Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thank You for a Great Holiday Season!

Hello everyone!
I know everyone is so busy this week running last minute errands, wrapping gits, eating cookies, spending time with loved ones and hopefully making beautiful handmade items : )
I just wanted to say thank you to all who have supported Pinks & Needles this Holiday season!!! It has been a pleasure making my little pin toppers for all of you and I am pleased to say I have learned a lot about how to run a small retail business during a busy time of year.

I only hope to be even more prepared for the Holidays in 2010!

Here are a few pictures I've taken of some gift wrapping the last couple of days! It's kind of sad but I never had any of these gifts under the tree this year. They went from the gift closet, to the living room floor (for wrapping) and then straight to a shipping box : (  I have a few more gifts to wrap for neighbors and friends here in Tucson - so I hope to get those done tomorrow so I can at least enjoy looking at them underneath the Christmas tree for about a week!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Decor in Progress

Hello friends! I hope everyone has recuperated from The Thanksgiving Graze Haze! We had a nice mellow day with our neighbors Jill, John and extended families. I made my Gramma Merle's homemade Cranberry Relish (recipe blogged here), Grasshopper Pie (a tradition on Thanksgiving since I was a little girl and a layered Italian Torta you spread on crackers or bread.
So we finally got Halloween put away and I've been working a little here and there when I need a break from the studio to get the Holiday stuff up! As I've mentioned a ga-jillion times I love the 1950's and retro style seems to be my favorite since I can remember so my decorations seem to follow suit. Don't get me wrong I love traditional things too but to me there's nothing tackier and more fun than shiny tinsel trees and big ridiculous over the top (too many) decorations!

Monday, November 23, 2009


I really's true! I'm not sure if I'm the only one who does this but all the year through I think about Christmas time and imagine our home decorated like a gingerbread house. I have so many favorite "things" that are sequestered to plastic totes in the garage for most of the year that you can almost hear my vintage elves gasp for fresh air as soon as I open the containers! So Saturday night hubby put the Nutcracker Suite on for me while I unearthed (literally) tons but not all of our holiday decor. It may sound like a normal task but mind you we have about half of our house packed  ready to move as soon as we're done building (which has been delayed) since hubby received a contract to build low income housing in S. Africa before the World Cup starts next year. We almost decided on NOT decorating this year because Holiday boxes were shoved to the back corner of the garage!!! Could you imagine not decorating for he holidays? I think I would've headed into a downward spiral and quick! I know....I know.....stay calm. Not to worry! A little decoration is better than none! Whew!
My favorite to decorate are my small tinsel trees that are sooooo 1950's. I have been collecting vintage ornaments for sometime now. Thrift stores are the best for old Shiny Brites! I think I must have about 1000+ ~ no joke! I imagine them all clustered together in a huge wreath. Those however are still somewhere in the garage not to be seen until 2010 sometime. I did manage to find 5 trees which I plan on going to town on! Since they're small ~ they really make for excellent quick decor in a jiff.
I have big plans for the kitchen! Sweet related decor of course! I found some wonderful plastic jars from Michael's that I put my sprinkles in and also Wal-Mart has the best glass canisters right now with silver screw on lids - I'm thinking a great place to put ribbon candy and other sugary treats. Here's a couple of photos from last Christmas to share with you. I look forward to decorating all this week so I'll be sure to post some good pics by next Monday : )
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Portabellopixie is Hosting The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Hello Friends!
Today is Day 2 of Sandi Henderson's 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway! Hurry on over to Portabellopixie for details!

Pinks & Needles was lucky enough to be picked by her to give goodies away today November 20th on her blog! Sorry I didn't mention this yesterday when the hoopla started : ( I was so preoccupied getting caught up on things. Yesterday (Day 1) was hosted by the lovely and talented Megan of Brassy Apple! Talk about cute aprons ~ Oh me oh my!
I'm excited to see who she has picked to host tomorrow (Day 3) be sure to pop over everyday to enter in your chance to win!
Pinks & Needles will be giving away 2 prizes:
One lucky winner will receive a Frosty the Snowman Cupcake Ornament + a Surprise Holiday Pin Topper and also we'll be giving away a pretty Chocolate Cherry Cupcake Ornament + a Surprise Holiday Pin Topper to another winner!
I already posted a sneak peek pic of Frosty the Cupcake Ornament a couple of entries ago (scroll down a little way to see) but here's what Prize #2 is going to be:

Have a wonderful weekend! I hope all of you get some Holiday tasks done ~ like baking, shopping or maybe even decorating. Hubby will be busy today digging into the ornament boxes and helping me get Halloween put back into it's rightful place : )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Lied! remember how I've been yammering on and on about how I will remain OPEN 24/7 through the Holidays after I Re-Open on the 16th? Well it's safe to say I've been caught in a lie! I had no idea how busy it would be! After careful consideration late last night I have made some changes to my shop hours.

New Shop Hours through the Holidays:

OPEN: Mondays 9am through Tuesdays until 9pm
CLOSED: Wednesdays
OPEN: Thursdays 9am through Fridays 9pm
CLOSED: Saturdays & Sundays

I think I can keep up with everything now! We'll see! Fingers crossed : )

P.S. I tried needle felting for the first time last week. Hubby purchased me a kit from Fancy Tiger on Etsy! Go check out her shop - all different kinds of kits and supplies! I think this would make a great stocking stuffer + the cupcake kit contains enough wool roving to make 2 darling cupcakes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Shop Is Now Open Through the Holidays!

Hello everyone!

Well to be honest I never thought today would come but it's finally here and I'm so excited! I'm up early getting all the final touches done to my shop before 9am Arizona Time. If you visit my shop before then, you will notice there are older designs listed in the shop that will remain available through the Holidays. My newest creations will up very soon! Looks like Frosty is ready to make his debut in a couple of hours!

I wanted to post some new information about Pin Topper of the Month Club (PTMC) for those of you who are interested in an update. There's some Big News I want everyone to know! First of all I am pleased to announce that Pinks & Needles will be teaming up with Moda Bakeshop! Please check out their fun site! So the idea is that once PTMC is full swing starting in January one of our subscribers and friends Vickie E will be writing a tutorial for a pincushion that will coordinate with that particular Pin Topper of the Month's theme!!! I am super excited about this team up!!! Thank you Vickie for making this happen! Stay tuned for more details : )
Other Big News for PTMC is we will be offering 3 different CLUBS to choose from! Please note the prices are not set in stone but just to give you an idea. Here's a mini breakdown of the 3 CLUBS:

Option One: PTMC ~ you will receive 1 pin per month for a year + every month your name will be entered into a random drawing to receive a FREE pin. = 12 pins per year
($12 per month for US subscribers)
($13 per month for outside the US)

Option Two: 4 SEASONS ~ you will automatically be enrolled in PTMC + you will receive a trio of pins 4 X a year coordinating with the Seasons + the random monthly drawing to receive a FREE pin. = 24 pins a year
($21 per month for US subscribers)
($22 per month for outside the US)

Option Three: CUPCAKE CLUB ~ you will automatically be enrolled in PTMC + the random monthly drawing + you will receive 1 cupcake pin every month for a year + a FREE Birthday Pin in your Birthday Month! = 25 pins a year
($22 per month for US subscribers)
($23 per month for outside the US)

If you are interested in joining all 3 CLUBS the prices will be $34 per month (US subscribers) or $35 per month for outside the US! That's 37 pins a year!!!!

I hope you all like these options for PTMC!!! I am really excited to get started! I look forward to hearing your Feedback on which CLUB appeals to you most!

On a business note: it is very important you know ahead of time that when you sign up for any of the CLUBS you are committing to a Full Year Subscription : ) I don't want there to be any confusion once we're in full swing! Thank you everyone for your interest in PTMC! It really means the world to me!

That's all for now! I hope to see you all around the shop this Holiday Season!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Wheels Have Been Turning.....

Hello all!
As promised here's another sneak peek of what will be available in the shop next Monday when we RE-OPEN! This cupcake sculpture is OOAK (One of a Kind)!

Now on to some really big news:
Hubby and I had a big discussion last night about the future of Pinks & Needles. It seems like we talk a lot about it all the time but there's always been so many unanswered questions that have been lingering for about 2 years now!!! Kind of frustrating....... but last night we got some clarity on a few key issues! This was exciting!
From the very beginning of me opening my Etsy shop (February 2008) I didn't have a clue about what I was doing or if what I was selling was going to be something people liked or not. I just put on my "Wing It"  face and moved forward. I will never forget the first week my shop went live. I was so excited about it that I was literally getting out of bed in the middle of the night to see if items were selling! And the good news was that they were! I wasn't sleeping much the first couple of weeks and I never left the house either! I had to get myself organized and quick! So to make a long story's been almost 2 years of making pin toppers pretty much every day (give or take).
Now back to getting some "clarity" on a few key issues. It kind of just came to us last night that things have to change some how in order for me to keep up with this pace and I think we found our answer!
First off I would like to offer a "Pin Topper of the Month Club" to the first 50 people who are interested ~ where people can subscribe to receive one pin every month! Each month will have a different theme and I would like to ask all of you to cast your votes as to what themes you would like me to offer. It doesn't matter to me if you cast your vote for 1 theme or 12 - it's up to you! The goal is to have all 12 themes picked by mid December. I am limiting the "Pin Topper of the Month Club" to the first 50 people that contact me via email or here on Pinks & Needles blog. The pins that are offered in "PTMC" will not be sold anywhere else and would be considered Limited Editions. I will continue to sell the subscriptions until they are fulfilled. For example: say the 50th person subscribes in June they would receive January through June's pins all at once. They won't miss out on any pins! Also we will hold a drawing once a month for all subscribers to win a FREE pin topper too!
We (hubby and I) are still working out the details such as cost etc. but wanted to post this right away since time is of the essence. Our goal is to keep this very affordable! Somewhere in the ball park of $10-$12 a month shipping included.
I would like to offer "The 4 Seasons Club" too! Instead of 1 pin topper every month it would be 4 times a year and the pin toppers would be "seasonal". For the folks living in the Southern Hemisphere I would accommodate to your seasons accordingly : )
PTMC will mean BIG CHANGES for my Etsy shop. For those of you who shop with me on regular basis, I am sure you are used to my shop being OPEN on MONDAYS ONLY. I would like to change this and have my shop OPEN 24/7! I will be offering a wider selection of items other than pin toppers. I guess what I am trying to accomplish by making these changes is squeeze in time for all my other crafty passions and share my handmade goodness with all of you! In turn creating more "One of a Kind Items" too.
I could go on and on about tons more stuff but will cut this post for now. Please stay tuned for more updates!
I really look forward to hearing from all of you about theme ideas for PTMC! Please post your ideas here or shoot me an email.
Have a great week!
Oh I almost forgot....if you live outside the US shipping might be just a tiny bit more but not much : )

P.S. if the email link doesn't work above (which it may or may not depending upon your own computers applied applications) then just comment below. I check my blog throughout the day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update From Santa's Workshop

Hello all!

I usually post on Mondays but thought I'd share a sneak peek right before the weekend starts! As most of you know my Etsy shop is usually OPEN for business on Mondays ONLY ~ It's felt a little weird not having my shop be on it's regular schedule but the Elves have whispered a few times that they are excited that we CLOSED shop to build up our Goodie supply!! And Goodies are an understatement!!! The studio is busting at the seams right now!!! In fact some items have made their final resting place on top of our Tiki Bar in the living room where they will stay until they're shipped to their final destination! Good thing Poppa Elf (hubby) is so cool about having stuff laid out every where!!! 
We've been very busy creating new Holiday items and ideas!!! Some are Vintage inspired others are modern and fresh! We're proud to say even Martha and her staff haven't come up with a lot of the craft ideas yet!!!

So we promised a while back to show sneak peeks of what's going on so here's our first one! These light weight Lollies are Glittered to the Max! We'll have lots of fun Candy Coated Colors to choose from (in 3 different sizes too)! They look great grouped in a vase filled with Rock Candy in the base or hanging from the highest bough of your sparkly tree. How cute would these be staggered on fishing line above a child's bed on Christmas Eve after they went to sleep? "While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in Their Heads" comes to mind! When they awoke they'd know without a shadow of a doubt that St. Nick had visited in the middle of the night!
Please come back to visit us for more sneak peeks!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

And the Winner is.............

Catherine of Mrs. Toad Designs!!!!
Thank you to all who participated in Pinks & Needles First Blog Giveaway! Catherine will be receiving this handmade Holiday Cupcake Ornament made by me with lots and lots of LOVE!!!
Be sure to check out Catherine's blog at:
Mrs. Toad Designs
See you all for our Big Re-Opening of Pinks & Needles on Etsy Monday November 16th! Tons of fun Holiday gifts will be available! We'll be hosting another Blog Giveaway for the month of December - please stay tuned!

See you all for our Big Re-Opening of Pinks & Needles on Etsy! Tons of fun Holiday gifts will be available! We'll be hosting another Blog Giveaway for the month of December - please stay tuned!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last Day to Order Pin Toppers!!!!

Sorry.....didn't mean to freak you out with the scary make up but I just had to post this picture of me taken over the weekend at my friends house (Matt & Kathy) for their Pre-Halloween party!!! I dressed up like a Corpse Bride/Vampire!! It was so fun coming up with the make-up and hair. I'm not wearing a wig! That's all mine!!! And tons of hair spray! Do you see my pet Raven on top of my head? Too bad there wasn't a better shot of him. He's beak up staring at the ceiling in this one.

So today is the last day to order pin toppers that you would regularly see in my shop!! It kind of feels weird not posting new designs today but I figured since I will be closed until November 16th I might as well save some new designs until then!
I'm pretty excited about Re-Opening on November 16th! The shop will be stocked with a lot of "Grab & Go" types of gifts - so what that means is no waiting 2-3 weeks before I ship out your order!!!! I wish I could spill the beans as to what you may find in the shop but it's a secret for now!!!!

There will be about 20 different pin toppers in the shop during the holidays but please note these will take the normal 2-3 weeks to complete before shipping. I'm going to try and get some stick built up but as you know these little cuties are very time consuming so we'll just have to play it by ear : )

Monday, October 19, 2009

My First Blog Giveaway!!!!!!

Choose which blog you would like to follow by clicking on "Follow Blog" at the top of the page. I keep 4 blogs current (listed below)! Choose to follow 1 or more. The more blogs you follow the better your chances for winning! I will enter your name in once for each blog you follow : )

Pinks & Needles Blog a place to keep up to date with my Etsy shop Pinks & Needles!
California Girl Confections a place where I share recipes!
California Girl at Heart a place where I share fun things!
California Kiss Studio a place where I share art!
I will be giving away a lovely handmade surprise to the Lucky person who's name I pull from a hat on November 1st!!!!!!
Please note: you can comment here but in order to be entered into the drawing you must "follow" me at 1 or more of my 4 blogs : )
Thank you so much! I look forward to my first giveaway!!!! If you are already a follower you will automatically be entered into the drawing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

European Love

I have very fond memories of traveling through Europe about 10 years ago with my besty Mary and my brother Andy. We backpacked all through France, Germany and Italy for the bulk of our trip with a few small stops in Austria, Amsterdam and others. I would be lying if I told you I didn't eat gelato and Nutella everyday! I think I gained about 10 lbs even with all the walking we did! You could say I lived life to the fullest!!! We were there in Winter during the 50 year storm which brought 20 foot walls of snow along the streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen! It was so much fun and so memorable. These pin toppers are a reminder for me of how much I love all things European and let us not forget my ancestry too!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gingerbread House Pin Toppers

Please see the post following this one for the story on my Gingerbread Pin Toppers!

Gingerbread with a Twist!

.......the TWIST being a different way to enjoy your pin toppers!!!!I have wanted to post this idea for ages but was waiting until the holidays were upon us to share my idea of what I am calling "Candy Terrariums"! Most people use my pin toppers for their pincushions but why not expand their use! The glass jars you see here can be purchased at Wal-Mart for a very cheap price and any old decorating sugar can be used for the filler in the lower part of the jar. I just took a small piece of floral Styrofoam and taped it to the bottom of the jar, then filled it with the colorful sugar and popped the Gingerbread Pin Toppers in place! Gingerbread has always been one of my all time favorites to bake, decorate and of course eat! My dad gets very excited about good healthy food and gingerbread is no exception. Apparently molasses is very good for you because of all the trace minerals so let's just say my dad eats alot of gingerbread during the holidays!!! I'm thinking I will make one of these Candy Terrariums for him to put on his desk for Christmas.

Pinks and Needles in the Press

quilt sampler mag - cover I meant to post this in September but am a bit behind the ball as usual especially this time of year. I tend to day dream a lot about the holidays and my mind starts going crazy with fun new ideas for handmade gifts and cookie designs.....please tell me I'm not the only who does this!!!? So Pinks & Needles is featured in Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine on newsstands now through January 12th, 2010. We're on page 6 along with some cute pincushions from Sandi Henderson, Heather Bailey, Miss Rosie's Quilts and more!

Pinks & Needles in the Press

Pinks & Needles in the Press ~ Parasol Craft Magazine Issue 2I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Parasol Craft out of San Fransisco! Please go check out their website! It's honestly the best of the best as far as crafting magazines go. This months issue is dedicated to All things Kawaii! Next month the theme is Small World : ) Parasol is an online magazine so there's no hard copy - which I think is a wonderful way to save our planet's precious resources. Thanks Yas for all your hard work : ) Oh I almost forgot I should mention that this months issue is over 100 pages filled with lots of interviews, templates, tutorials, downloads and even a soundtrack!!! So cool! Photo Credits: Parasol Magazine

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Family Emergency

Hi everyone ~
Well It's been a scary past few days but it has a happy ending so I feel very blessed. It has felt really weird not having my shop OPEN for business yesterday and today but I am still playing catch up from my last batch of orders and will resume to normal next Monday.
Our dog Chester was rushed to the vet and then had to be rushed to the animal hospital over the weekend. He was diagnosed with a liver shunt last October and suffered from two seizures as a result. But ever since we put him on a special low protein diet and a synthetic liver hormone he has been episode free for a year until just a few days ago. He ate another dog's food and started having odd behavior then collapsed. He was suffering from hepatic encephalopathy which causes high ammonia levels in the brain. We thought at one point we were going to have to put him to was one of the scariest things I've ever witnessed. Our vet gave him Enulose, a steroid, Atropine and an IV...had him hooked up to the EKG machine too....poor little guy! But he was such a trooper!!! He made it through!!! We've been keeping a very close watch on him and he seems totally back to normal and the side effects have since wore off although he's been very thirsty!!!! Whew!!!! Is all I have to say!
Anyway, now that the trauma is over I can blog about it.....I don't do very well re-hashing scary details (especially in the heat of the moment) because I get so emotional but I'm finally feeling like things are returning to normal.
See you all next Monday with 3 new designs: Gingerbread Houses with a Twist!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Halloween Part 2 Pin Toppers

I have been so excited about debuting these pins because I love Halloween so much! So here they are! A cupcake topped with a witch's hat, a duo of candy corns and a spooky little Jack-o-Lantern!
Please note if you would like to purchase them and you live outside of the US the last day to order is October 5th. If you live within the US the last day to order is October 12th. Stop on by my Etsy shop Pinks & Needles - OPEN on Mondays only : )
Have a lovely day everyone!
PS I hope everyone's thinking about what they are dressing up like this year. I keep going back and forth between a vampire (because I'm obsessed with the Twilight Saga) or a dark character you might see at a masquerade ball.....hmmm.......

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cupcake Plaques

I never seem to have extra time to work on "other" projects lately but yesterday I made time to play around with my cupcake ornaments. I decided to cut them in half and mount them on mini wooden plaques! The possibilities are endless! I had to stop at these 3 but I have many more ideas swimming in my noodle : )
classic cupcake plaque
mushroom cupcake plaque
aqua posie cupcake plaque

Ladies Who Lunch

I always loved it when my mom had her bridge group over to play cards. That meant a lot of yummy food and the table decorated perfectly! My mom had a heck of a knack for "setting up"!
So in keeping with the spirit I thought of my mom whilst I sculpted and played with clay the other day. This was my first attempt at making a vase of flowers ~ why didn't I do tat sooner!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I am such a sucker for all things cherries! I love them! I gave one of my old designs (the cherries jubilee teapot) a little make over by fine tuning the cherries themselves. Not the stems are much thinner and leaf has a bit more detail. I've been wanting to make a couple of other pins to go with the teapot so here they are! A nice big fat bowl of freshly picked cherries and a teacup and saucer to match : )

Monday, September 7, 2009

French Macaron Pin Toppers

I have only been to Paris once and it was a very interesting experience for me ~ both good and bad. Unfortunately I visited at the end my long backpacking trip through Europe so needless to say I was exhausted by the time I arrived : ( But I have to say I enjoyed every minute of eating at the various patisseries!!! My favorite dessert was the macaroon. I love their shiny perfect appearance and the filling was always a surprise to my taste buds!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gnome Sweet Gnome

I don't know why Gnomes are so cute! I can't figure it out! Is it their rosey cheeks? Or their famous red pointy hats? Whatever it is I am smitten! If I could be anything other than human I would choose to be a Gnome. Tiny and small but full of life! Living amongst the mushrooms and the blossoms ~ that's where I'd like to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Once again a bit far behind

Well I can never stay on top of things - especially these days. I guess I should probably say that since hubby is planning on being in S. Africa for business very soon there seems to be a lot of stuff needing our attention. I know.......bad excuse but it's True!
Well 2 Mondays was my "Ode to Mark Ryden"! I absolutely love his paintings! He's a master painter with an incredible imagination! Please check out his website when you get a chance: Mark Ryden
As for yesterdays pin toppers....Halloween is right around the corner! Can you believe it? I really love that time of year when things start winding down here and I know cooler weather lingers somewhere close : ) So in saying that my theme for pin toppers was Halloween Part 1! Witches hats, black apples, scary skulls and couple of other goodies!
Come back to my Etsy shop next Monday for a real special treat! The theme is "Gnome Sweet Gnome"...I think these are by far my favorites!