Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Colorful Celebration

 There's a lot going on, but I want to just give quick update through something worth celebrating--the evidence of spring!!! Around the neighborhood, and in my own garden! And you know what? I'm geared up! I've just got my rose in, my bleeding hearts and what not--and I'm ready for spring to get in full swing!!

I finally got SNAPDRAGONS! They're just gorgeous. I saw them at the store...and I just couldn't help myself.

  Hope you enjoyed that. ;)


Monday, March 3, 2014

The Challenge of My Life's Race

 In the wake of the last giveaway, I'm wondering what everything I'm doing will add up to in the future. Which things proved worthwhile, which things led to a dead end, or even as they gave a little back (or not) they taught me something that helped me keep striving, just in a slightly different direction. Because it's easy to feel like all the time and expense (one and the same, sometimes) isn't going to add up to anything real. Not going to get you anything resembling that which you were striving for. But then, of course, we get some hope again, and the cycle repeats. I do believe it makes us stronger, as long as we continue with the desire to keep on, and learn all we can. It's just that the going is long and tedious when we'd really like the fruit of our labors now. Not the crumbs. It's the blessings along the way that show some promise that there may indeed be a bigger harvest along the road, and it's those times of blessings that make it worthwhile.

 personal inspiration quotes  So, whether with my shop, my writing, or just my plain desire to get out on my own--the little bits along the way help to keep my chin up. And there's no going back, because backwards doesn't promise anything. I know for certain I'll die in the traces before turning back. Actually I'll die in the traces anyway, because I'm one to just keep striving until my life is spent, no matter what I've accomplished. There's always the next thing. Something I know for certain about myself. It's not in my nature to surrender, or to find the satisfaction that makes me kick back and get lazy, even in my times of weakness. I'm always on the run. My fuel is the challenge of the race. I've already given years to things that have not yet quite yielded their fruit, and my stubborn determination is no less lacking. In the down moments I crash harder than I used to, because one does get tired. But we get back up again. I get back up again. Perhaps not very prettily, but the road of life takes grit and guts. We're going to get dirty.

personal inspiration quotes  And in the end we'll end up looking like a gladiator. Or a filthy bum, if we took the lazy path. I hope I look like a fighter. Because I have many things to accomplish. Many things I want to do. I want to make my shop successful. I want to create things that people will cherish, that will remind them of things they love. I want to be an author that gives stories that change people's hearts. I want to make movies that make people laugh and cry, and go back to their lives having learned something deep and good. I want to finally reach my fitness goals, and fall in love with the strength of my own body. I want to travel the world, get to know its people, and see what they teach me. The world is so big and life is so unimaginably wide and wondrous, that I want it to use me as a messenger and conductor of that magnificence. I pray to God every night that I will achieve my dreams. I don't want to be on my deathbed, looking back over the years and feel like they had accomplished too little. The waste of a life has to be one of the most horrible crimes. Life is an incredible power.

  So here's to taking on the challenge, and walking the line. May we be the fighters that can hold our heads high in the end.


P.S. I also need to mention that the winner of the giveaway is Sara Hughes. Congrats, Sara!!

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Bell Bliss and Out My Front Door Giveaway!

  Hey guys! It's giveaway time! Hosted by Mackenzie from Bell Bliss, and yours truly. Share with your friends, connect with new ones--just have a BLAST! Giveaway ends on Sunday!

  African Tigereye and Serpentine Dangle Earrings Collection up for grabs!!

bohemian earrings gift set

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~ Elora

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LdNaturePhotography~Sharing the Love of the Environment, through a Camera Lens

  Recently I came across Laura from LdNaturePhotography just recently on Etsy, while looking at the members of my etsy team, In Business For Life. When I looked at her shop, I was intrigued by her materials and the crisp beauty of her photos. She uses her photography to make notecards made from 100% recycled card stock. It's both beautiful, and green! How awesome is that? I just love her flower cards. The colors and lighting are just beautiful. I can't stress that enough. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to do an interview with Laura, asking about her process, and what inspired her to begin!

Thanks Laura!


What made you get into photography?

I have been taking pictures since I was a little girl. I didn’t have an actual camera, so any portion of my allowance not spent at the local gas station on treats was spent on disposable cameras. At that time, most of my pictures were of my pets; cats, gerbils, our parrot.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I got my first camera (using film at that time) and really became interested in capturing and preserving all that our earth has to offer. My parents are avid gardeners so I think that is where my original inspiration for photographing nature began. 

What makes you see the potential of a good photo?

Good question! For nature photography, I don’t really have any sort of specific criteria I follow; I usually go with whatever catches my eye at any particular moment. Certain things I tend to notice are the details of subjects; the colors or details of a flower petal, the way the light is shining through a leaf, etc. Once something catches my eye, I make sure to photograph it from many different angles and directions to make sure I don’t miss something. I think that is something I really like about most nature photography – the fact that I don’t have to feel pressured to get the perfect shot, I just let the photography process happen naturally.

Do you have a favorite photographer, someone you try to learn from?

My favorite photographer is Jim Brandenburg (http://www.jimbrandenburg.com/) who is a photographer from Minnesota (my home state). He is probably best known for his nature photography but also does incredible people photography and has done extensive work for National Geographic. Not only is he an amazing photographer, he also has a deep respect for our environment which is something I value. He and his wife started a non-profit called the Brandenburg Prairie Foundation that helps restore native prairie in Minnesota (http://jimbrandenburg.com/bpf/); a landscape that is very important but that has become increasingly rare. I am in constant awe of his photography and philanthropy. 

What gear do you use? (If you don't mind me asking). ;)

 I have a Nikon D3000, which I really enjoy. I have three lenses, one is the standard lens and I also have a 50mm f/1.4G lens for low light situations and also a telephoto lens. Then I have your typical camera gear/accessories; tripods, camera case, reflectors, a light box, lens cleaning cloths. 

When did you decide to start selling, and how did that come about?

 I started selling homemade photo cards in 2012 at a local co-op and craft shows and on Etsy in November of 2013. I had been photographing nature seriously for a couple years at this point and I wanted a way to be able to share the beautiful things I was lucky enough to capture with others. The reason I settled on cards is because through cards, people can pick out something they find beautiful and either frame it and keep it for themselves or send that beauty to their friends and family. And who doesn’t love receiving an actual card in the mail these days? I know I love it!

How is your progress with that? 

I’ve been happy with the progress at the co-op and craft shows. I’m still pretty new to Etsy but I have joined teams to become more involved and have had fun so far interacting with other Etsy members and sellers!

Anything new that you're planning? Ways of branching out?
Yes! A lot of things!
I started a blog after the first of the year and have been having a ton of fun creating posts for that. My blog posts consist of photography tips, tricks and tutorials, stories behind some of my photos, and also a weekly post with a list of free or $0.99 photography Ebooks. Within the next month, I plan to start interviewing other photographers for the blog, and also to create a photography contest calendar. I find it frustrating to find a central location to look for photography contests, so I am hoping to create something to fill that void.
I also am looking into joining Instagram and Google+ to see if that is something that makes sense for my business and photography.
Finally, I currently only sell blank cards, but I am planning on creating specific cards for birthdays, thank-yous, holidays and much more!

Have you considered doing wholesale to shops?

Yes! I sell my cards wholesale to the local co-op, and am looking to expand to other shops!

Are there other things that you're considering doing? Other venues of artistry to add to your repertoire?

One thing I am planning on doing is incorporating educational components into my photography and photo cards. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in environmental science and environmental education, so I really enjoy learning about and educating others about the environment. Whether that includes educational blog posts or fun facts on the back of my cards for example, I don’t know yet. It is something that is still in progress!
I am always looking for new things to get involved in, and new ways to expand. I love learning about new sites, forums, techniques, etc., so I enjoy researching these things and it is something I don’t ever think I’ll stop doing.

Where else might we find you?
You can find me at the sites or my email address below.

Thank you so much! 


  Thanks for joining us, Laura! I really appreciate your love for the environment, and sharing it through this medium. There is so much beauty out there, and cards are a definitely way of sharing it with people in a certain way. Can't wait to look into your other venues! And I can't wait to see how it all turns out for you, and what new things come along. God bless, and best of luck!


Tomorrow Mackenzie from Bell Bliss and I are having a giveaway for my Nomadic Earrings collection, the African Tigereye and Serpentine Dangle Earrings set. I have a lot of collections available, and I'm running a 50% off sale! Just use coupon code  TRANSCLEARANCE2013 at the checkout! I have many items that are perfect for gifts, especially for those with an eclectic taste, and a love of travel. I always love hearing that the one who got the present was very happy! 

bohemian earrings gift set

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Giveaway Winner, and Crystal Beauties~And post 100!

  First off I want to announce that the Round Robin giveaway is over! The lucky winner is Amanda Pierce! Thank you to everyone for participating. Hopefully another giveaway can be done soon!

  A few days ago we got a heavy frost that was just beautiful. It is at times like this that makes winter worthwhile--at least to those who don't appreciate the cold, only the natural preparation for the coming spring season. And I have some special pictures at the end. ;) I will say this though:

Winter is not a winter wonderland, but sometimes it turns over and shows you its gems. At those times it does feel worthwhile; speaking from the point of personal enjoyment anyway.

  And now for the surprise photos that I was so gleeful to catch (not that it was hard, only in that I realized it was there to be taken)!

Spring is on its way!!

spring buds
I believe this tree is a western beech. I looked up, saw them, and was just SO happy! Any sign of spring and I'm ecstatic!

spring buds

apricot tree buds
This is the apricot tree that had those blooms I took such a lot of pics of last year. I can't wait for it to bloom!!!

apricot tree buds
  So that was the surprise. Not sure if you're as thrilled as I am--but I'm a warm-weather oriented girl, and I'm a ravening gardener to boot. Speaking of which, my neighbor gave me a big bag of glads to plant!! One of my favorite flowers! I just fawn over them. So beautiful. So not only do I have a big bag, I have an order of them coming in with my rose too! Whoohoo! I'm going to have a ton of glads this year. I'm going to be one happy girl. 

  Well, that's all for now. Very soon I'll be posting more interviews, especially with Laura from LDNaturePhotography! She sells notecards featuring her beautiful photos, ranging from alpacas to seasons, to flowers and insects. She has some really stunning photography. I can't wait to introduce you!

  Oh, last note--I just realized something fantastic. This is post number 100!! Whoohoo! Wonder what number I'll hit by the end of the year? 

In case you're wondering, the 50% sale is ongoing! I must warn you though, some items are about to run out so you must be fast! 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Round Robin of Prizes Giveaway!!


I and several other bloggers are doing a Round Robin of Prizes Giveaway! There will be a large variety of prizes, one being my own Bermuda Blue Earrings Set Collection. So don't waste another minute! Hop on over and enter in the drawings now!!! Only lasts 36 hours!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Wintry Touch To A Troubled Soul

You know those times where it is just "one of those days" and they seem to fall in line back to back? Just those times of being in a funk you can't explain or escape, no matter how much you try to analyze or fix it? I've been having one of those times. It seems to be chronic, for the time being.

How can you fix what you can't explain?

 I guess you can't really. I guess sometimes you just got to let it go. Because, and I'm not saying at all that this is a cure, I've discovered something beautiful about winter. I may hate the cold a bit, but actually getting out and feeling that freezing touch on my skin sure makes something feel real. And making myself walk for miles in the cold gave me a release that I would not give up for the world. I needed it. I need to hold on to what sanity I have left, and it has been evidence that nature really does take you out of yourself. Things do. They matter, just being what they are. Little marvels, surrounded by a touch of cold quiet. Perhaps the cold quiet was the sort I needed for my soul at the time. I hope you enjoy the photos.

bird colony
These sparrows seem to live in this bush. It's like a colony! So cute. Whenever you walk by you can just hear the bush buzzing with all the birds hopping about in it, as if they're dropping by each other's house. So cute.

birds in flight

birds in flight

birds in flight

male house sparrow

winter sparrow pic

flower silhouette
winter prairie flowers
These are actually just the pod casings, but they nonetheless look beautiful. 

winter prairie flowers

prairie grass pic
It's not a mistake that so my portrayals of peace and quiet feature grass blowing in the wind.

prairie skies

prairie grass pic

prairie grass pic

prairie grass pic
Isn't the color interesting? It's a pity I don't take the time to observe things more closely.
prairie dog hole
Took me forever to realize what these holes were. At first, I thought the maintenance men around the area were doing work, but something was weird. Then I realized the mounds of turned dirt were too perfect. I realized they were being formed from beneath--so I thought moles. But then, recently, I realized these mounds are connected! "Oh duh--it's a prairie dog colony!" And by the way, prairie dogs are ADORABLE.
hawk watching
I tried to chase this rascal down, discreetly. But my camera was getting jacked up on me, and the punk kept moving. At first I was going to give up, then as I walked along I couldn't help by try again. He flew away. The punk. Am I EVER going to get a good closeup? Has made me decide to invest in a better camera if I'm lucky and get the summer job I got last year.

strange berry bush
Aren't these beautiful? I never realized they grew along the road to the far side. It took chasing down a hawk to actually notice them. How interesting!

strange berry pic
strange berry bush

strange berry bush
The deeper part of bush was so craggy and dark, it was interesting. I took pictures to use as inspirations for illustrations for a children's story I've been working on for a long time. The hero is a mouse named Pittikin Wooling. I've thought of also using the prairie dogs colony and the birds' bush as inspiration as well. Too cute and interesting to pass up.

glass shards
This tree has been there for as long as I remember. Although I don't appreciate littering, sometimes seeing bits of things someone has left behind is intriguing. I can just imagine them sitting there, against the tree, looking over the fields.