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We're visiting "I Do Budget Weddings" for a contest!

I am so excited and honored to announce our first feature blog with giveaway is currently under way.

I Do Budget Weddings is a blog, written by a bride-to-be on a budget.  She provides great information on where and what to buy for your wedding, how to save money and hosts great giveaway contests.

PictureIt Creations is currently giving away a set of Champagne Flutes to a lucky winner.  All of the rules are spelled out for you in her blog post:

I Do Budget Weddings
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Spotlight Artist Interview

One of the most important things I've found as an artist is meeting new people and other artists, forming friendships (and not just business relationships), learning and gaining inspiration and insight from each other. I'm a part of a number of networking groups either through facebook, twitter or forums through my shops. And I couldn't have met a better group of people. They are so quick to help when they can. They help promote your work. They are incredibly talented and their work amazes me! This is one way for me to give back and say Thank You for everything they have done for me.

I am adding a new article to my blog. I will be featuring artists and their shops on my blog. You'll see pictures, information, ways to buy and follow them.

To get started as a featured artist, please fill out the initial interview form below. I will contact you if I need or would like more information regarding your as an artist or your work. And I will also notify you when it's your time in the spotlight.

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Gift Giving Etiquette & Tips

A perfect gift should show that you invested a little time and energy and that you actually cared about the feelings of the recipient. If you go the extra mile, it’s more likely that the recipient will love the gift.

Sit down and really think about the recipient. What do you have in common? Once you figure this out, you can easily zone in on an area that would be safe shopping ground.

Gift giving strengthens bonds, both at home and at the workplace. Often, bosses set up a system where gifts are given to exemplary employees. During the holidays, many companies exchange gifts or conduct Secret Santa programs. Not only do these types of activities break up the monotony of the daily grind, but they also serve keep goodwill and cheer flowing throughout the office during a hectic time.

If you want to give a gift that’ll be remembered all year long, you need to put your imagination to work. Listen to what the recipient talks about, especially if they say they need something. Occasionally, you’ll come across a recipient who seems to have everything. That’s when you can let your imagination run wild. Your goal in this case is to find something that will surprise and delight. Purchase a gift that they may not have said they wanted but which reflects their personality. You’ll show them that you always pay attention to and remember what they have to say.
Uh, oh! You forgot?!?! Now, you need to find a gift that not only shows you care, but also rewards with you with forgiveness. Personalized belated birthday gifts are always memorable, and are extra-thoughtful. Almost anything can be personalized these days with a name or initials, or even a heartfelt message. Inside jokes get big points with the recipient, too.

Apology Addition~ This is an extra gift that you get to go along with the gift you were going to get the birthday boy or girl anyway. This extra gift is the “apology gift,” and it can be some small, sweet gesture that says you are sorry for being late. Apology gifts can be flowers (one or a significant number), candy (candy bouquets are cute) or you can get extra points with homemade cookies.

Clumsy but Cute~ Write a poem or song, even if you are rewriting the lyrics to any song to say sorry you’re late, but you still think he’s great. Use any song, from “Happy Birthday” to his or her favorite pop song, or even a kid’s song like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” It’s the sweetness of the performance that will earn you points. Then follow up the performance with the gift you were planning on giving in the first place.

Traditional~ Flowers, balloons, candy and belated birthday cards are more standard belated gifts. You’ll get extra points if you add a creative twist, though. What about putting these gifts in a basket with some paper tissue flowers? Or wrapping the balloon string around a poster or t-shirt?

Make-Up Outing~ Offer to make it up to him or her with tickets to a movie, sporting event, theater or reservations for dinner tucked inside a belated birthday wishes card. This makes the message that you’re sorry for being late much nicer and gives you both something to look forward to. Choose one of these, and all will be forgiven.

Knowing hostess gift giving etiquette can help you bring an appropriate present the next time you are invited to a dinner, party or open house. You have plenty of choices, and whimsical and creative gifts are welcome.

Making The Unimaginative Creative~ Many times, guests bring a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. These are unimaginative in themselves, but you can make them more special with a little creativity. Bring the bottle of wine in a special sleeve made to keep wine chilled, or attach a fancy bottle opener with a ribbon. Instead of chocolates, bring an assortment of gourmet cookies in a fancy bowl or tray. Then, the hostess can keep something to enjoy after the food or drink is consumed.

Homey Gifts~ Gifts for hostesses are similar to housewarming gifts. Think about gadgets for the kitchen. These could include cooking ingredients or handy utensils. For instance, a big bottle of flavored oil or vinegar from a gourmet cooking store, or a selection of unusual spices in a little basket would be appreciated by a good cook. Fancy serving utensils are also great hostess gifts. For example, a beautiful trivet or salad tongs are always useful.

Anything that makes a dinner party more special is also a great hostess gift. How about a set of fancy coasters, cute wineglass rings, napkin holders or a mixed drink recipe book? Scented, shaped or fancy candles or candlesticks are also lovely gifts for a hostess. Home-enhancing gifts like a small set of hand towels or gourmet soaps are also appreciated and thoughtful. If you are bringing flowers, bring them in a vase. Then, the hostess won’t be distracted by looking for a vase, and she can use the vase later.

Tips To Remember
~ Hostess thank you gifts don’t have to be expensive or big. You are just making a token thank you gesture for the time and effort made by the hostess to include you. The most important part is to be gracious and make sure the hostess feels appreciated.

Following proper sympathy gift etiquette is important after a friend or relative has lost a loved one. However, it can be hard to find a gift that accurately expresses your feelings during a tough time. Are sympathy flowers enough? Are sympathy plants appropriate? These guidelines about sympathy gift etiquette can help you choose a thoughtful gift that will be appreciated.

Religious Traditions
~ Some religions do not find flowers appropriate as a sympathy gift. Flowers die, and then the mourner has to throw them out, which can be emotionally painful. Instead, a plant might be better because it is alive and will continue on with gentle care. An especially nice idea is to get a plant that can be planted in the yard and thrive for years to come. Then you’ve sent them a reminder of life, rather than loss. Also, some people request a donation to a charitable cause in lieu of flowers. Make sure you find out if the family has expressed wishes along these lines.

Keepsake Gifts~ If you have no guidelines regarding a sympathy gift, you could give a gift of a picture frame or picture album that could hold photo memories of the loved one who passed. Another idea in this category is a keepsake box for the friend or family to put in mementos of the person’s life. Some companies will make a necklace out of a picture or other keepsake, and that might be a consideration for a gift if you were close to the person suffering the loss.

Getting Through This Time~ Sympathy gifts to help the loved ones get through this grieving period would include a meaningful book or some relaxing music. You could also give tea or other cozy and comforting items. This shows you care about those who are grieving and wish to support them.
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My First Spot in a Treasury!

I finally made it into a Treasury on Etsy.  Many thanks to TheBuzz for featuring my baseball themed vinyl wall decal.  Come view these lovely handmade items on Etsy.

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I will be adding a Spotlight Artist to blog and I want to feature YOU!  So be sure to click the "Spotlight Artist Interview" below and fill out the questions.  I'll get back to you if I need more information and I'll email you when it's your turn in the spotlight.
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My First Treasury on Etsy

Ok, I know it took me long enough to do my first treasury. I browsed through them for the longest time and coming up with ideas for them. But, never made the effort. Then, when I found inspiration for a good one and got all of my listing numbers together, I had to wait for the number of treasuries to drop below 333 :(. Well, anyway, it was brought to my attention that I can list treasuries with no limits on Treasury East on Etsy. So, today was the big day.

This is a collection of things I'd like to add my current over flowing, drive-my-husband-nuts collection of favorite things. :) I've been an Elvis fan since, well, I can't remember actually becoming a fan if that tells you how old I was. Although I wasn't even thought of when he was rocking and rolling, I still love all things Elvis.

So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis Presley on Etsy.

Thank you!  Thank you very much!
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Blog Hop!

I found this on blogspot today and I thought it would be a great way to find other blogs you're interested in to follow. I added my blog to the list, did you add yours?
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Featured Item: Black Marble Paperweights

Customers love giving our black marble paperweights because they engrave crisp, white images nicely and they can be used for many different purposes and are available in two different styles.

We can transfer your text, clipart, logos and photos to our black marble pieces.

Past clients have used these pieces for:
♦Garden Memorials
♦Office Paperweights
♦Home Decor

Don't forget to enter ETCHSTONE as the coupon code for 15% off.

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Featured Item: Black Marble Pen Holder

This black marble pen holder adds elegance to any home or office.  The solid black marble engraves a beautiful white image with your text, clipart or logos and has a polished finish. 

Past clients have used this pen/pencil holder as:
♦Corporate Awards & Recognition

Don't forget to enter ETCHSTONE as the coupon code for 15% off.

*Pens sold separately
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Featured Item: Black Marble Plaques

These black marble plaques are a very popular alternative to traditional frames. Available in three different sizes, these 3/4" thick solid black marble come equipped with the steel stand bolted to the piece for display in either portrait or landscape orientation.  Laser engraving leaves behind a crisp white image for excellent contrast to the jet black marble.

Marble is an excellent material for outdoor uses.  The marble will not deteriorate and the image will not fade away.

Past clients have used these plaques as:
♦Memorials for their loved ones
♦Recognition by engraving a certificate or an award for display

Find these marble plaques in my Artfire studio!
Don't forget to use ETCHSTONE as the coupon code for 15% off all marble sales

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