Friday, May 30, 2008

Tickled by Flickr

It has been on my To Do list now for quite some time, but I finally got around to setting up my Flickr account yesterday. And I must say, that I am just tickled. How fun! What a great way to organize your photos and share them with others. At first I thought I would use it strictly for my business, as a marketing tool, but the more I think about it, it is a fantastic way to share personal photos with friends and family too!

It's only been one day, but I already have lots of new contacts and even started two new groups. Sassy Kids & Sassy Baby, where members can post photos of all things SASSY! I plan on reviewing the photo pools from time to time for things to feature right here on this blog.

Checkout my photostream at Flickr at:

Join one of my groups!
Sassy Kids
Sassy Baby

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kokeshi Dolls are not from China

My daughter brought home a Kokeshi Doll yesterday that she made in art class. She told me it was a doll in China that you give to someone who has done something nice. Now, keep in mind that she is just in First Grade and some of that "explanation" may have been diluted throughout the day. So, I decided to find out more about these dolls.

The one on the left is my daughter's doll, the one on the right is a Kokeshi doll I found on Etsy by Zing. Is the resemblence just striking? But I will have to ask my daughter why her doll's hair is pink. Maybe it is a punk Kokeshi? A Punk Kokeshi in a Field of Flowers. By the way, there are 10 pages of Kokeshi items on Etsy!

As for the origins of these little dolls, here is what I found:
First off, and most importantly, I learned that these beautiful wooden dolls come from Japan, not China. Like most things, some are made in China, but traditionally they are a Japanese Doll. I really should have a talk with that Art teacher.

Little is known of the early history of Kokeshi Japanese Wooden Dolls. One school of thought believes that Kokeshi dolls have their origins in the practice of spiritualist religion. Wooden dolls were thought to contain the spiritual essence of the dead and were often made for honorary remembrance.

The modern history of Japanese Kokeshi dolls began in the latter part of the Edo Era (1603-1867). Originating in the Tohiku region of northern Japan, famous for it's hot springs and rejuvenating spa waters, Kokeshi Dolls acted as an important source of extra income for local artisans known as Kijiya (which means woodworker in Japanese), who specialized in wood work and the production of household utensils such as trays and wooden bowls. In severe winters these Kijiya craftsmen began making "Kokeshi Dolls" to sell as souvenirs to visitors who frequented the local hot springs. The dolls acted not only as souvenirs but also as massage tools used by the bathers to tap their shoulders whilst enjoying the warming benefits of the hot springs.

The Kokeshi dolls were very simple in design, originally made on hand-powered lathes. Traditional Kokeshi dolls had common characteristics that consisted of a basic cylindrical limbless body and a round head. Though the first dolls might have been unpainted, today most Kokeshi are painted in bright floral designs, kimonos, and other traditional patterns. Colors used were red, yellow and purple. As all the dolls are hand painted, no two faces are alike. This is perhaps the greatest charm of the Kokeshi. Some dolls are whimsical, happy and smiling, while others are serious.

Soon their popularity spread throughout Japan and they became favoured as wooden toys for those unable to afford porcelain dolls. In addition the simple rounded shapes of the dolls lent themselves as early teething rings for young babies.

Kokeshi dolls traditionally represented young girls and they quickly became popular for their depiction of feminine beauty. In addition their simple charm and association with childhood meant that they were often given as gifts when a child was born, as birthday presents or as symbols of remembrance when a child died. In addition Kokeshi Japanese Wooden Dolls were popular with the children of farmers as it was widely thought that they would promise a good harvest, as it was believed that it would create a positive impression on the gods if children played with the dolls.

The woods used for Kokeshi vary. Cherry is distinguished by its darkness. Mizuko or dogwood is softer and used extensively. Itaya-kaede, a Japanese maple is also used. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used to make a doll. Today, Kokeshi is recognized as one of the traditional folk arts of Japan.
Despite their common features two schools of design exist, Traditional Kokeshi and Creative Kokeshi.

Traditional Kokeshi are for the main part still only produced in the six prefectures of the Tohoku region. The twelve schools of design here all exhibit distinctive features that allow experts to tell exactly where they have been produced and often by whom.

Creative Kokeshi do not follow the traditional designs originating from the Tohoku region and instead have an unstructured inspiration which is completely free in terms of shape and painting, the only traditional constraint being their manufacture by means of the lathe. Unlike traditional kokeshi, they do not display any of their distinctive local colour nor the techniques that had been passed down through the generations. They simply represent the creative thought and ability of the craftsman.

Traditional and Creative crafted dolls have become a cause for celebration in Tohoku and across Japan. Every year, in early September, people gather in Naruko Onsen where craftsmen from across the nation gather to honor Kokeshi in a competition where the number one prize is an award from the Prime Minister.

There are many different styles of Kokeshi, but there is one philosophy that all Kokeshi dolls share, and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. This philosophy is extolled at the website: Ivor Conway has traveled extensively throughout Japan and was charmed by the Japanese art form of Kokeshi. The website is a global resource intended to further knowledge of these simple but elegant works of art.

Article Source:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Double Feature

I am featured on a few sites this week! Two sites are hosting giveaways of my Bitty Block Pendants. Both of these sites are doing their very first giveaways, so I wanted to help spread the word for them.

The first feature is hosted at a fun little blog called DIY Treasure Trove. Kristen has been nice enough to feature my Custom Photo Tile Pendant as the sites very first giveaway. DIY Treasure Trove is a blog that features artists/crafters and their creations. Kristen updates every day, with new treasures, so make sure you check back often! She also has other great content such as Artist of the Month, Interviews, Tutorials, Competitions, etc.

The second feature is on a new blog called Generation Mom or sometimes known at Kblurbs. Two winners will be selected in this contest. Winner has their choice between the It's a Boy or It's a Girl pendant.

And, the site is also hosting an online jewelry party where you can save 10% on your entire order at my website. Check it out

The Art of Craft has also selected me as their Featured Artist this week. This is great blog to learn more about designers and what inspires them.

Whew! It is a busy week here at Little Bugs . . .

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday, A Day for Website Catch Up

Marty is making the move! I have officially declared Friday as the day where I catch-up on my website. This is the time when I take all of the new items I listed in my LBB & Bitty Block Etsy shops and add them to my website. I always feel quite accomplished at the end of a Friday. What a nice way to head into the weekend? Today will be a very busy day, as I have so much stuff to load. I must have over 30 new designs of Scrabble Tile Pendants (like Marty) alone!

This week I also cleaned up my Add a Charm section. And I am so happy to now have Charm It! charms now available at Little Bugs Boutique. These fabulous charms can be added to any of our bracelets and necklaces to give it special meaning. With even more great styles to come, your little bugs will just LOVE these enamel & crystal charms by High Intencity.

I will be adding even more High Intencity Jewelry to the site over the next couple of weeks, so keep posted. Since 1993 High IntenCity has been creating fun, fashionable accessories and gifts for girls. Always innovative and of the highest quality, this fashionable merchandise has branded them a leader in the girls' accessory industry.

I guess I should get back to work! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Ballet Recital

On Tuesday my middle daughter had her first Ballet Recital. Following in her big sister's footsteps, she started dancing this year at Longwood Performing Arts. Dare I say, she may be a little better than her older sister was at this age?

She was in Pre-School Ballet this year and the performance was done in-studio, but it was just as exciting for her as it is when my older daughter dances on the big stage. She was absolutely adorable and, in my un-biased opinion, was the star of the show. It was the royal treatment the entire day for her with a trip to the salon in the morning and a celebratory lunch after the recital with family and friends. It was a very nice afternoon.

Congratulations on your very first recital, my little bug! See you on the big stage next year!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Buried Treasury

What a great Mother's Day this has been so far and it is only 9:45am. I woke up to find that my Bittty Block Etsy Shop has made it to the front page of Buried Treasury. Whoo Hoo! How totally awesome! If you haven't discovered Buried Treasury yet, you must head over there RIGHT NOW!

Buried Treasury is presented by Timothy Adams Design, a extremely talented artist who "brings metal to life" (that's one of his pieces on the left). What a wonderful service he is providing here for his fellow Etsyians. Thanks so much!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Meet Marty

I would like to introduce Marty, the Black Bird pendant.

Marty is the newest member of the Bitty Block family. He made his debut this morning in my Etsy shop and is already got quite a following. Marty is the absolute nicest black bird I have ever met. He likes to hang out on my work table and really doesn't make too much noise (except when he is hungry). You should really have him over for a visit! But please don't bake him in a pie.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye

I say Hello!

Thanks to Little Tile Gnome for including me is this fun Etsy treasury. That's my green HI pendant there in the middle.

If you happen to be looking for a unique way to say Hello, Hi, Bonjour or Aloha, you'll find some here.

Goodbye for now!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's a Bitty {Block} Sale!

Is it just me or does it seem like there is a new Scrabble Tile Pendant maker popping up everyday? I am loving all the variety of patterns and styles that are available out there, but of course, I am still partial to my own brand of pendants, Bitty BlockTM.

And now is a great time to stock up on your favorites. Now through May 15th, when you buy 3 individual Pendants in my Etsy Shop (excluding photo, logo & dangle pendants) you will receive a 4th pendant (of equal value) FREE. Simply enter the code "B3G1" and your Free Pendant selection in the "message to seller" section.

Isn't that just SASSY?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Isn't that Cute?

I just realized that my Birthday Girl Bracelet was featured on Cuteable while I was on vacation last week. What a nice surprise!

If you haven't discoverd this amazing site yet, check it out! It is a full of all things, well, CUTE.

This bracelet is still available in my Etsy Shop. I think it really is too cute for any little girl's birthday.

We're Back!

We are all back in full swing this morning after our trip to Disney last week. My girls had a blast and they are still deciding which ride was their favorite. My oldest is just so proud of herself that she got to go on Splash Mountain. Funny, I thought she'd be more excited about getting to go on Expedition Everest. We also went on the newly enhanced (although we couldn't tell what was enchanced) Haunted Mansion and my middle daughter annouced that she "NOT going on that ride ever AGAIN"!

My husband took one more day of vacation today and I am very grateful as he is helping out with getting orders out the door today. There was quite a pile sitting here when we returned!

Here's one of my favorite pics from our trip. I am finding it harder and harder to take pictures of three skirming kids, but I managed to snap this one on our way into the Animal Kingdom one morning.