Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Play the IN Crowd's "Find Sunny" Game on Etsy

Play the IN Crowd's "Find Sunny" Game
On August 1, the IN Crowd is going to play a game. The winner will receive a lovely necklace made by PinGwen. It's a fun, silly little game, where we hide the hot August sun (aka Sunny) in one of our listings. You just have to search and find them.

Here's a photo of the prize. Necklace is made of silver plated chain with a cute lampwork frog for a centerpiece. There are matching Czech glass beads and silver plated beads hanging from the chain all around. The clasp is a lobster claw type to hold it securely around your neck. Retail price would be $25 for this piece. It can by yours free just for finding all the sunnies in the game!

The rules are simple.

1. You must have an Etsy account, or sign up for one on the website http://etsy.com/ .

2. Search the participating shops listed below to find Sunny. He will look just like the one above, but may be smaller or larger. Each shop has one sunny hidden somewhere. When you find one, make a note of the shop name, and the item number shown in the address window of that item, ie "http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=5547158". The answer would be pingwen 5547158.

3. When you've found all the sunny's, send a convo to pingwen with all your answers.

4. The winner will be the entry with the most correct sunny sightings. In the likely event of a tie, the winner will be chosen at random from all the correct entries.

5. The contest will run for one week, August 1 through August 8. The winner will be notified via convo on August 10, and will be published on the blog and on the Etsy forums.

Participating shops:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Photo Essay of Maggie and Bailey

Hey! Let's play frisbee!

Oh, I love frisbee, love it, love it, love it....
Poor Maggie, she can't catch 'em, so I'll just pass it off to her.
Come on, Maggie! Don't you know how to do it?
OK, bring it back to Mom...

That's right, you're almost there.

Here we go again... Beagles are not retrievers.

The Boogie Comes to Springville

It's boogie time again in my little corner of the world. Our zip code, normally population 4800, soars to over 60,000, with 55,000 of these riding motorcycles past my normally quiet little wooded property. Nearby towns of Bedford and Oolitic are happy to have them here. They spend a lot of money in the restaurants, liquor stores, and bars. I imagine there are other businesses that benefit from the increase in population. Personally, I can't wait for them to all leave.

One thing I've noticed, bikers aren't the same as they used to be in the old days. When I was young, they were leather clad, tatoo laden tough guys, with their molls riding behind them. These were almost always pretty hard looking young women with long hair, short pants, and skimpy tops. They didn't have money, but they always had booze and dope. Today, they don't ride their bikes in. They travel in huge motor homes, trucks with huge trailers, and always an additional trailer behind to carry their toys (bikes, trikes, off road vehicles). They average about 50 in age, have short gray hair, and probably wear suits for their day jobs. But, they still know how to party! Oh, there are still the few who travel on their bikes with their bed roll on the back, but these are few and far between. It's no longer the outlaw sport it once was.

I live about 10 miles from the highway that goes to the nearest grocery shopping in Bedford. It normally takes me a little over twenty minutes to get there. When the boogie is on, it can take longer than that just to exit the driveway. And, tomorrow around 11AM, traffic will be backed up from the turn to the park about two blocks north of my driveway all the way back to the highway. And, while the park is about three miles from here, I'll be listening to their music for the next four nights. There will be emergency vehicles going by with their sirens on, a rarity in this neck of the woods. And, the police will be answering calls for fights, and all the other things that go along with large groups of people, drugs and booze, in a small space for five days.

They started coming here about seven years ago after they were driven out of Brown county. I think they used to have a park near Bean Blossom. But, they threw them out of there. Lawrence county opened their door to them with a smile and the hope of financial gain. They didn't ask me what I thought. Even if they had, I'm sure they wouldn't have listened. Ah well, it is only five days once a year. So, I think I'll be able to tough it out.

A couple of years ago, I set up a table out in front and tried to sell my wares. Even when they were at a dead stand-still in front of my property, they didn't come up to see what I had. So, my attempts to make a buck off of them failed. Maybe if I had a cooler full of ice cold beer, I could do better. But, I think that may be against some kind of law. Maybe I could put up a sign that said, "All proceeds go to benefit the Springville Arts Fund". That would be me...

I'm supposed to add some pics of my dogs and cat with this post. But, the girls just came in, and it's raining outside, so I'll have to take them later. That's all for now. Boogie down!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random Thoughts on the War in Iraq

Before we went into Iraq, I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I didn't know how badly it would turn out, though. I could go into all the reasons we should NOT have gone into Iraq, but I think we all know them by rote at this time. The question now is the solution. Is there one? Should we just leave them to deal with the turmoil themselves? Should we stay and keep allowing them to kill our young men and women?

The liberals, one of which I claim to be, think we should just leave them to fight it out themselves. The conservatives think we should keep on fighting. One question that I have never heard spoken is, "Who are we fighting there?". Bush says we are fighting Al Quaida. There wasn't an Al Quaida in Iraq before we invaded. And, frankly, I don't think I believe they are there now. Iraqis are fighting Iraqis. So, how do we know who the enemy is? This was my main objection to declaring war on "terror". How do you fight a war on people who are scattered throughout the world? How do you recognize a terrorist when you run into one on the street? They don't have a country, and they don't wear uniforms. Unfortunately, our security people don't seem to be able to infiltrate the most heinous of the groups. And, much is left to guessing and listening to "chatter".

So, the question I have is whether or not it does anything good to continue searching homes and killing citizens to try and keep the peace. I think not. But, we went in there and bombed all their utilities, their homes, their cities. Can we just leave and not do anything to repair the damage we have done? We have already done the unethical thing by invading a country that was no threat to us in the name of "spreading freedom". Freedom doesn't smell so sweet when it comes at the point of a gun. And, I suspect the Iraqi people would rather be living under tyranny with relative peace, than being afraid to leave their homes for fear of being killed by stray gunfire, roadside bombs, or suicide bombers.

The United States has suffered a great loss of respect due to this misuse of power. We are no longer seen as the gentle giant, but the big bully in the world. Can we afford to leave the Iraqis to fend for themselves when it was we who caused the chaos in the first place? I think the answer is no, but I don't know what the solution is. It's obviously not arms and warfare. But, how do we have diplomatic relations with a nation that doesn't exist? Can we remove our troops and replace them with rebuilders and people who are there to help? I doubt we'd get any volunteers until the violence is contained. Is the violence due to our continued occupation? If so, how much of it?

I've come to the sad conclusion that there is no solution to this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Going On?

Not much with me. Last week Dragoncat, aka Earlynn, and I shared a booth at the Linton Freedom Festival. It should have been a big festival with a bunch of people there. But, it rained like crazy on the 4th of July parade, then it rained like crazy on the carnival, and it turned out to be pretty slow. I went back on the 5th to finish out the festival, but guess what happened! It rained like crazy! So, after a couple of hours of getting to know the other vendors, and snuggling with the dog in the pet booth, I packed up my shop and went home. Despite the poor turnout, I did OK. At least I made up for the booth cost and the cost of gas to drive back and forth, with a little left over to buy some kibble for the pups. They were not at all happy to be left alone for three days in a row. My lab, Bailey, made me play frisbee in the dark. But, then, she was the one who had to find the darned thing. She lost it a couple of times, but she has a good nose. My beagle, Maggie (Margaret when she's bad), let me know how she felt by peeing on the floor... Her nose is better than Bailey's, and way better than mine; so I suspect that actually bothered her more than it bothered me. Cissy, my cat, didn't really care. As long as she has a dry place to sleep and a bowl full of food, she's happy.

Besides the show, I've been selling my wares on Etsy. I had a couple of nice orders this week. I'm hoping more people will find my shop, as well as Etsy in general. It is a really great site. Very artistic, created and run by artists, and all the shops are original artists/craftspeople. If you haven't been there, you need to check it out!

There is a group on Etsy that I belong to, aka a "street team". We call ourselves "the IN Crowd". All of the members live in Indiana, and are artists and crafters. There is a ton of creativity and talent among these hoosiers. I get a kick out of just looking at the new and innovative things they come up with. If you would like to see some of their works, just go to http://etsy.com/ and enter "incrowd" into the search for titles and tags. You'll get a bunch of pages of nothing but hoosier crafts! We have fiber artists, mosaic artists, jewelry artists, painters, seamstresses, fashion designers, upcyclers, you name it, we got it! Check it out, I promise you'll like it!

While I was off in Linton, my elderly parents went to Asheville, NC to visit my niece. She and her family just returned from several years in Europe. Her husband retired from the Air Force earlier this year. They had a kind of family reunion there. My sister and her husband were there, and my other niece and her family. Her, my other niece's, family consists of her husband and two boys, 4 and 3. I am a mother of one boy. But, I can't remember the stage these two have been going through for the last couple of years. They have more energy than the entire gulf region can produce! When they came for Christmas last year, my ears were ringing for three days after they left! When I talked to my dad yesterday, he said he was glad to be home.... Gotta love kids, but it's good to be able to leave!

Not much else going on in the forest these days. The critters are still lurking about, the birds are still singing, and the grass is still growing. TTFN

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Who or What is PinGwen?

PinGwen is me, aka Gwen. I have a shop on Etsy where I sell my handmade jewelry, and also offer my custom oil portraits.

I live in the forest in southern Indiana with my two dogs and one cat. It's beautiful here, nice and quiet most of the time. Once a year, they have a motorcycle rally not far from me, when my little road becomes bumper to bumper, and the noise is deafening. This makes me love the peace and quiet even more. I may go to visit family for those four days this year to avoid the aggravation. Otherwise, the only traffic to watch out for are the many deer, foxes, raccoons, possums, squirrels, turkeys, etc., etc., etc. I'm not so fond of the coons and possums. I used to feed the birds, had a bunch of feeders in a tree just outside my livingroom window, where I could watch the pretty little creatures. I had nuthatches, cardinals, titmice, chicadees, several species of woodpeckers (one redhead that would come around every day around 5PM), and many, many more. Then, the raccoons found the feeders. At first, they just stole the suet. Then, they decided the seed would be good stuff to have, and they tore all my feeders to shreds. After buying new feeders, only to have them shred to bits the first night they were left out, I had to stop feeding the coons, and my beautiful birds. I still watch them, but they don't gather here the way they used to. There are also some great big piliated woodpeckers in my woods, wonderful to see!

Many years ago, I was a corporate accountant. It was a necessary evil that I did for twenty years. The terms liberal and corporate don't normally go together in one sentence. But, that's what I was. And, to toot my own horn, I was really good at it. But, I always knew I wouldn't do that forever, just long enough to raise my family, and then back to my "hippy" ways. So, today, I make my jewelry, paint my pictures, and rave at the politics of today. I'm not a Bush fan. I didn't vote for him. And, I think "conservatives" today are raving lunatics, and there is nothing conservative about them! When did conservative come to mean that there is only one way to think about anything? OK, that's not really why I started this. So, onto something else...

I've been painting for my entire life. I really got into oil painting about 20 years ago, while I was still living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I've lived in a lot of places in my life. I am an Air Force veteran, and I moved around a lot when I was in the corporate world. I took my first oil painting classes in Iowa, several drawing classes where we drew naked people! I'd get off work, maybe have a toot with the group, and then go to drawing class where I'd find a naked old man staring at me. OK, I won't go into all of that, either. But, I really enjoyed taking classes, so I kept taking them wherever I moved. The last place the corporate world wanted me was St. Louis. I took painting classes there, and joined a bunch of artist groups. That's where I first got interested in showing my work. I entered several competitions, and actually won several. My painting, Goober and Waylon, took first place in a show in St. Peter's, MO, a bedroom community outside of St. Louis.
After I moved to Indiana, I started making jewelry. I started because I saw necklace I wanted, and when I went to buy it, it was gone!! So, I thought I might be able to make one like it for myself. I got a book, a kit, and all the cute little tools needed to make jewelry, and went to town. I had so much fun with it, that I had so much stuff, I had to get rid of some of it. I gave every female on my Christmas list jewelry for several years, but I kept making more than I could give away.

So, that's when I found Etsy.com. Now, I have a nice little shop there where anyone can see and buy my baubles and beads. I hope you will take a moment and check it out: Gwen's Jewelry and Arts. You never know what you might find there!

Thanks for visiting, I hope you will stop by again and see what's going on in the forest!