Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heroic Giveaway!

I learned about this FABULOUS giveaway through Everything Etsy and just HAD to share it with everyone!

(Click link under the picture or HERE for full details)

Ok, so perhaps some of you are wondering what in the world you might do with a Custom Superhero Cape.  Fair enough.  Indulge me.

We have a three-year-old named Johnathan (a.k.a. Bubba) in our house who likes superheroes.  Wait.  Likes doesn't even begin to cover it.  Johnathan LOVES superheroes.  He is CrAzY for superheroes!  He has a one-piece Spiderman jumpsuit pajama set that is hilarious - but he LOVES.  He recently acquired (thanks to Grandma and the fine people at the Salvation Army) a Batman costume for Halloween complete with cape for $4.00.  Sure, it's a little too small, but seriously, passing it up would have been a crime.

Johnathan would pretty much be accepting of any superhero.  Superman is cool, Iron Man rocks his world!  And don't even get me started on Buzz Lightyear, you have NO idea.  When you're 3, the whole superhero world is excitement beyond belief.   

Not to mention the fact that Johnathan IS his mother's very own superhero: BUBBA-MAN!!!

Johnathan has endured quite a bit over the last few months with his daddy passing away, moving to another state and learning all the rules and regs that come with living at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Most days he is getting in trouble for something - hello, he's 3 - or TRYING to learn a valuable life lesson.  Sometimes I look at his big, puppy dog eyes and see LOTS of energy, a hilarious sense of humor and a frustrated soul.  If that isn't the recipe for a superhero in the making, I don't know what is.

So. . . I invite you all to look into your lives for your own superheroes and register to win them this Custom Superhero Cape too.  I'm telling you, just envisioning the look on Johnathan's face if he gets to run around with a custom cape with a huge "B" for BubbaMan on it brings a tear to my eye.
I will wish you all luck, while at the same time saying two little prayers:

1.  Johnathan, Grandma is going to try really hard to win you this cape.  You deserve it, buddy.

2.  Rest in peace, Michael.  We are doing our best to help raise your little superhero down here.  We know he misses you.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Give Me Peace

The first time you ever decide to "drop by" my house for coffee (or cocoa if you prefer), you will quickly learn a few things about me by merely looking around:

1.  The majority of the walls in our home are painted some variation of beige. 

Tan, ecru, champagne, willow, mocha creme.  Except the kitchen.  The kitchen is red.  Very red.  Deep, rich, 14 coats of paint to finally reach the correct level of "ruby" red.  It inspires my cooking.

2.  I like quotes. 

There are times in life when certain quotes, sayings or phrases have wedged themselves into my brain.  These kind of quotes are the ones you see and say to yourself, "Wow. That really makes sense in my life" or "I can totally relate to that."  A little creativity goes a long way at my house!  Quotes in the brain turn into vinyl wall art.  Just this past week I applied a new wall collage which I made with the help of - who else - a wonderful Etsian named Tawnya!
You can check out Tawnya's Etsy shop here: 

The quote says: FAITH:  Seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is the darkness ahead.  (Pics of my finished wall quote at a later date....)  

Two other quotes you will find on the walls at my home are: 
  • Breathe . . . you are home.
  • Did you think to PRAY?

3.  If the house is really clean, you are in the wrong place!

We generally survive on a level of disorganization at our humble abode.  Considering there are three grown adults, three teenagers, two toddlers and a baby living under our roof - consider yourself lucky if you can get make it in the front door without being asked for help reaching the juice, whether you like Batman or Spiderman better, what you know about American history between 1900-1915, your knowledge of Jersey Shore, would you like to buy Boy Scout popcorn and do you know anyone who babysits?  (Yes, that last one was a trick question - We mostly eat babysitters for supper around here...)

4.  We have published Family Rules.

What?  You don't believe me?  Try breaking one of them and I will pull the framed copy out and read them all to you.  They're pretty basic rules, most of which people learn at an early age: Words are not for hurting, hands are not for hitting, be respectful, use your manners, be responsible, if you make a mess clean it up.  Oh yeah, NO WHINING tops the list.  Sadly, it comes crashing down to the bottom of the list countless times a day too.  We do the best we can.

Speaking of learning things at an early age, it was probably around kindergarten when we started being given those golden nuggets of knowledge.  Those all important tidbits of information that would make us or break us.  If we had really understood how much easier life could have been if we had just paid attention to that information when it was given to us, we would be so much smarter and would have undergone so much less pain and heartache through our journey of life.

Things like:

~ Share everything.

~ Play fair.

~ Clean up your own mess.

~ Don't take things that aren't yours.

~ Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

~ Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

~ Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

~ When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

~ Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

~ And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

This isn't a complete list, just a few of my favorites.  When we were in kindergarten we were young and impressionable; our minds were moldable, our spirits were free and we were fearless. What a great time to impart wisdom on young minds!

I occasionally ponder the realization that not only have people forgotten the wisdom of days gone by, some people just plain don't care about these things anymore. Maybe today is a good day to look at the world through a 5-year-old's eyes and ask ourselves a couple of questions...

Have we been living by these tried and true rules?

Do we expect more from others than we do from ourselves? And if so, why?

Do we understand why there is no "I" in teamwork?

Do we practice these rules on a daily basis or just when it is convenient?

WHY do some people require a certain amount of drama in their lives on a daily basis?

And last but definitely not least - why is it ok to expect these things from small children and not hold ourselves to those same standards?

. . . Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ . . .

For those of you who have, or have had, teenagers living in your house at any point in time, you may be able to relate to this:  Occasionally the selfishness and inability to consider that others exist in the universe simply astounds me.  For those of you who do have teenagers, may God Bless your soul and sanity.  For those of you who know someone with a teenager, please pray for them.  Keeping the peace in a household where teenagers live is not an easy task.  There are hormones involved, friends, boy/girlfriends, cell phones, and let us not forget the all-important underdeveloped frontal lobe of the brain.  The frontal lobe controls the reasoning aspects of your brain.  As evidenced with 96.8% of the teenagers I know, reasoning is not an exercise that happens frequently throughout the "normal" teenager's day.

We all do our best to "keep the peace" in our home lives and some days it just doesn't happen.  Those are the times we need to allow ourselves to step back, let go and let God.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called
the sons of God. – Matthew 5:9

The Links:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, October 17, 2010

25 Random Things About Me

Hey Gang...

I woke up this morning with a raging migraine.  Much to my dismay, I wasn't able to attend church or work with the little ones in our church's nursery as is my role on the third and fifth Sundays of each month.  I envisioned Melanie (she works in the nursery with me) with a dozen kiddos climbing all over her and no one to help her out.  I won't lie, I felt guilty.  However, as the rest of the family left for church and I administered another spring-loaded  injection of Imitrex into my leg (migraine medication) - OUCH - I realized that if anyone was going to heal my throbbing head, it was going to be God.  So, after the medication side effect of my brain being on fire eased a bit, I prayed for the good Lord to work a miracle and heal my head.  When I gave God my anxiety about letting the church nursery down, I was able to sleep for an hour.  I really needed that hour of rest, and anyone who has experienced a migraine before knows that total quiet is absolutely necessary.  

Today I would like to share with you 25 random things about myself, in no particular order.  My brain is still asking for more healing time today and after 14 years of migraines, I know that pushing myself will end me in the Emergency Room for at least three hours.  

1.  I am a survivor.
2.  I am head over heels in love with my husband.
3.  I get great pleasure out of a job well done.
4.  One of my biggest joys in life is helping others.
5.  My teenagers still call me Mommy and I love it.
6.  The first car I learned to drive was a stick-shift.
7.  Creepy crawly bugs freak me out.
8.  I am not scared of the sight of blood. (So, come to me with your gashing head wound, but don't ask me to kill a spider for you) 
9.  I LOVE Jesus.
10.  I know my way around the kitchen.  I dream of Viking stoves and santoku knives.  I know, it's sad.
11.  I can type on a keyboard (accurately) with my eyes closed.
12.  Dan Marino walked into my office once and we chatted.  His eyes are SO green.
13.  I believe anything worth having is worth the fight to get it.
14.  I support our troops.
15.  Politics fires me up.
16.  I believe you should always tell people about where you came from. It makes you who you are.
17.  Respect and accountability are huge rules at my house.
18.  I love hard.
19.  I believe if you only have one chance, you better make it count.
20.  I have looked death squarely in the eye, turned from it and run the other direction.
21.  I have been saved.
22.  If you mess with my children I cannot be responsible for your safety.
23.  You have to respect yourself above anything else.
24.  I think it's important to find the lesson to be learned in every experience.
25.  I have learned that when people forget what you said and forget what you did, people will never forget how you made them feel.

One last thing, when I woke up from my nap today my migraine felt about 50% better.  I also got a text message from one of the Children's Ministry directors at church.
It said this:

Jenn, I hope you are feeling much better.  The Lord had you covered today, there were no kids in the nursery.

God is great.  ALL the time!

Blessings for your week everyone,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Genesis Revisited

For those of you new to Through The Grapevine here on Blogger - WELCOME! If you were previously my follower on WordPress, you will hopefully enjoy this new platform as much as I do.

For the new readers, I would like to provide you with a bit of information about how Wild Apple Design got started. The post titled "Genesis" premiered on WordPress last May; if you have read it before, please indulge my new followers.

As always, thanks for reading!!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ . . . . Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

If I think about it hard enough, I would say the seed for Wild Apple Design was planted more than 30 years ago. The word CREATIVITY is what comes to mind as the strongest building block for what has turned into modern day business. I remember watching over my grandmother's arm as she sewed on her yellow Singer sewing machine. She could hem up a pair of pants in about a minute. She could rip out a stitch and improve it with her own on no time flat. I recall one time that the waistband in a pair of shorts I had was a little too big. My idea was to put safety pins in the back and pull my shirt over the top so you couldn't see the pins. She wouldn't hear of that. She took my shorts, sewed elastic into the waistband and VOILA! They fit perfectly. I was amazed.

My grandmother would indulge me if I asked her to teach me something. Whether it was learning how to sew, trying to play the piano (HA!) or painting the fence outside, she really allowed my creativity buds to blossom.

I also recall hearing the word CREATIVE from an early age. And who better to hear something affirming from than your mother? Sure, when I brought home painted macaroni art my mother gushed just like we all do as mothers. But my mom did an amazing job promoting my creative juices the whole time I was growing up. My tie-dye shirt from YMCA camp was THE best, the pages I ripped out of coloring books covered our refrigerator. She even saved the ashtray I made in 5th grade pottery class - and no one even smoked! (It worked great for coins on the dresser though).

However, once I was an adult, had moved out of the house and had children of my own, something really wonderful happened. I had been going through some old Christmas decoration boxes with my mom and we were gushing for the sake of sentimentality. I removed the dusty lid from one of the cardboard boxes and under some gold tinsel that had obviously seen better days, I found two red Christmas stockings. Let me clarify. These were stockings cut out from plain white paper. The paper had been colored red with crayons and embellished only with the names of my brother and I, Matt and Jenny. This would strike you as strange if you knew that I NEVER (never, ever, in a million, trillion, gazillion years) go by Jenny. There are about five people on the face of the Earth who are allowed to call me Jenny. Anyone else is risking life and limb. But, I had made these paper stockings myself, so that was just plain CRAZY!

I pulled the stockings out of the box and said to my mom, "You saved these?!?!?" My tone was utter disbelief.

"Of course" she answered, "you made them".

How do you counter that? Every year at Christmas, they get hung up again. I cringe at the fact that SOMEONE says, "Oh look, JENNY" or "Those are nice stockings JENNY".


Paper stockings aside, I have worked hard to ramp up my skills over the past couple of decades. I have traded in my notebook doodling for journals. My plain white paper, glue and scissors were boxed up in favor of various weights of cardstock, photo-friendly archival-quality adhesives, paper shapers and crimpers. I have given up stringing big wooden beads onto a piece of string to make a bracelet. I now turn to wire, glass, crystals, digital art and any other medium that will hopefully amaze my audience.

Like anything else, it had to start from somewhere. My grandmother helped to plant those seeds of creativity when I was young. My mother did a fabulous job of cultivating that crop, year after year, making sure my creativity got lots of attention. When I was down, she lifted me up. If I didn't think my work was good enough, she showed me why it was better than good enough. My mom was my own personal Miracle Grow!

I had a period of years where I still dabbled in creativity here and there on a personal level ~ painting techniques around the house, flower arrangements as gifts, photographs of the kids, handmade cards for holidays ~ but nothing that really kicked my creativity gene into full gear. I was, as my mother always told me, "missing my calling".

The year my husband was deployed to Iraq was quite possibly the most difficult year I've experienced in my life for many reasons on many levels. One of the things my husband and I discussed before he left was this whole business venture thing. Sure, we had talked about it casually here and there, but you know what happens - people get busy, life gets in the way, there are kids to raise.

One morning while my husband was away in Iraq, I was alone with my thoughts. The kids were at school, the house was empty, the TV was off. I remembered the discussion my hubby and I had about me finding something to do that I LOVED. Funny thing about us women, we can hold onto things our husbands say for years - good or bad. This one was pretty good. My husband told me, "Jenn, I want you to find something that you LVE to do. Something that makes you leap out of bed with joy in the morning with excitement to do it."

LEAP out of bed with excitement? Wow. Now you know why I had to give this a lot of thought!

After I had asked several people's opinions, the answers I got kept pointing me back to the same thing ---> CREATIVITY. I learned about Etsy from a friend at church. (Thanks Dawn - YOU ROCK!) I learned some more about Etsy from every source I could. I was impressed. Here's the thing about ideas; you can have the best idea on the face of the Earth. If that idea is rattling around inside your head, it's the same as not having the idea at all. Finding the time to breathe life into an idea like starting a new business while running a household, raising kids, paying the bills and everything else that a deployment entails - alone - is another story entirely. To make an already long story a little bit shorter, I took the plunge. On October 1, 2009, I became an official Etsian and opened up shop. Does anyone want to guess who my very first customer was? MY MOM!! She even opened a Paypal account just for Etsy - way to go mom!

I will also add that my mom is my single best method of advertising, bar none. She wears my jewelry. She distributes my business cards. She talks me up to her friends, acquaintances, people she doesn't even know!

My shop has now been open a whole year!  Wild Apple Design hit the 150-mark for number of items listed, which is pretty exciting for me. I have had 29 sales so far.

I ventured into a Facebook Fan Page:

I even started Twitter!

Of course, the pièce de résistance would be my actual website: where you can find all the items I have for sale, my shop policies, a little bit about me personally, and make a custom request order.

Let me say that one more time. You can make a custom request order. If you see something you like on my site that you would like personalized, a component on someone else's site that you would like to use, or have an idea of your very own, let me know! There are a couple of places you can contact me from my Etsy page, there is also a feature to request a custom item. I would be more than happy to work with you to create something for you or that special someone in your life. You can also email me directly from this blog page.

Lastly, please share this information with your friends, contacts, family members. With social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as popular as it is these days, connections are imperative personally and professionally. I like to call it sharing the love!

Stay tuned for giveaways and promotions too.  I really enjoy collaborating with others on advertising and fun ideas.


~ Jenn

The Links:

Bottle Cap on Swivel Clip - We Didn't Come Here To Lose Zipper Pull

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Share the Love - Featured Artisan

This weeks Featured Artisan is Tina's Treasures! Tina has a wide

variety of handmade creations in her shop! Stop by and see them all!

You can find Tina's Treasures on: