Recent Posts

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adventures in Gardening!

Here is a little gardening before and after. A lot of my time is poured into this small bit of Earth I live on, and it's a huge part of my inspiration and creative expression. I thought I would share my gardening progression since moving here in 2008. Click on the link below to view the full album.

Have an Inspired Day!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Etsy Who?

After being introduced the the world of eBay ten years ago, and becoming a powerseller, I found myself totally immersed with the global concept of e-commerce. However, as time passed, my good friends (yes I made friends on eBay) who also were successful sellers started to feel the squeeze of eBay's increasingly oppressive fees and regulations. I even became a part of a group looking for viable alternatives to selling online, but the eBay elephant was just too big. It was an interesting dynamic to observe.

I was one of the lucky ones, who did not rely on my eBay business for the food on our table. I had become a designer and teacher at a local scrapbooking store. In addition, I had an extremely oppressive homelife/husband - a daily struggle that took it's toll on me personally and made the weight of a home-based business unbearable. (Not to worry, both have been since replaced with the total opposite:) It made the decision to leave eBay a simple choice for me. It wasn't so simple for many others.

As I was able to find success as a teacher and designer, I also saw the number of friends selling on eBay in my genre dwindle. The ones who held to their high ethical standards and personable customer service were being pushed out by large companies and people getting away with extreme fee evasion (a practice of selling low and inflating shipping prices to avoid fees). While eBay is still a household name, and still widely used by normal people like you and I, it no longer is the same place it once was.

One day in 2006, while teaching, a local long-time customer who had actually found me first on eBay, asked me if I would ever go back to eBay. I shrugged, said maybe, since it was really the only viable site of it's kind. The next thing she said would eventually have quite an affect on my life...

"Have you ever heard of Etsy?"

I had not, and it took her 2 more times of prodding me over the next couple months for me to write it down and check it out. I am so glad I did! Because, as many of you know, it developed into my Inspirations by Faith etsy store.

I love it! If you are looking for local or international, from green-minded, upcyled and recycled, from the most beautiful art, to the loveliest of vintage- then this is the place to go. Even the fashion of both established and up-coming designers is amazing. Etsy works hard to try and make sure you are not buying from the large corporations or factories in Asia, but instead, directly from the artists and vintage collectors. The very personal nature of selling this way has created a very intimate buying/selling experience like the one you might get with a local boutique shop owner (and they might sell on Etsy too!). Sellers are invested in all that they list, and shoppers of Etsy reap the rewards of the uniquely beautiful or just mouth-droppingly unique in an incredibly friendly setting.

Despite, divorce, moving away, healing, remarriage, the economy and all the insanity that comes along with those, Etsy was always there in the back of my mind. I had purchased a few items, and found myself absolutely enamored with the site as a whole. I decided in January of 2009 to officially start with a few items and keep building on. It has been a very successful experiment and it keeps growing.

I even started using the Treasury feature to help promote other sellers by curating unique collections to feature. Here is a fun one I did today!

Recently, I received a promotion from eBay to sell items for a free listing fee. I figured, why not try? It's my old stomping grounds anyway, so I didn't see any harm in posting some of my biggest sellers. What a tremendous disappointment it was. One thing that was always a boon was the traffic and web search exposure. That no longer exists as it once did- reconfirming my loyalties and satisfaction selling and buying in the Etsy marketplace.

I encourage everyone to stop by to check it out and support your local artisans. You will be astounded by the variety. And no, I wasn't paid to post this blog :) The only perk is that I get to promote a venue that directly supports artists and collectors both local and abroad. It's a place I really believe in and hope it will stick around for many many years to come.

P.S. I know many of you buy direct from me, and that is still welcomed. My local customers never have to pay shipping on local pick-up if you see something in the store you would like to purchase. Just message me for a revised invoice.

A little more info:Wikipedia link on Etsy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Chops with Lavender

Just created a new recipe last night that I wanted to share with all of you. Everyone in the family loved it (score!) and it made my taste buds dance. It has just a little bit of a spicy kick, so be forewarned.

4-6 Thick cut pork chops
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 tsp. Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
Pinch ground Cayenne red pepper
2 tbsp. Lavender leaves
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup White wine (Can be substituted with chicken broth)

In a large lidded frying pan, heat oil between medium and high until the edges of one grain of rice begins to sizzle in pan. Remove grain of rice and place pork chops in pan.  While pork chops begin to brown, sprinkle the following evenly over the pork chops: cayenne pepper, garlic, lavender leaves, and half of the ground black pepper and salt. Once the pork chop is browned on the bottom, flip over to brown other side, and sprinkle the rest of the salt and black pepper evenly.  Once both sides are brown, lift pork chops and slide onions under them to saute for about 5 minutes, letting them caramelize a bit, but not burn. De-glaze with white wine, turn heat down to lowest setting, cover with lid, and let cook for 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of pork chop.

I served the pork chops with with steamed rice and salad. If you start the rice just before starting the pork chops, and make your salad while the pork chops and rice cook, you can have your entire meal done in roughly 25 minutes. Those of you who live locally can hit me up for fresh lavender from my garden anytime :)


Recipe by Faith Swientoniowski © 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paper Posey How-To

I wanted to start out this year of blogging with one of my most popular items right now- paper posies. I use them to embellish several different types of items, including cards, wreathes, topiaries, scrapbook pages, and more.

Here is a list of items you will need:

Large flower or scallop punch or die cut (avoid ones with skinny petals)
Inspirations by Faith Color
Wash in Aquamarine
Paper piercer
Small container of warm water
Cotton swab
Protected surface

For this project, I am going to use an old Chinese newspaper as my paper base, but any paper will work well. You can use other types of color washes also. If you would like to purchase from my stock of specially formulated color washes, vintage papers, and Chinese papers, click here. You will note that I am not using protective gloves in the pictures. This is because I do not handle the flower during the dying process, but I highly suggest that protective hand wear be used to prevent staining whenever you are using color washes.

First, punch out your flowers for the project.

For this posey, I have punched five, but any number, more or less, can be used.

Pierce a whole in the center and insert your brad.

Dip posey in water, face down into the water. Hold there for about 3 seconds. 

Starting with center flower, begin crumpling petals gently towards the center. 

Repeat this with each layer until you have a crumpled wad of

Gently unfold each layer from last to first, making sure not to flatten the posey or over release. You should be able to see the center brad. 

Spray color wash to create desired effect.

Clean center gently with cotton swab to remove excess color wash.

Let dry, making sure not to touch it during this process.

Here is a picture of the final product. I can’t help but smile whenever I see these sweet little flowers. I hope you enjoy making your own as well!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating Love

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing a very dear friend marry the love of her life. Sadly, I hadn't the chance to visit her since my move from the Dayton, Ohio area to Dearborn, Michigan three years ago, so I was terribly excited to be there.  Her and her husband have not only experienced the greatest of joys together, but also have withstood the test of time, uncertainty, and struggle for those precious moments we had the sincere honor of sharing with them Saturday.   I honestly can say, seeing her for the first time in so long, coming down the aisle as a bride, touched me deeply.  Her smile was truly the brightest and most lovely light in the room. And I admit, I was just a tad emotional at that moment. 

I also had the supreme delight in seeing two other wonderful women in my life who came to share in the celebration.  All three are friendships built together during my time designing and teaching for a local scrapbooking store.  We all agree, that the best thing that ever came from our time there is, without a doubt, our relationships with one-another.  It certainly reaffirms in me that LOVE, be it romantic, friendship, or family, is the greatest gift of this human existence.  

Love you Carol, Maribeth, and Kayla!