Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Recycling Creatively!

What fun I've had recently in creating a new line of earrings...made with recycled gift cards. Thousands of gift cards are thrown away every day in our country and I found a way we could be more creative with them than just throwing them into landfills.

What fun it has been! My daughter, niece, sisters, nephews, and other friends and family members are now "on the hunt" for used gift cards. And these wonderful people in my life have given me some beautiful cards to work with!

My boss mentioned to me one day that she had spoken at a ladies' conference where they gave away earrings made of gift cards from a particular company that went with their theme as gifts. I thought it was a great idea and hence, began making gift card earrings myself.

Ladies seem to love wearing jewelry that is not only beautiful and fun, but also helping to conserve our natural resources!

To view the earrings and get more details simply visit my website at http://www.janegraftondesigns.etsy.com/.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Back!

If you look at the date of my last post it was Thursday, February 5, more than 7 months ago. It has, obviously, been a very busy year.
  • I traveled more than normal going to Florida twice, California twice, Ohio, southern Indiana, North Carolina, and Minnesota.
  • In June my younger sister moved from Oklahoma to Kankakee, Illinois, just 45 minutes from where I live. I love having her so close!
  • My mother-in-law has suffered with poor health for a number of years; in July she had a heart attack and on July 26 went Home to Heaven. Her memorial service was actually a celebration of a life well-lived, and a very sweet time for family and friends.
  • On August 1, my niece Ruthy, got married to a wonderful young man. They both graduated from college at the end of May and he is doing his graduate intership on the staff of our church.
  • My sister-in-law Kris and I have been working on a book about menopause, and are nearly finished.
In the future I may write some posts about some of these events, but I wanted to explain my long absence from my blog!

Being so busy in so many different ways took nearly all of my attention off of making jewelry. And I missed that because creating and designing is relaxing and refreshing for me. During this busy time I did little on my Etsy website. Amazingly, in the past two weeks I have gotten three orders, and somehow, those orders caused my creative juices to flow again. It's been a lot of fun designing some new bracelets. I hope you'll take a look and enjoy these new designs.

As we settle into fall, I hope you'll take the time to observe the beautiful changes that will be taking place...the bright autumn leaves; the beutiful mums; the crisp, cool nights; and the harvest moon. God is so good to have provided so much for us to enjoy. In all of the busyness of my life this year, one of the things that helped me so much was nature. There is a healing balm in taking a few minutes every day to look at a sunrise or sunset and realize that God put it there for us to enjoy. The same is true with beautiful flowers, or deer playing in the woods, or squirrels scampering from tree to tree.

I Timothy 6:17b says that God, "giveth us richly all things to enjoy." I truly hope in the days and weeks to come that you will "richly enjoy" all things God has provided for you in this wonderful fall season!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Wonderful Valentine's Gift

I was looking for a special gift for a dear friend who I felt could use some extra encouragement. I found a wonderful gift...a beautiful handcrafted wire cross with a silver heart (pictured left). It is a refrigerator magnet. I liked the cross so much I decided to order a similar one for myself.

I was thrilled when the crosses arrived in the mail today. I was so pleased when I opened the package to find that the magnets are even more beautiful than the picture.

You may find the cross (aong with a a variety of other crosses) at the following link:


The cross is a symbol of our Christian faith. It is the symbol of our salvation. It represents the fact that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, came to this earth and died on the cross for our sins. He not only died, He rose from the dead and had victory over sin and death.

Please check out TC's wonderful shop!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Make It a Truly Happy New Year

I am writing this blog the last day of 2008. Midnight tonight marks the beginning of a fresh new year. It is unscathed from hurt, disappointment, rejection, and failure. It reminds me of fresh-fallen snow with no footprints (human or animal!). Fresh fallen snow is beautiful and sparkly.

I know a number of people who feel that the year 2008 was one of the worst years of their life. There are a number of reasons involved, but the fact is these people look back over this past year with disappointment, regret, hurt, grief, and relief that it is over.

So how can we prevent that for 2009? Does life just happen leaving us no choice but to either have a good year or a bad year? Does "fate" just take over and make our years good or bad?

Absolutely not! Now, we cannot control the hurts and disappointments that come into our lives. I am thinking of a dear sweet friend of mine. She and her husband were less than two months from celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when he succumbed to cancer and went to Heaven. This lady had given her life to building a strong marriage and a strong husband. He was a very successful man who depended on the love and help of his wife in a great way. I recall the Sunday after the funeral. She was in my Sunday school class. I was amazed. She had just buried her husband but she got up, got dressed, and went to church. The grief-stricken look on her faced pierced my heart but I watched her week after week as she faithfully came to Sunday school and then agreed to become our class pianist (which we desperately needed; I had been filling in!!!) I've watched this lady put one foot in front of the other and keep walking when I knew she was grieving deeply. I saw her begin volunteering to help at our grade school. I saw her watch her grandson play baseball on my husband's little league team. I saw her be show her grandson and his wife a wonderful time as they visited her for a few days upon his return from Iraq. The week before Christmas she informed me she would be gone for 3 Sundays so would not be available to play the piano. She said, "I know it would not be good for me to stay here during the holidays." So she went to spend time with her daughters.

This lady had a very difficult year as she saw her husband waste away from the cancer. She saw him take his last breath. She has grieved deeply. And yet, in many ways she has had a wonderful year because of her attitude. I am sure she would not choose to re-live the hurt and grief of this past year. But she made choices that have made a difference and that have actually helped her move faster through the grieving process.

She will grieve over the loss of her husband for the rest of her life; but meanwhile she is living a fullfilling and productive life and making a difference in the lives of others. We all have a choice when the hard times come. We can sit and lick our wounds and stop living life. Or we can take time to grieve (no matter what the hurt) while we keep busy and help others. We can focus on our grief and hurt or we can take time each day to grieve and then extend a helping hand to others in need.

Why don't you make some plans for 2009? You don't know what lies ahead, and it may be that some very hurtful and disappointing things may happen. But why don't we plan that when the hurts come and the disappointments and grief seem overwhelming that we will refuse to succumb to their hold.

How do we do that? First and foremost, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." We cannot walk on in victory alone. We can only do it through the strength we receive in Christ. Let's make 2009 a wonderful year; not because no disappointments or hurts come, but because we have Christ on our side to give us strength to make it through the hard times and we have the Holy Spirit to comfort us through the grief that comes.

God bless you in 2009! Have a wonderful and happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas Gifts...Dread or Delight?

Christmas is coming and with it comes the privilege of giving gifts. As a customer I must decide what I want to purchase for gifts.

I know that there are those who dread Christmas. I'm sorry about that because Christmas is not a time I "have" to purchase gifts. There is no one in my life I "have" to buy a gift for; rather, there are many people I "choose" to buy gifts for because they are people to whom I want to express my love.

Years ago my good friend (now my sister-in-law) and I purchased gifts for two new friends in our lives. When we all opened our gifts we laughed because we had gotten those two ladies the same gifts we received from them...except our gift sets had more items. We had purchase the more expensive set of the same line than they had purchased for us. These ladies were so embarrassed and hurriedly said they would buy us more. It was embarrassing for Kris and me because we did not buy them gifts to get a certain gift. It was awkward to have them keep telling us they would buy us more. That is not what Christmas is all about. That incident taught me a good lesson. The amount of money I spend is not what is important. What is important is that I give what I can afford and give something that shows my love to the receiver.

Sometimes I am able to give more expensive gifts. Some years I have a very limited budget. Last year was one of those years. I have a lot of co-workers and neighbors I like to do something for, but since my budget was limited I made gift baskets for them. I made apple butter and salsa. I don't recall having such response to gifts. Both recipes were tried and proven and were delicious and I got such wonderful thank you's for those gifts.

If you have a long list of people to whom you give gifts just because you feel you "have" to, why don't you re-evaluate. There are probably people whom you could cross off your list. The fact is, there probably are people to whom you give gifts that may give you gifts for the same reason. Quite possibly they could be relieved when you don't give them a gift this year, paving the way for them to take you off of their list next year.

Possibly there are people to whom you should give a gift, but you don't want to. An example might be a hard-to-get-along-with boss. Maybe just a little perspective on your part would help. Even if your boss is not the kindest of people, that person is giving you the opportunity to take home a paycheck. Be grateful for what that person does do for you.

I do think it is important to remember service people, especially people like the garbage man. Those people work hard with little thanks or remuneration. This does not have to be a big gift, but it is a kindness to remember those people.

Sometimes the most meaningful gift you can give is a gift of words. Write a note stating some specific ways the person has helped you or encouraged you. Thank them for their investment of time, love, kindness, etc.

We don't have to dread Christmas. In fact, we should look forward to and delight in this wonderful day of celebrating our Saviour's birth. Start planning now which people should be on your gift list, how much money you can spend on the gifts, and then plan meaningful gifts that will truly say, "I love you; you are important to me." My niece and nephew gave several people in their lives a "Photo of the Month Club" coupon for Christmas last year. They gave a small attractive photo album with space for 12 photos. Each month they have sent a photo showing something that they did with their two boys that month. The recipients have so enjoyed that gift and it was something they could afford.

By starting to plan now and by planning wisely, your gift giving can be relaxing, meaningful, and something you begin to look forward to!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moms and Daughters

My sister-in-law, Kris Grafton, and I worked on a project this past summer that has come to fruition. What started out to be a book on hormones for adolescence through menopause ended up being a book for mothers to help them know how to talk with their teenage daughters.
When we mentioned "the talk" or asked ladies what their mothers told them we were amazed at the lack of talk between mothers and their adolescent daughters. From generation to generation, mothers are failing to talk with their daughters. If we mothers don't talk with our daughters, where are they going to get their information? Their young, inexperienced, misinformed PEERS! That is not God's plan. He wants you to talk with your daughter.
We're excited to present this 200+ page book filled with practical knowledge about hormones, the physical changes that take place during adolescence, etc. But the book is so much more than that. Those "facts" can be found in many books. Talking to Our Daughters is different for several reasons. First, the foundation of all that is taught in the book is based on Scripture. One of the great problems with our society (actually the great problem) is that God is left out. He is our starting point! He is our foundation! Secondly, the book gives very pracitcal guidelines of when and how to talk with your daughter. Thirdly, the book addresses the emotional and spiritual issues that young people face.
One of my favorite chapters is the final chapter, a Bible study on the Naaman's maid who helped find healing from leprosy for her master. She was a teenage girl who possessed the same traits our young people have today. The Bible is such a practical book!
The book is available at http://www.graftonpublications.etsy.com/. I would encourage every mother of daughters who live at home to purchase this book and use it as a very practical guide to help you guide your daughter(s) into womanhood God's way. This is a book your daughter(s) want you to read!
Oh, by the way, we have not forgotten the original book we started. Next year we will publish a book on hormones from young adulthood through menopause!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Teen Entrepeneurs

If you have read my blog for very long, you know that I have a great love for teenagers. They are a group of people filled with passion, energy, ideas, and potential. They are our future and that behooves us to invest in them, support them, guide them, and encourage them.

Today I did a treasury on Etsy and featured all teen sellers. (http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=16813) I've had some conversations with a few of these teens and they have a great spirit. (Pictured is one of the featured items.)

If you don't have some young people in your life I encourage you to look for them, find them, and invest in them. My mentor of 25 years who passed away of ovarian cancer in 2001 said, "Invest in young people; they're where it's at." She was looking at life from the perspective of knowing she would soon be in Heaven. She knew where to invest her time and energy. One of those young people she invested in was my teenage (at the time) daughter. Her investment is paying great dividends...and yours will too!