upload it to the web, wherever you have images stored online – such as: flickr, photobucket, or your own website.
  • Copy the web url address where the image is hosted at. This should start with ‘http:’ and end with ‘.jpg’ or ‘.gif’.
  • Paste the url in the following code, in place of where it says YOUR IMAGE URL. (two different places in the code)
  • Then type your blog website address in place of where it says YOUR BLOG URL.
  • If you use Blogger, put this code into an Add a Gadget application called HTML/JavaScript and save. (For other types of blogs, enter the code however you are able to edit the html in your sidebar.)

I used three different button images, and just copied the correct code for each image into the gadget three times---one right after the other.

Here’s the code:

<table border="0" width="100%">
<td align="center"><img src="YOUR BUTTON IMAGE" alt="" /><br/>
Copy and Paste Code</td>
<td align="center"><textarea cols="13" rows="4"><a href="YOUR BLOG ADDRESS" target="_blank"><img src="YOUR BUTTON IMAGE" border="0"></a></textarea></td>

And that should do it! Leave a comment if you would like for us to add a blog button of yours to our collection.

“ttfn!” ~tigger

a room with a view…

I love my new outdoor room that Jeff created for us; it replaces the space an oak tree once stood before it almost fell over on me. (It was a perfectly non-windy day---kind of freaky :-\)

After we cleared all of it, we had a brand new space to play with, in a yard that has very little space due to all of the overgrowth that we allow, mainly because it is too defeating to fight it back---and it kicks our butts when we try. Jeff came up with the idea to section it off with an old wood-framed window he had found, recently, by the side of the road.

One simple window, something to sit on, and it’s as if we added a new room to the house!

I try to make it out here at least once a day. I use the time here to write notes down, make lists, write this blog posting, dream…

special arrival…hens and chicks

These hens-and-chicks arrived in the mail yesterday; they came from my brother’s yard and he was cool enough to send me some. I love them and their perfect rosette shape, so much! (i hope they live, i hope they live, i hope they live…) Hen and chicks is a common name for a group of small succulents belonging to the flowering plant family Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay) As the common name suggest the main plant (or mother hen) surrounds herself with miniature replicas (her little chicks).

My plan is to give them a chance to recuperate from their journey, and then transplant some into small containers for gift-giving. I’m thinking of using bamboo cups, since we can easily make those ourselves, (note to self: “blog about our cherished giant bamboo stand that grows in our yard”) but my mind is open to other ideas that may pop in.

Also, I have plans for a rock garden…which will have to wait for now. But one inspiration, that was burned into my skull over 10 years ago and never subsided, is a succulent wreath. I saw it, coincidentally, in Martha Stewart Living, and it is on my ‘bucket-list’ of things to make. Here’s a couple of links, take a look and tell me that this is not something that you would love to have, hanging on your door, out in your yard, by a sunny kitchen window…

From the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia website is a fairly understandable set of instructions. I wouldn’t bother watching the video on this page, though; it is kind of long-winded and is only part 1 of a two-part video. (???)
This link, from WonderHowTo, has a much better video, and shows how easy a process, making a succulent wreath, can actually be.

Feature Friday…think pink, think pink, think…

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”  ~Robert H. Goddard

Every October, pink ribbons abound throughout the world in an attempt to increase awareness of breast cancer and to remind women about the value of early detection. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Etsy is brimming with creative and unique takes on this commemoration. One of my favorites is this precious wire crochet bracelet by cfdesignz.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month I'm creating a few one-of-a-kind "Hope Ribbon" Bracelets.
Wear your support with this fashionable Black and Pink glass beaded wire crochet bracelet. The Silver charm in the middle is a ribbon that says HOPE ... let's all support to find a cure!
This Bracelet is approx. 7 inches in length and can gently be adjusted by stretching or squishing the wire loops. This bracelet closes with a silver toggle clasp.

50% of all the purchace prices in cfdesignz Think PINK section WILL be donated to the Southwest Florida Susan G. Komen fund.
About Creative Fly Designz:
Why a "Creative Fly"? Well... It all started with an idea and a compliment ... the story behind the fly ... I was working on a CD cover design many years ago (wow .. 9 years ago!)... and A friend's boyfriend said, "Wouldn't it be cool to be a fly in Amy's brain .. Then we can see how her creativity works" ... I took that compliment to heart ... and that is how the Creative Fly was born ... :) I have always been a creative soul! Whether it's capturing a moment in time with my camera, looping some yarn or wire together by crocheting my little fingers away :) Or even just having fun and being silly with my family and friends. I'm quite excited to have this blog be my outlet to share these chapters of my life with those who have the same passions as I do.

help yourself by helping another

This is really two posts in one. Yesterday at the Handmade Success blog, I discovered a forum thread titled “Lets Help Each Other!” by Twist21. An ingenious idea, and it goes like this: … Promote the shop above by picking one item from that person's shop and posting it on your facebook, twitter, myspace page, wherever you want! Then the next person will promote yours…
Well, I tweeted about the thread yesterday. Today, I’m jumping in, and hope you do as well.

This is a charming and vibrant holiday card made by AnotherCreation. I love the vibrant and rich colors! They’re created by her own painting on silk, Kids Spread Peace 'Round the World. They can found here: