OttLite Review and Giveaway



OttLite Giveaway


I’ve been a fan of OttLite for a long time now. I’ve owned a few different types and you can see that I have two of the big floor models in my studio.

The photo is from this post and, trust me, it doesn’t look quite as clean and organized today.

I’ve probably had those lamps for 4 or 5 years and they still use the original light bulbs. I use them every time I’m at those tables and I love the quality of light.


OttLite Giveaway


I just received the OttLite Craft Caddy Lamp for review and I’ve got to admit I’m crazy about it.

It has all of these removable storage compartments, a lamp that is adjustable, an extra outlet in the back to plug in a glue gun or other tool and a carrying handle. This is a great lite for taking to classes or for more portable projects around the house.


OttLite Giveaway


I was also sent the 13w Folding Task Lamp folds in half to close, has a handle for carrying and sits on a swivel base so that you can direct the light just where you want it.


OttLite Review and Giveaway


It also includes a small magnifier in the hood of the lamp for working on small projects like jewelry or needle point.

I have a lamp similar to this that I use on the end table where I sit and do handwork while watching TV in the evening. I like it a lot but I’m sure my tired eyes will make use of the magnifier on this new one.


Again, this is a great lamp for taking along to classes for those of us who need a little more help seeing in large rooms.


OttLite Review and Giveaway


The best part about this whole post though is that I get to give one of these lamps to one lucky winner. The winner gets to choose which one they want (Either the folding lamp or the lamp caddy).

And if you aren’t the winner (I wish I could give one to each of you) you can buy one of your own through my affiliate link below.


To enter to win just follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dancing with Disappointment


I’m finally through radiation treatment, my skin is healed and I’m beginning to get my energy back a little at a time. I had a check-up with my oncologist last Friday that didn’t go like I thought it would.  In my head I thought I had the next steps figured out and I thought I knew what would come next. I should know by now that I know nothing.

You see, I had it in my mind that after all of that grief I went through with two surgeries, infection and 6.5 weeks of radiation treatments that there would be some kind of test performed that would deem me “CANCER FREE”.

You know, a ribbon to break at the end of the finish line. A diploma. A certificate. A big Hooray!

Guess what? There isn’t.

My Dr said she would do a blood test but that it’s not a 100% guarantee. She said if I really wanted that she could do a scan but that any teeny tiny little dot they found would have to be BIOPSIED. More surgery. She said that a needle biopsy wouldn’t work because the dot would be small (and if you remember the needle biopsy performed on Stanley came back negative for cancer. WRONG!).

She did say she would do the scan if I really wanted it but she felt that in the end it might just cause more anxiety, worry, concern.

No finish line. No announcement. No decree.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

I got nothing besides a little blood draw. Anti-climactic to say the least.

I have learned over the past several months that when things don’t go according to plan that I need to sit with it a while.

I need to feel the feels.

Sadness, anger, disappointment, and a touch of grief.

Somehow sitting with the disappointment, turning it over in my hand, and REALLY looking at it seems to help me process it faster.  Faster than denying it or trying to drown it in chocolate ice cream and with far fewer calories.

Anyway, I woke up yesterday feeling much better.

Here is my new take on this.

1) My left breast has been radiated to the moon and back. It is highly unlikely that I have cancer cells growing in there.

2) If the surgery and weeks of regular radiation didn’t get rid of the cancer I also had 7 “boost” radiation treatments that focused on the tumor bed. Just to be sure. “Out, out, damn spot!”

3) I have started taking a medication (and will be taking it for the next 5 years) to decrease the chance of a re-occurrence by 50%. So even my right breast is 50% less likely to get breast cancer.

4) All in all I’m better off than the average woman. Frankenboob and all.


I’ve decided that I’m cancer free and I’ve asked my family to have a little dinner party with me.  I’ll make my own damn finish line! Thank you very much. I’m going to take that disappointment, toss it aside and have me a dance party.


Cancer is a funny thing. It destroys you, tears you down, makes you weak so that you can build yourself back up again. So you can come back stronger than ever.

New and improved with slightly wacky looking packaging.

I will still have some disappointments in my journey but all-in-all I think that Stanley was just a bit of rotten luck.

And if I sit with my disappointments and let me teach me their lessons I’ll be better off in the long run.



How did I find out I had breast cancer and what is this Stanley business?

Finding a Lump

Stanley is a Liar – Breast Cancer Diagnosis







CHA Mega Show 2015 – My Life as a Booth Bunny

CHA Mega Show 2015 - My Life as a Booth Bunny


Even though I have been super creative since I was a toddler and I’ve made and sold things since I was a young mom with young children it never occurred to me to become an “industry professional”. Not until my pal Jenny pointed out that I was ALREADY an industry professional due to the work I was doing at the time and I may as well become a bona fide member of CHA.

She was right – as she so often is – so I became a Craft and Hobby Association Designer Member on 5/21/2010 and went to my first show that summer in Chicago, IL. It was hot, overwhelming, mind boggling and super exciting!

I remember walking the show floor and seeing folks in the booths doing Make and Takes and demos and I thought it looked like a lot of fun. After all, I LOVE to chit chat with people and I love to craft so it looked like a perfect job for me.

Little did I know that every designer and their dog wants to chit chat and craft in a booth so it took me a little while – you know, paying dues, getting to know people and making connections with manufacturers.

I’ve been in a few booths over the past few years but this year I ended up in THREE!

You know, the year I promised to take it easy as I was recovering from all of that breast cancer gobbledygook.  The year I promised I would nap in the afternoon and not push too hard.

Of course I couldn’t say no. 1. I’m not one to walk away and leave money on the table and 2. It is work I’m MADE to do. I love it, I’m pretty good at it and I have a blast!

So this year at the CHA Mega Show I was a bit of a booth bunny.

I had a wonderful time in the Krylon booth on Saturday morning at their media breakfast answering questions about how I made certain projects, my favorite product lines, what I thought of this or that product and my tips for successful projects. The chance to connect with people who love the brand as much as I do was amazing and inspiring.

I went right from the Krylon booth over to do a make and take in the FaveCrafts booth. A few dozen or so show goers and I decorated little paper mache boxes with goodies provided by iLoveToCreate. Everyone enjoyed a chance to make a project and connect for a few minutes. It was low key as I was in the booth during lunch time but it was a great time to chat and get to know some new people.

Finally, I spent a couple of hours on Sunday making “fat free, calorie free and gluten free cupcakes” in the Smoothfoam booth. The show floor was really hopping that day and I got to meet some really amazing people. I loved seeing how different people decorated their cupcakes.

I’m so thankful for the work I do in this industry, the people I get to meet and the manufacturers I get to work with. I’m also very thankful for the hugs and love that I received at the show this year. It was good to be reminded of all of the people who have been in my corner the past 7 months. It felt great to know they’ve been thinking of me and pulling for me.

I left the show feeling thankful and LOVED. Being a booth bunny was perfect! It was just what I needed to come home and get back to work again.



A Little Help Please! And a Giveaway

Blog Survey


Hi there! I’m home from CHA (as you can see I had quite a good time!) and feeling more like myself these days. I’m finally over the worst of the fatigue caused by the radiation treatments (not to mention surgeries and infection) and ready to get 2015 started. Thank goodness!

I would like to ask you for a little help. I’ve created a short, 10 question survey to help me figure out what it is that you want to see and read more of so that I can better serve/help you.

Do you want more essays, tutorials, recipes or all of the above? Now is your chance to let me know what it is that you would really like to see from me this year.

And because your needs and wants are important to me I’m offering a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky person. Simply fill out the survey and leave a comment saying that you did and I will choose a winner on Monday 1/26.

Thank you and Good Luck!



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Butternut Squash Soup – Sweet or Savory

Butternut Squash Soup  - Sweet or Savory


Winter squashes, like butternut are great foods to grow or keep on hand. They are easy to care for and last weeks or even months after harvesting. In fact, butternut squash tends to get sweeter the longer it’s stored.

Butternut squash can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins. It’s also high in fiber and lots of vitamins.

This soup is great fresh off the stove or reheated for lunches and the best part is that it is very low in fat for those of you trying to stick to your New Years Resolutions.


Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 carrot – diced
  • 1 stalk celery – diced
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

NOTE: For a sweeter soup use sweet onions. For a more savory soup use stronger onions and add a clove or two of garlic. 

  1. Heat oil in a stock pot. Ad carrot, celery and onion and cook until the vegetables have begun to soften – about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until squash is tender – about 30  minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree vegetables.




Be sure to check out my Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe