Sunday, December 4, 2016

And the Winner Is.....

jen_marie226 of Instagram!

You've won Shannon Hayes'  The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook!

Congratulations! Please contact me via email to complete delivery! Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway! More to follow!

Happy Homemaking!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Will You Take the Pledge to Support Small Business Saturday?

Small businesses contribute to 55% of all jobs and 54% of all sales in the USA. If you are shopping this holiday season, it is crucial to support your favorite local stores! 

Most of you who know me well know that I tend to operate by the following principles...

However, sometimes I just have to shop. When I do, I strive to shop local and support local business owners in my community.

Small Business Saturday is a movement to remind people to support local businesses and keep our communities thriving in the midst of a Big Box, 'Black Friday' world. 

Fundera, which helps small businesses get the funding they need to be successful, explains why small businesses are so integral to communities here. Please follow the link, then take the pledge to support Small Business Saturday on November 26th!

Below is a list of small businesses local to my area! 
Hunny Bunny Designs Handmade stackable bracelets, ready made and custom. 
Breezy Quarters  Handmade Soap and Skincare with High Quality Ingredients for the Whole Family. 
Dinglehopper Decor Props, Custom Accessories, Calendars and Ornaments
Origami Owl Custom Jewelry
Hunter's Headquarters South Carolina's Home for all Your Shooting Sports Needs
Main & Maxwell Art by Hand Gallery and Boutique featuring and operate by local artists
Abbeville Sporting Goods  Abbeville Screenprinting, Awards & Embroidery
Aromas Village Coffee Restaurant and Coffee Shop featuring items by local artists and craftspeople
The Pantry Shoppe Deli and More
Hobby & Garden Center Garden Center and Toy Store
Emerald Farms Health Food Store, Toy Store, Gifts and Antiques, Goat's Milk Soap and Products, Train and Hobby Shops, Herb Gardens
Hospice Store Thrift Shop 
Rudd's Camera and Video Photographic Services and Supplies
H.H.Turner Jewelers Fine Jewelry, Custom Jewelry, Jewelry Repair Services

There are so many more, and many in your own communities as well! Please step out and support your local businesses tomorrow and during this holiday season! Take the Pledge! Shop Local!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Radical Homemakers of South Carolina First Official Meeting and Giveaway!!

Over the years, I've experienced quite a shift in perspective. Twenty years ago, for example, my focus was purely on career, and what kind of dynamic one I could (and should- I was a child of 80s entitlement after all) have, and how successful and prosperous that career would make me. Etc., etc., it gets quite boring if I go on because it's basically the story of every young lady my age who watched Working Girl.

However, times change and so do we. Twenty years worth of experiences, including grad school, motherhood, and working often more than one job to make ends meet have lead me to realize that, at the end of the day, when we are tired and dragging and exhausted by the world, there is one safe, almost holy place we retreat to.


What makes our home such a sacred place isn't trendy furniture, mod wall decor or stainless steel everything, it's us. It's the story of our little family, in photos and child-rendered art and postcards on the wall. It's the smell of something baked earlier in the day that lingers in the air for hours. It's the inherited antiques and handmade items that remind us where we came from, and it's our faith and the joys of a life simply lived to remind us where we are going. It's mending a beloved shirt and picking one's supper from a backyard garden. It's a feeling of taking care of ourselves, others, and the earth through simple living and honoring nature's cycles. It's stepping out of the fast consumer pace of mainstream society into something a little...bit...slower.

I discovered Shannon Hayes' book, Radical Homemaking, at the perfect time of my life; a time when I was coming to terms with who I really was and what I really wanted from life, and trying to wrap my brain around how I could have gotten to such a dramatically different mindset from where I started. Hayes' book laid it all out and made something painfully clear - it just makes sense. For the sake of our families, our communities, and our environment, there must be change in how we live our daily lives.

And this change must start at home.

It isn't easy or simple to change one's lifestyle overnight; my journey took years and involved coming full-circle back to faith and accepting the idea of inter-dependence over independence. As a single mother, I have to be a breadwinner as well as homemaker, but my heart is fully centered on my family and making the most of the time I don't have to be at work (Luckily for me, working in education, I can enjoy more time off that typical careers offer!) Over the past few years, I've found amazing ways to save money vs. having to work additional jobs to make more money, which has opened up new paths in our lives for friendship and connection with like-minded others. Trading, bartering, using less, reducing I type this, three small baked pumpkins cool on the stove. Decorative? For a short while, maybe, but they will soon become pie filling, and their big brother outside will become pumpkin butter next week. This little bit of work is just a tiny taste of what a producing home looks like. Just like last year, the majority of our holiday gifts this season are handmade, either by ourselves our others. And much of it is edible.

Small steps towards stronger, healthier families, communities, and environments. Lifestyle changes that will make a lasting imprint on our children and provide for them the groundwork to leading more sustainable lives. If this interests you, please consider joining or creating a Radical Homemakers Group in your area! (our South Carolina based group page is here!) If you are in my area, consider attending our first official meeting next week, where we will be crafting holiday garlands (inspired by this post by Faye at Blessed Hearth, one of my favorite blogs!) and eating and drinking yummy homemade things. To kickstart our group's first official meeting, I am giving away Hayes' popular book, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking and Good Living with Pasture-Raised Foods.***

To participate in the giveaway, leave a comment below with your name and email address! Extra entry if you share this post on social media (mention in your comment that you did this!)  And, if you are already in the SC based FB group, comment on the blog post on that site for an extra entry as well!

Happy Homemaking! Will be blogging soon about keeping the holidays simple and the importance of Small Business Saturday (coming up next week!)

***Giveaway open to US residents only! So sorry my foreign readers but shipping costs on the book are just insane! :-(

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fall Pow Wows....and Preparing

Yesterday, we released the small Box turtle we were fostering back into the wild, so that he could eat eat eat before his hibernating instincts kick in. I had planned to keep him a couple more weeks, but I grew weary at seeing him pressed against the side of his container, little feet up, looking out. Confinement, even when well-intended, can seem so cruel sometimes. And while it pained my heart to let him go, I knew it was the best thing for him in those moments.

Look closely...
My son is becoming a very confident, independent young man who also desires freedom, a bit more right now than I am honestly willing to give. Like the small turtle, he wants out - out into the world. He uses terms like 'quest' and 'adventure' and I can remember being his age and asking my own parents for permission to sleep alone in a tent at the far end of our property. The small turtle took baby steps into the wild; my son wants to run and leap into it as most young men do. And while I don't want to confine him, I am still a mother, and mothers hold on tight. We also prepare - prepare our homes, prepare food, prepare our young to go out into the world. The first two things we do instinctively, sometimes almost mindlessly, it seems. The last one, well....

This weekend we attend the Palmetto American Indian Association's 10th Annual Powwow. 

Grand Entry
Grand Entry
 Summer here in the South is intensely hot; we spend more time indoors that usual, too much time indoors, really. So when Autumn finally comes around, it's liberating, and weekends are sacred times spent together, getting out more often, and attending as many Autumn powwows as we can. 

I grew up attending and dancing in pow wows; it was a huge part of my youth and some of my best memories with family are from pow wows. I introduced my son to pow wow dancing as soon as he could take a few steps; he was 4 when he danced solo for the first time. Of course, in keeping with tradition, all of his regalia was handmade by me or passed down to him from someone else. I danced too, and was thrilled to be passing on to him these traditions.

Solidarity with Standing Rock is so important right now.
Last year's rains and subsequent flooding meant that we didn't attend any fall pow wows at all. It took us most of the winter to recover and come spring pow wows, we were still catching up, it seemed. Then the smothering, stifling heat of a Southern Summer settled in all around us. I read. Painted. Took long (and very early or very late) walks with my son. Took care of home and hearth. Gardened. Played. Lived. Loved. But we didn't go out and about too much, especially during the middle of the day. Naps took the place of afternoon outings. 

Edisto River on the drum
Pow Wows are much more than dancing. Culture, history, the ways of our people...this is a place to learn, a place where it all comes alive.
However, the first cooler days of fall have gotten us up and at 'em early on Saturday mornings, eager to get out more often, to quest and adventure, to hit the pow wow trail, see old friends, make new friends, teach my son, as he steps towards becoming a man, the importance of culture and heritage. To instill in him the stories and the traditions that will guide him on his path.

We watched the little turtle we released for a good while, watching the path he made as he went deeper and deeper into the woods, further and further away from us. We could only choose when to let him go; we couldn't choose for him what trails he would make or follow. My heart ached just a little as he disappeared from sight, making his way, instinctively.

With our children it is like this, times infinity. We spend so much time preparing them that we don't even think about what we are, ultimately, preparing them for. We just do it, instinctively. In the three hours since I began writing this post, I had to pause numerous times. I've washed the week's laundry and made breakfast, taken care of animals and checked on skinned knees. I've helped search for lost things, put a pot of beans on to cook for coming week's meals, hung laundry out on the line to dry and prepared the gift for my Mother's birthday celebration later today. I know very few artists, artisans and writers who have hours of uninterrupted time to hone their crafts. No. Most I know work in this same way - constantly pausing. Always preparing.

Fry bread life!
For the next few years I will prepare my son to move towards manhood. For the next few weeks, I will prepare for coming pow wows in Georgia and South Carolina. For the past few days I prepared the little turtle to be released. Today I prepare for the party this afternoon and food and clothing for the coming week. The morning is cool; the earth is letting go of summer to prepare for winter. 

Mothers are always preparing. 

I was inspired to go out to more Pow Wows this autumn by Evenbrite's Get Out More Often (GOMO) campaign, which is all about spending your money on experiences this fall rather than material things.  For information on how they can help you plan your next event, e-support ticket sales and other features, including discounted options for non-profits, please visit their event management page. For more information on pow wows in your area,visit or Six Directions Traders Pow Wow Page.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recess and Redo, Turtle Shells and Memories

After work I attend an art reception, where my piece wins an Honorable Mention. I'm stoked by this given the caliber of work in the show, and also because I am dipping my toes back into the arena of exhibiting my art after an almost three year break. But it's a school night, and after a bit of socializing I hurry home with my son so we can begin homework and end-of-the-day routines. First, however, he grabs my hand shovel and I follow him into the woods, aware of the quickly diminishing sunlight. It always seems darker deep in the woods, I think, as he digs with the small shovel until he finds what he is looking for - a fat, writhing earthworm. We are fostering a young Box Turtle for a couple of weeks before releasing him back into the wild. The survival rate of these little guys is pretty low, and we wanted him to have a fighting chance. However, in a short time he'll need a foraging area about the size of a football field, and we can't provide that, so we'll be letting him go. No matter how good one's intentions are, too often wild things die in captivity - first the spirit, then the body.

At my son's school, there is an occasional special day called Recess or Redo. On this day, students have the choice to enjoy a variety of sports-based recess activities or redo work that they may not have done their best on. I love this concept. You can enjoy a bit of fun and freedom from regular school routines...or you can go back and change the final outcome of a test, assignment, etc. by redoing it.

It would be nice to have a recess and redo in life, wouldn't it? I groan many mornings lately when I check Facebook and discover it's dredged up particular memories from a few years ago. Joking with a friend over coffee one evening, I made the comment that sometimes I wish I could disable that memory timeline feature. "Don't you just wish you could go back and not have wasted so much time and energy on mess that didn't deserve it instead?" She says, and we laugh. Recess or Redo, I think.

I don't believe everything is a lesson. I believe some things are just gloriously poor choices that we make, usually when we are trying to confine ourselves to inauthentic ideas of who we are or should be. I'm not proud of the times when I chose to not respect myself and who I am by allowing myself to be treated poorly or to be in a relationship that wasn't right for me because I felt I needed someone else to be whole. I don't look for lessons in all the choices I made regarding this, and given the chance, yes, I would redo - or rather undo - a few memories, ones which resulted in my losing focus on my goals, which took years to get back and, as my friend said, ultimately amounted to just a lot of wasted time and energy.

Would I redo every failed relationship? Of course not. I wouldn't redo meeting my son's father because then I wouldn't have the handsome, amazing boy who is the light and love of my life. I moved across the country for love once, and I wouldn't redo that either, because the experiences I gained from that time of my life were amazing. These were ones where I truly learned lessons about who I am and who I am becoming. Were it not for these lessons, I, too, might have died in captivity years ago. First my spirit, then my body. A few since then, however...yeah...I cringe when Facebook spontaneously pops up with unpleasant (to me now) memories. Not because of the people in them, no. I cringe because of me, and how out of touch I must have been with who I really am to have even created those memories to begin with. That's what I'd really like to redo -  my choice to settle for much less that I deserve, to remain deep in those woods even when I knew darkness was approaching.

A friend calls to ask me if I would like to have three Box turtle shells that he found in the woods. He's collected them over the years, but now feels the call to let them go."I thought of you," he says, and I smile. Twenty-five years ago, my father brought me turtle shells from the wilds of Florida because when he found them, he thought of me. In my son's room, there is a rattle that I made from a turtle shell that I found in the woods near our home when he was an infant. He carried it for years when he danced in pow wows. Now it has a special place because it, too, has the power to call forth memories. Good memories. Memories of life. Memories of dancing.

There is a full circle in this, in seeing ourselves as the true, wild beings that we are, able to remain in captivity for only short time periods before withering away, no matter how carefully cared for, because the space we need to grow just isn't there. As I am writing this, my son runs downstairs. He's found a box we were missing, a small box of toys and mementos that were mine when I was a child. We have been searching for this little box, afraid it was lost in the flood last year. But he's found it, and together we open it.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Being Outdoors vs. Being 'Outdoorsy'

Someone asked me if I was 'outdoorsy' type of person a while back, and I wasn't sure how to respond because I don't know all the connotations that term is meant to imply. And I don't really like labels that categorize me as one type of person or another.

But this week, I did something that was really was so simple, yet it made me feel youthful and fully in the moment, outdoors.

My son attended a Lego camp at a local university, which is about half an hour drive away in the middle of the day and last for three hours. A dear friend lives in this town but we weren't able to connect on the first day of the camp, So there I was, three hours to kill in a small university town where nearly everything, including the local coffee shop, (bummer!) was closed for summer holidays.

So, I took my trusty Hello Kitty and trade picnic blankets, which are always in back of the car, spread them out under a nice shade tree, grabbed my knitting, and had a most pleasant afternoon in the summer air, at one point even taking a nap!

Working on a pair of matching hats for twin girls coming in October! 
It seems such a small thing but how often do we, as adults, enjoy simple time outside without boating on lakes, swimming in beaches, or driving for hours to find mountains to climb? How often do we just spread a blanket on the ground outside in the shade and simply relax?

Though it is mid-summer here, on this day I was blessed with overcast sky and a breeze which made temps feel cooler. In the South, summer is often the great exodus from outdoors, especially during midday, due to the heat. Busy towns look like ghost towns between noon and 5pm. So I was pretty much on my own, minus a bit of occasional traffic passing by, but that was okay too.

My view!
I have spent time in Europe and lived in the North, and there I always saw people spread out blankets enjoying outside time in pleasant weather, not doing anything more strenuous than perhaps tossing a frisbee on a nice afternoon. Parks and university lawns and public places would be dotted with color as people found and took their places with picnic baskets and toys for small children who might be present. I think maybe here in the South we take pleasant weather for granted a bit, especially in summer when a cool day randomly inserts itself in the midst of almost triple-digit temps. Had my friend been free that afternoon, or the coffee shop been open, I might not have enjoyed this time outside, either!

Outside time doesn't have to be grand or involve doing 'outdoorsy' things (which I think means boating, hiking, swimming, etc.) But fresh air and time out-of-doors is good for mind, body and soul. I don't believe one needs to necessarily drive many miles to enjoy time outside in nature - my hours on the university grounds were rejuvenating and restful, and such a simple thing to accomplish, and something I can do anytime in my own neighborhood when weather allows.

So the next pleasant day, when you have a few hours to spare, spread a blanket on the ground, grab a good book or fun project and a bottle of water, and enjoy some outside time. You don't have to break a sweat, I promise!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Colonial Williamsburg Vacation 2016!

I read recently that people who travel tend to go back to the same place over and over instead of visiting new places, and I thought...hmmmmm...yes, guilty as charged here too, as we go to not only the same destinations but stay in the same lodgings over and over as well!

Isle of Palms, you have all of my heart!
So I decided this year we'd begin to travel more often, to different places than before as well as keep returning to our favorite destinations. (Yes, it is possible to budget so that you can travel more - as a solo parent on one income I've learned a trick or two about this, but that's a blog for another day!) Historic Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia had been on my wish-list of destinations for a while now, and we really had a great time visiting! I can not say enough about this amazing place!

The simple beauty of scenes like this greeted the eyes at every turn.
 I called and spoke to travel planners and got a great deal on a family packaged. We stayed at the Williamsburg Woodlands, which was a 10 minute or so walk down a lovely brick path to the Colonial City, passing a working windmill and an 18th century homestead along the way.

You have arrived!
The next few photos I will allow to speak for themselves. History, which we love in my family, really came alive for us here on this vacation. I tell my son "A good trip changes you. You come back, but you aren't the same, and that's the goal of travel." This was definitely one of those trips. We learned so much!

Everything is authentic. The blacksmith shop makes nails and other things used in construction here.

From keeping a couple of sheep and chickens to lush flower and vegetable gardens, how people use the space of their yards was very inspiring, practical and of course, sustainable.

Colonial boy for a day!

Witt House, where General George Washington prepared for the infamous Siege of Yorktown

It's not every day one gets to discuss the founding of our country with it's first president!
Or touch the stair railing - original to the home - that he also surely touched on his way up the stairs so long ago!

Colonial Bee Skein 
Original 18th Century Apothecary jars. Still my heart!
Just another breathtaking view...

Governor's Palace
Of course I visited the 18th century coffee shop, where I sampled drinking chocolate - the Colonials drank their chocolate in tiny mugs to deflect the high cost of tea! Coffee was a favorite drink as well during that time period, preferred over tea, actually! I didn't get any photos of that experience, too involved in the moment, but these picture hung over the mantel!

Passed this lovely meadow walking in to the city each day. 

The march to the infamous Siege of Yorktown...

...with fife and drum in tow!

It was toasty - Virginia is further North, but still a Southern state - with summer in full swing, but it's the Tidewater region, which meant sea breezes and overcast days made for very pleasant weather during our entire stay. This allowed for much enjoying of the Williamsburg Woodlands' pool and waterpark as well!
We learned and saw so much, I can definitely see that this a place we will likely visit again one day. I found the vacation package to be affordable and well worth the cost. We didn't make it to nearby Yorktown or Jamestown, too enraptured with the Colonial City itself, but we did head over to Williamsburg to visit the Colonial Art Museum, where I easily could have spent the entire day. Different seasons offer different opportunities for visitors; for example, sheep are sheared, wool is carded, spun and dyed at certain times of year and planting takes place certain times of year, just like in the Colonial times. I'm told the Christmas season there is especially magical, as it the harvest season. I want to return for them all!

 I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into one of our travels. Where will you go this summer?:-)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

On 'Being' Home

Earlier this week, my son completed the elementary (primary) school years, and one of the plots we tend in our church’s community garden produced its first harvest, two lovely yellow squash.

My son’s elementary school years coming to a close and the first harvest from the garden intertwined, connecting in a symbolic way not lost on me as I brushed away foliage that evening to pull the squash. It had been an emotional day. The ending of the elementary years are, in essence, the end of childhood, at least young childhood. Sorry for the cliché, but it is truly the end of an era.

Endings and beginnings, however, overlap without our noticing most times. In the garden, I was pleased to see how quickly the small cucumber seedlings are sprouting into hearty vines. We want to try our hand at making pickles this year, but I don’t know if just two vines will be enough. I may have to supplement with a few cukes from the local farmer’s market, but that’s okay. Still, given how robustly our other plants are producing, it’s possible we’ll have all we need for a few jars of bread and butter pickles right here.

These were my thoughts as I perused our plots, the significance of the day and all it symbolized resting somewhere comfortably until I was fully ready to process it.  Parenting alone, I've often worried that I am not enough, or that there will come a time when I am not enough, but I have sown seeds in my son, seeds I hope will take root as he heads towards the adolescent years - seeds of kindness, compassion, spirituality, a love of old things, simpler times, and how to find joy in doing the work needed to keep the world – or at least our little slice of the world – spinning.  I hope that the example I strive to set for him through my own life will be enough, but I don’t know. As he gets older, there may be times when he needs others to step in, to sow seeds that fill the spaces I can’t.

And this is okay. Just as it takes a community of gardeners to fill the plots in our garden, it takes a community of teachers, coaches, friends, family members, etc. to help parents guide children as they journey through adolescence and into adulthood. The roots I've given him will hold him firm as he grows towards his own unique destiny.

Returning home one evening earlier this week after a walk, we smelled the lingering aroma of our dinner as I unlocked the door. "Smells like home," he said, and I had to smile. I, too, can remember coming up the steps of the house I grew up in, breathing in the scent of a home-cooked dinner on the stove, and thinking, smells like home.

It's the little things, the simple things, that ground us, that create us, that define family and home to us. My greatest blessing, my highest calling, is creating and being 'home' for my son. And it's a fine life's work. :-) 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stylish, Handmade, One-of-a-Kind Fashion: Natticakez Crafts on the Blog Today!

I love going to fairs and festivals and checking out all the handmade items. I never ceased to be amazed at the ingenuity and creativity of the artists I meet at these events. I'm especially intrigued by people who combine two of my favorite things, fashion and the handmade, and Natalie Davis of Natticakez Crafts is currently reigning supreme on my list of awesome  fashionistas with her handcrafted necklaces!

 A self-professed 'girl of many hats', Natalie considers herself foremost to be a sister, daughter, aunt and friend and a self-proclaimed 'purple-nista,' - a serious lover of all thing purple! She is also a music and movie lover; traveler; poet and of course, artist. 
Though she has lived in major metropolitan cities like Miami and Toronto, she has made Greenville her home for the past seven years.  "I have loved my life here," says Natalie. "It was a bit of an adjustment at first, but since I’ve been out and about in the community and networking with so many amazing people, it’s really helped me come out of my shy shell."

"Natticakez Crafts was not always Natticakez 'Crafts'," she states. "It started as a nickname given to me by a close friend. Years later, I was that friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter and student that looooved handmade gift giving.  I would make cards, baskets, books, personalized cd’s, and picture frames for gift-giving. Then I starting making diaper cakes filled with gifts and supplies for baby showersFrom there, it led to a few towel cakes and candy cakes that were given as gifts and centerpieces."

"Crafting started for me when I was a young girl. My grandmother has always been that motivational cheerleader in my corner, encouraging me, and over the years my creativity has taken different forms. However, it always tells my story of pain, joy, accomplishments, successes and failures. When I’m creating a new item, it helps me escape the rest of the world. For me, art is the only way to run away without leaving home sometimes."

Natalie shares my passion for the handmade and disdain for mass-produced goods. "In my opinion, handmade work has abundantly more value than anything made in China or manufactured somewhere. It’s my passion, creating something that I would give to my own loved ones or would wear for myself. It’s also the smile on the recipients face when I share with them something that is a part of who I am."

Natalie also enjoys blending old and new in the creation of her designs. "I am very, very particular about what I use. I carefully select the t-shirts and neckties I find in resale shops, and I also frequent retail stores such as Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Michael’s for specific materials."

Natalie's creations are so unique, I had to pry a little to find out more about her creative process! "My ideas come from any and everything. For example, I love the colors and patterns of neckties and seeing what kind of combinations I can create by bringing them together. I take ideas from jewelry I already have; watching television; the newest trends; and always adding the Natticakez twist to each and every piece! I like to challenge myself to see how I can outdo the last piece I made!"

 "Fashion and coordinating my accessories has been a part of who I am since forever, maybe as far back as my adolescence years. Back in the early 90’s, I used to wear coordinating scrunchies in my hair that matched whatever colors were in my outfit. I was also the first girl in my high school to wear those black and white high top Fila sneakers! Even though I didn't always have the newest styles, I thought creative. I bought tons of gold and silver jewelry (and still do!) but I wanted an alternative accessory that would be unique."

 I can totally relate to Natalie's love of being different and standing out from the crowd while still maintaining a sense of style. "I went online and discovered a whole world of fabric accessories, then let my mind and creativity take over." she states. "Handmade, one-of-a-kind items will allow you to be fashionable while also being unique!"

With one of Natalie's necklaces, you are guaranteed to have something no one else has, and there is no right or wrong way to style them. The designs are suitable for a variety of occasions -  going out for the evening; and afternoon cook out; drinks with the girls; or to the office with a nice pant or skirt suit. 

"It’s about stepping out of the box of mainstream accessories while not even realizing that your also creating the 'Girl, where’d you get that necklace' WOW factor!"

Natalie, who is 'mother' to a 6-year-old Maltese Shih Tzu named Precious, works full-time as Sales Manager for the Hyatt Place in Greenville. "I absolutely love my job," she says, "It allows me to meet and work with people every day. Not only that, I look back at my growth within the company over the last 5 years, from a Gallery Host to Sales Coordinator and now Sales Manager. I’m pretty proud of myself."

 She sees Natticakez Crafts continuing to grow as well and hopes to share her craft and passion with more of the world. "I would love to see my products go worldwide one day. Once I get my website fully up and running, I hope to reach and share my work with more people."

Most of Natalie's designs range between $30-$40 dollars, are hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind works of art, well worth every penny. You can connect with Natalie via Facebook to inquire about any of the designs pictured and/or see new pieces. She is also happy to take custom orders! And if you are in Upstate South Carolina, look for Natalie vending at local fairs and festivals! 

 I'm excited about having one of her gorgeous pieces for summer wear, and have my eye on that purple necklace with the white just do your friendly blogger a favor and stay away from that piece, heh heh!