Friday, February 5, 2010

Feature Friday: Simska Photography

Many of us have been heartbroken by the pain and destruction that the recent earthquake brought upon the small country of Haiti.  And many have given in creative ways to help those in need.

Simska Photography is currently featuring wonderful journalistic black & white photos featuring Haiti before the earthquake.


Kelly, the photographer, had the opportunity to travel to Haiti in 2006 and work on behalf of the Planting Peace organization - specifically serving in one of the four Planting Peace orphanages in Port-au-Prince.  Two orphanages were heavily damaged in the earthquake, though thankfully all children survived.  All children have been moved together into one orphanage and currently Planting Peace has to ration food and clean water for the children due to the very real potential of it running out before they get more.

These photos from Haiti were taken by the artist herself and are all signed and dated - limited editions, and come in 8x10 size.  They range in price from $25 to $45...though 100% of the proceeds will go to Planting Peace organization.

"School Days"

Simska Photography says this about the Haiti Relief Photos:

"About the charity: all proceeds from this auction, minus eBay and PayPal fees, will go to the charity Planting Peace, one of Haiti's largest relief organizations. Planting Peace will be providing food and water to the many affected by the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12th. Rainn traveled with Planting Peace to Haiti last year, and reported on his trip for USA Today. Planting Peace's founder, Aaron Jackson, was named a CNN Hero in 2007. For more information, go to"

Some very practical ways your purchase may be put to work helping Haitian orphans in need are:

$10.00 can deworm 588 children
$18 dollars can sponsor an orphan
$60 can house an HIV orphan for a month

"Is Love Enough?"

Kelly from Simska Photography recently shed light on how she got her start in photography and the impact her travels have made on her and her photography...

How long have you been creating & selling your products?

I started seriously photographing 5 years ago but only started selling my work 3 years ago.

How did you get into it?
I studied Creative Photography at the University of Florida and a short term at New England School of Photography in Boston. I can't say I have been photographing since I was young or that I have a 'cool' story of how I started.. but it was an interest of mine when I was starting college and stuck with it. I had my doubts a few years into it, but I got over it. I did not start seriously selling my work until a few years ago when I was planning a trip overseas

Is your Etsy shop your primary shop? Where else would customers find you?
I have done mostly local shows and even at farmer's markets but it wasn't until the disaster in Haiti that I decided to become serious about having a shop on Etsy.
Although Etsy is my primary shop at the present time, you can view many of my other works @

What inspires your work?
Going on an adventure and by that I mean some place new. It could be as simple as taking a different route home, or it could be as invested as traveling to a foreign country. When I find myself at these new places, it is the connections I make with people there that inspires me most-- a warm hello, a smile, a glimpse into their life.

Do you have an all-time favorite piece? What is it and why?
Two actually; One is a black and white portrait of my best friend and Emmanuel (an orphan at Planting Peace) taken in 2007 in Haiti. I remember she was trying to get the braids out of his hair and they both ended up falling asleep on the couch. It was something so simple and sweet.

The other is a photograph of my Grandfather. While I was studying at New England School of Photography, my uncle and I would take trips to see my grandfather. At the time, his Dementia was not as severe. When people look at the photograph they ask if it was staged--the wallpaper, carpeting, Monet painting, and his vest...all yellow. I love that my grandmother's influence is so strongly present in the image, even though she is no where to be seen. If you look close, you can see me right next to my grandfather's arm in a photograph of me as a flower girl--a photo that he took.

From your shop it is clear that you have traveled a lot. Where have you traveled to internationally and which trip was the most impacting for you?

Yes, my first trip was to Poland where I stayed for six weeks living with my cousins. I got hooked on the intensity of experiencing a new culture and wanted to see what else was out there. The following year was my trip to Haiti, and it changed my outlook completely. I was floored by the fact that a country so close to home could have so much need that I was unaware of. This inspired me to focus my efforts in Humanitarian Aid. The following year, I went to The Gambia. Though it was life-changing, it was in a vastly different way. The majority of the time was spent out in the community with a group of students unlike the intimate environment I experienced in Haiti. However, this allowed me to work on various community-based projects. The following year, actually last year, I went to Rwanda to do the same kind of work as I did in The Gambia as an Art Mentor. We provided art supplies to children in clinics in small villages and painted public health murals. While I would say that Haiti has had the most impact on me, it's difficult to compare the experience.

"Sunday Morning"

Consider purchasing one of the Haiti Relief Photos from Simska Photography...and do so much more than provide great wall art in your home.  Make a difference in the lives of needy orphans and support quality handmade artisans all at the same time!  Click HERE to start shopping!

Thanks Kelly, of Simska Photography!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Win It Wednesday: February 3rd Edition

Here are this weeks links to all the wonderful giveaways of handmade products happening around the web.  If YOU are hosting a giveaway of a handmade product, link up your giveaway using the linky below!  Here are MY faves being offered:

Batik Butterfly Tote Bag - Giveaway on Audrey's Giveaways (Contest closes February 12th)

Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen 3 Soaps Giveaway - Hosted by Salad for Breakfast (Contest closes on February 14th)

RCTees Item of Your Choice Giveaway (organic cotton, earthy tees, totes and other products) - Hosted by MKokopelli (Contest closes on February 14th)

AbleMabel $25 Gift Card ("Putting the Fun in Functional"...a shop FULL of fun & useful items) - Hosted by Etsy It Up! (Contest closes on February 6th)

Orglamix Eye Shadow Collection  - Hosted by Mint Green with Envy (Contest closes on Feb. 15th)

Stuffed Zoonies by Eleni Creative - Hosted by KenziePoo (Contest closes on Feb. 12th)


Monday, February 1, 2010

Made It Myself Monday: Valentine's Day Fun!

I gotta get back into my CRAFTY GROOVE!  Help me!  I got no link-ups last week...but I know ya'll are crafting out there!  Post about it and link up to Make It Myself Monday!  Just remember, your post doesn't have to be recent...bring it from your archives if you like!  If you do link up, grab the "Make It Myself" button (top left sidebar) and display it loud and proud on your blog!

OKAY, on to other Make It Myself Monday news...

I have been in a serious crafting rut.  I worked hardcore before Christmas on crafting options...including a lot of seen HERE and HERE and HERE!  But then the New Year started, we got into a new semester in homeschooling and I began my Making Over Me venture...which has taken a lot of focus (and I've done a lot of Making It Myself with new healthy recipes!).  So I got nothin' this week.  But I'm gonna choose one of these Valentine's related crafts to do for next week's Make It Myself Monday.  Leave a comment and let me know which one you want to see me create!




Monday, January 25, 2010

Make It Myself Monday: Yum Yum AND McLinky!

The last several weeks I have had a personal goal to begin to exercise and eat better for my health and weight loss.  See my Making Over Me blog highlighting that journey.  Part of the journey includes taking steps to eat "clean"...basically to eat as naturally as possible.

Sooo...all of my focus the last couple weeks have been on learning to eat healthy and creating new recipes for my family that are all natural!  So no handmade products got made by me this week.  My kids are still waiting for their Snuggies!  :)  But, if you are interested, you can see some of the great healthy food I Made Myself by clicking on the links:

1 - Homemade Bread

2 - Cheesy Turkey Burgers & Cauliflower Smash

3 - Made Over Chickie Nugs (aka Chicken Nuggets)

But today it is all about YOU!  Your chance to link up so that readers can discover YOUR blog and the things that you made yourself!  Be the first (or 5rh or 10th) to add yourself and your post to the McLinky below.

Here are the requirements to add your link to Make It Myself Monday:

1 - Make sure your post focuses on something  you created yourself.  This post can be a tutorial on how to make something, but it does not have to be a tutorial.  A post about what was created is just fine too.  
2 - The post does not have to be written on the same day as the MckLinky, nor does it have to have be written on a Monday at all.  It can even come from your archives!  Just make sure that your link goes directly to the post, not just to your blog main page.
3 - If you link up, please grab the "Make It Myself Monday" blog button (upper left sidebar) and either post it in your sidebar or include it in a post that links your readers to Gonna Want This-Handmade.

Can't wait to see your creations!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giveaway: Love Pendant from Eclectic Wendy Designs

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is hosting a giveaway from Etsy artisan Eclectic Wendy Designs.  This very cool "I Carry Your Heart" pendant has a retail value of $52 and would be a great gift for any woman who loves someone (that narrows it down, right?)...

Eclectic Wendy Designs has been selling all sorts of eclectic jewelry on Etsy since September of '08 and has a HUGE selection of all sorts of creative jewelry options.  Here are some of my faves...


Click HERE to enter the giveaway.  Giveaway closes on January 31st at 9:00 PM (EST).  Good Luck!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make It Myself Monday: Blog Button Fancy

Since I've become a more regular blogger, I've been learning many things...but the learning curve is HUGE!  It's like drinking from a fire hose, with all the info that is out there for learning HTML, blog design, etc.

My major goal today was to figure out how to make a blog button AND to be able to get that button onto my blog with an HTML code box in order to allow other readers (such as yourself!) to capture the code and display the blog button on YOUR site!  (it is in the upper left sidebar by the way...go on, grab it for your blog...leave a comment and let me know you did!).

It took me about 3 hours to get this figured out.  I had to download a program for my Mac (another HUGE learning curve to figure out...thus the fairly simple blog button design for this first one).  It is called Gimp and from what I read on reviews, it is very similar to Photoshop.  It was a free download and I believe there are formats for PC's too.  Check it out HERE.

Here are my Step by Steps for how I created my new little blog button for Make It Myself Mondays:

1.  Found a program to work for creating and adjusting images.  My Macbook did not have any such program built in, so after some research I downloaded Gimp.

2.  I created a 125x125 square in Gimp.  From there I found a free image I liked on Stock.Xchnge and copied it to my desktop.

3.  Then I pasted the image into the 125x125 square I had opened in Gimp.

4.  Next I put a new layer on top of the image background on my 125x125 square.  I then made the background on that new layer white, selected font (Chalkboard) and size/color of font and added the main text ("Make It Myself Monday").

5.  Next came a third layer, which I situated below the first.  I made the background white and selected the size, color and font (Baskerville Italic) for the text and added my blog address.  In retrospect I would not have done this because the text is so small you can't even read it.  

6.  I then saved the image as a JPG to my desktop.

7.  I then tried a couple of image sharing sites to upload the image to, in order to find the one I liked best.  I settled on Photobucket, and uploaded the JPG image.  It worked very nicely for me.

8.  I then did some research to find a tutorial about how to add an HTML code box below the blog button so that readers could grab the button to use on their sites as well.  I found this post at Blogging with Success to be most helpful.  Following the directions, it worked like a charm!

9.  I then selected an HTML widget in my Blogger layout, and posted the proper HTML script and hit 'Save'.  Checking out my blog showed that the code worked!  I double checked it by copying and pasting the code into a blog post...and it worked!

10.  Finally I saved the Word document where I had created the HTML code for this button - for easy future reference.  Now I'm off to fine tune my skills and create some more buttons for my other blogs!

I created this blog button because starting NEXT MONDAY I will be kicking off a MckLinky on my Make it Myself Monday posts!!  That way other readers can link up their posts highlighting the things they have made themselves, tutorials and more!  What a great way to find a bunch of creative inspiration all in one place!

If YOU decide to participate in "Make It Myself Mondays", there are a few things to know...
1 - Come back on January 25th to link up your post HERE!
2 - Make sure your post focuses on something  you created yourself.  This post can be a tutorial on how to make something, but it does not have to be a tutorial.  A post about what was created is just fine too.  
3 - The post does not have to be written on the same day as the MckLinky, nor does it have to have be written on a Monday at all.  It can even come from your archives!  Just make sure that your link goes directly to the post, not just to your blog main page.
4 - If you link up, please grab the "Make It Myself Monday" blog button (upper left sidebar) and either post it in your sidebar or create a post that links your readers to Gonna Want This-Handmade.

I look forward learning about what YOU made YOURSELF!

I am a total newbie to both HTML and the Gimp program.  This tutorial isn't intended to be a failsafe method for creating your own blog button and HTML code box.   However if you find it helpful, let me know!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Personalized Kids' Shirts GIVEAWAY!

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is hosting a giveaway by handmade artist Barbara from Sew Cute Creations.

The giveaway is for a personalized shirt from Sew Cute Creations and there are a lot to choose from!

CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway.  It is open until January 24th. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Make It Myself Monday: Tutorials I Want To Try...

Getting back into the swing of 'real life' after the holidays and a death in the family was tougher than I no 'Making It Myself" happened this week (unless you count a few meals or some basic crafts done with the kiddos during homeschool (read more about our homeschool fun HERE)

SO I have instead compiled a link list of several tutorials that show the how-to on a number of crafty projects that I plan to "Make Myself" someday...perhaps in the near future.  Here they are in no particular order...

Make Your Own Journal

Make Your Own Terrarium (may try this one with the kids once it starts to warm up!)

Make a Duvet Cover

Knit Bunnies (of course I'm gonna have to learn how to knit first...)

Reusable Lunch Bag

Patchwork Skirt (incredibly cute...but the tutorial is so long and complex, it scares me!)

Doll Blanket (my little Sassafrass would LOVE a few of these!)

Snuggie for Kids (I got a commercial one for Christmas and now all my kids want one!)

Matching Snuggie for Barbie (OMG!  This is too hilarious!)

Summer Event Calendar (you may recall I used another tutorial from this site to make my Crayon Rolls)

I think those links will keep me busy for a while!

What are your "Make It Myself" dreams for 2010?  Leave a comment letting me know one project you hope to accomplish this year!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Win It Wednesday: All About Love

The local discount retailers near me actually started stocking a few shelves with Valentines items even before Christmas had arrived!  That is a tad early...but now that we are into early January, it is acceptable to begin thinking about the holiday of LOVE coming up in a month and a half!

So to honor the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday, this "Win It Wednesday" will focus on items that remind me of we go!

The Sunshine Studio is hosting a giveaway by Artful Goodies for one pendant of the winners choice...there are several love themed ones...perhaps a great accessory for Valentine's Day!  Ends THIS Sunday, 01/10!!

Bridal Gown Blog is hosting a giveway for a vintage-y handpainted "Love Is Sweet" sign made by The Back Porch Shoppe.  This giveaway also comes with 100 custom printed/stamped party favor bags...perfect for a candy bar at a wedding or other special event!  Ends January 16th.

I have a coffee lover in my anything coffee related always makes a good gift - including Valentine's Day!  Here's a couple giveaways that could be paired to make a great coffee gift for yourself or someone you love!

Melissa over at Sew Sweet Stitches is hosting her very first giveaway, for a very cute coffee the cardboard ones you get from the coffee shop - and it is eco-friendly!  Ends January 17th.

If you enter for the coffee cozy, also enter at Only The Best of Etsy because they are hosting a giveaway from Java Scents for a set of three coffee scented sachets!  Pefect for a caffeine-free pick-you-up in the morning...just sniff and go!  Or keep it stored with items that you'd love to smell java good!  Ends January 11th.

Have you gone sugar-free as you start 2010 like I have?  If so, chocolates for V-day would not be very helpful!  But this felt cake (that looks delicious enough to eat!) from Urban Craft would be a perfect sweet treat that won't add any inches to the waist or pounds to the scale...YAY!  Ends January 25th.

Leave a comment and let me know if you entered any of the above giveaways OR if you are hosting a giveaway or know of a giveaway that I should check out!