The Kismet Cord

Y’all, my dear friend Erin has just opened an Etsy shop of her very own. Back at Christmastime she embroidered my very favorite wedding photograph onto a pillow for me, and it was exquisite! Now she’s opened a shop where you can get one of your very own (how exciting!)! Her shop is The Kismet Cord, you should go see it! She offers 5″x7″ and 8″x10″, and they come already backed and ready to frame. Also, she’s so graciously offered our readers a coupon code! Read to the end to find it.

Here’s my newest lovely from Erin:

I was horrified when I cut the design too small! But then I had the idea to sort of fake-mat it with ribbon, and I quite like it!

I asked Erin to share a little bit about herself and her new shop, and she was so sweet as to send me the following:


Fate, destiny, that certain feeling you can’t shake……KISMET

At The Kismet Cord we are all about memories; preserving them in an artistic way that can be passed
down the generations. Let me interpret one or many of your favorite photographs and see what people
are talking about!! A special and unique keepsake….all hand made with incredible amounts of love.

Well that’s my spiel in a nutshell. But who is The Kismet Cord? How did this venture even begin?
Maybe most importantly, what is involved when ordering from The Kismet Cord?

Let’s begin with me…. Hey y’all I’m Erin, though I have always dreamed of going by my middle Elise, but alas, never effectively made the transition. You will always see me sign things Erin Elise….keeping the dream alive tee hee. For the good part of three years I have identified myself pretty solely as Mama.
Now that my son is getting older and coming into his own as a person Mama has gone on a road to find
herself. So you ask me who I am today. I am a crafter, I am an artist, I’m someone who loves getting
lost in a book, I am brave, I am an adventurer, I am happiest surrounded by nature, I am a foodie, most
importantly I am whomever I want to be today.

So how did this whole Kismet Cord thing begin? Fun story with a dash of kismet I must say!!! I found
myself becoming friends with a good group of hookers…..lovely gals really. (Should I take a moment
to let you know a hooker is an affectionate term we place on the crocheting community?) Here I am,
amongst a very talented group, and I didn’t know a hook from a needle from a stick on the street. This
community, being amazing as they are, accepted me as one of their own …always urging me to pick up
my first hook, of course. But I am getting off track…again. Fast forward to holiday time 2011. My dear
friend from the group decided to host a big holiday gift exchange. I so wanted to participate but still
had never even glanced at a hook!! I start thinking what can I do???? I’ll be honest even to the point
of getting my giftee’s name I had no clue what I would be creating. This is where we start talking about
kismet and such. I check my email and there *cue the awesome sound effects of trumpets * is all of
the info from my secret friend. I commence facebook stalking immediately. A WEDDING!! Let me tell
y’all the pictures were GORGEOUS. You could see the joy radiating out of this beautiful young lady. I
knew right then and there I was going to do something involving this. I immediately found my favorite
picture and printed it out. I drew it up and began there. WALAH my first hand embroidered photograph
was born!!!! Fast forward half a year and not only have I become a hooker myself but more…no MOST
importantly the doors have officially opened on my new story , my lil shop The Kismet Cord. I SQUEEEEE with excitement!!! You should go check it out….

I will work with you hand in hand from picking out the perfect photo to what colors you would like
to use, to just about every aspect you can think of in your cherished keepsake. Be as involved as you
want….or send me your favorite photos, answer a few questions and just let the magic happen! It’s up
to you. So please come in, check out the place, stay awhile….and for doing so I am offering y’all a lil gift.

Use the discount code GRANDOPENING012 to receive a 15% discount in my Etsy shop The Kismet Cord

One of my very favorite parts of planning my wedding was designing all of the gorgeous paper! I had completely unnecessary items just because they were so fun to play with: menus, labels for my candy buffet, wedding itineraries/welcome bag notes, you name it! I’ve been designing logos and programs for friends since then, but I’m now funneling all of that graphic design goodness into (you guessed it!) another shop: Willow Tree Paperie. Find it here: http://thewillowtreepaperie.etsy.com, or click any of the photos below.

My initial line of personalized or monogrammed notecards and perfectly lovely cards for all occasions (except, you know, not all occasions yet!) is already in the shop (see some below)! Naturally, all of the colors and fonts can be changed. I absolutely adore lovely fonts, so a lot of my designs are geared toward letting the font speak for itself.

My printer can even do every single card in a different design if you really want it that way (I have to say that I sort of love the idea of a set of 20 completely different notecards). I’m still playing around with suppliers–all of them do divine work, it’s simply a matter of finding the right price for my customers. I think we can all agree that the current prices in the shop are not anybody’s friend, but I have my eye on a nifty new printer who will be sending me samples quite soon!

Here are some of my favorite designs (you’ll forgive me if most of the prototypes are personalized for me, right? #perks):


The chevron trend took some time to grow on me, I think because they were originally all done in super high contrast colors like black and white, or bold colors, neither of which are my style at all. Above is my take on chevrons.


As a southern lady, I do love a good monogram. Above is the traditional monogram (oh no, I have four names now! That’s fine, I just dropped my least favorite initial haha). 


This monogram design is a little more whimsical (and, just so we’re clear, I adore whimsy). I love the calligraphic initials…swoon! 


My absolute favorite of the occasion cards. I don’t know what it is about this font (the perfect calligraphy!) and that jaunty angle that make me smile so wide!

I’ve got some cutie-pants Happy Birthday and Thank You cards on the way, too! 

I’ve spent a lot of time tracking down the very best ingredients to use in the solid perfumes that I make for Willow Tree Apothecary. Today, I thought I’d introduce you to one of my very favorite suppliers: Honeyrun Farm, my beeswax supplier. Since beeswax is one of the main components of my solid perfume, it was really important to me to find a supplier that I was comfortable with. Honeyrun Farm fit my qualifications beautifully (no, really beautifully…check out the photos!).

Jayne and Isaac began keeping bees nearly ten years ago, when Jayne gifted Isaac a beehive for Christmas (coolest gift-giver ever, I say!). They now have over 200 hives of bees, and they gather and package the honey, beeswax, and pollen from the hives themselves.

I love the fact that they do all of it themselves, so that they know exactly what they’re selling (and thus I know exactly what I’m buying). For example, they do not use chemicals in their beekeeping practices. They harvest responsibly, taking no more than the bees can spare.

Let’s talk a little bit about their beeswax! First, look at how gorgeous it is. I know, I know, looks shouldn’t matter, but I just love getting a package in the mail from them and opening it to see this:

See what I mean?

The beeswax is harvested as they harvest the honey. Then it is filtered and cleaned, then melted and poured into the molds. There are just SO many things you can do with beeswax, which is often used to keep thread strong, keep needles sharp, make bath and beauty products, and make candles.

Plus, it smells really good.

Here are a few of the other lovely products that Honeyrun Farm makes and sells.

Did you know that honey from the same hives tastes different at different times of the year? This is because the bees visit different flowers and plants during different seasons. This sampler from Honeyrun Farm contains the Fall, Spring, and Summer varieties. They also offer a lavender-infused honey that sounds divine. Click the photo to go directly to this listing in their shop!

Jayne of Honeyrun Farm makes these pure beeswax candles. The beeswax has its own lovely scent, so there is no fragrance added.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a little bit about what goes into your solid perfume.

Find Honeyrun Farm here: http://honeyrunfarm.etsy.com

Just a Quick Note

Just to let you all know, I’ve added a Pin It button that you should see (can you see it?) with all of the other ways to share my posts below. I’m perfectly fine with being pinned (anyone else hearing Bye Bye Birdie? “So I heard you got pinned, did you kiss him and cry?” anyone?), especially after the recent update to their Terms of Use. So pin away, my dears!

The Awards Show!

As an Etsy seller, sometimes you make things that sell right away, and sometimes, well…you just don’t. I’d like to introduce you to the products that have lasted the very longest in my shop! We’ll give one of them an award so as not to hurt their feelings…what should it be? The Endurance Award? The On-Clearance-For-Ten-Dollars-So-I-Don’t-Have-to-Move-18-Hours-With-Them Award? That last one might be a bit wordy, hmmm. Any other suggestions?

So, let’s introduce the nominees! Prepare for some terrible photography ahead, as these were some of my very first listings.

First up, the birdie canvas. Now, this 16×20 darling has sparked many a custom order. Lots of folks wanted birds in their tiny one’s nursery, just not, evidently, in this color scheme. Let’s give a round of applause for the birds!


Click the picture to take you to the listing in the shop!

Next up (that’s right), MORE birds in a row! This time, they come in a fetching black and marigold color scheme that was extremely popular on decoupaged jewelry boxes, but not so much on a canvas. Give it up for the marigold birds!


Our next nominee is a square. A 14″x14″ square, to be exact. I had the sudden urge to make a castle, so I did…then I needed something for the foreground. That’s when that creepy little “There is a castle in the clouds, I like to go there when I sleep” song got stuck in my head. The result? This:


Finally, we meet our last nominee. A sweet jungle scene with terribly cute elephants. One of my very favorites! Maybe that’s why it has stuck around so long, it didn’t want to disappoint me. Well, jungle canvas, I set you free!


Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme among these long-lasters. That’s right, they are all canvases! The very first type of item I made for the shop. Thankfully, I learned quickly (okay, not quickly since I have a ton of these things) that canvases were simply not going to sell on Etsy except as custom items. There are a whole slew of other canvases that didn’t make the blog post today, so if you’re interested in a little spot of whimsy in your house, visit this section of my shop:


Aaaaaaand, The Endurance Award goes to (drumroll, please): Birds in a Row (the first one)! It is actually the second canvas I ever made.

That’s our show for today! Thanks for tuning in.


PS: If you didn’t read that whole thing in an announcer’s voice in your head, then I’m disappointed in your imagination.

Pinspired Map

I found a lovely project on Pinterest (where else, right?) where a lady made a scrapbook paper map of America and pinned all of the places that she and her husband had been together. Such a sweet idea, right? I made one myself!


The quote is, of course, from Tolkien.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A large canvas (mine is 14×16)

Mod Podge

Scrapbook paper (at least 5 different patterns so no adjacent states are the same pattern)

Sponge brush (2)

Straight pins (small ones for maps)

Here’s what you do:

1 Choose your color scheme. I was lucky to find a book of scrapbook papers that I loved, so I didn’t have to worry too much about matching up coordinating patterns (I’m terrible at that).

2 Paint your canvas. If you have lighter papers, choose a darker color. If you have darker papers, choose a lighter color. That way, your states will show up! I chose a medium gray (and then made the mistake of choosing a medium aqua for the letters, which is why they don’t show up well).

3 Cut out your states and letters. Whether you use a Silhouette or an Xacto knife, now’s the time to cut out your states. Give your canvas another coat when you need a break from cutting.

I used my Silhouette to cut out the states, but you can also just use an Xacto knife.

The Xacto knife might even be easier, since you have to do a LOT of Ungroup and separation in the Silhouette software if you want adjacent states to be of different papers. Or, I suppose, you could just have your Silhouette cut the full design in each of the papers you want…whichever.

4 Lay out your states. I laid them out on the canvas (once it was dry) so I could decide where Texas went, then moved it all to the table so I had room on the canvas to work. They won’t match up exactly, and that’s okay. This is handmade, which is not often perfect, ya know? It’ll still look great.

5 Start Mod Podging! I started with Texas. Brush on a medium layer of Mod Podge (not enough for the paper to be wiggly when you press it down), and place your Texas where you want it. Work outward from Texas, applying Mod Podge in small sections (it dries quickly, but you’ll have time to put a couple of states at once if you do a good coat). Add your letters when your whole country is on the canvas.

6 Let it dry. Give it at least 15 minutes (even those of you who are impatient with drying like me!).

7 Give it another coat of Mod Podge. And another! You’ll want the whole canvas to have the same texture, so make sure you cover your entire canvas with Mod Podge instead of just the places that you’ve put your paper.

8 Add your pins! My husband and I live in the South (for now, we’re moving soon!), so that’s where the majority of our pins are concentrated. You can even keep a little list of all of your pins, so you remember what each one was for. That way, 30 years from now you’ll remember why you were in West Point, MS (in our case, we were doing a little archaeology).

The fun part here is that you only mark places that you have gone together! Think about how neat it will be to hand down to your kids one day. That’s why you should be sure to use Mod Podge for this and not a homemade decoupage medium…you don’t want it to yellow after a few years.

Of course, if you ever leave the country you can make tiny cute canvases for your other destinations and have a whole gallery on the wall!

Here are some more detailed shots.


I used straight pins with pearly head for our map. If you’re smarter than me wise, you’ll use short pins instead of long ones that you then have to cut with wire cutters.


I made a little pincushion (no-sew tutorial coming soon!) to hang on the wall next to our map so we’d always have pins available when we go somewhere new.


This project took quite a while, but I really think it’s something that will travel with us when we move and we’ll keep forever. What do you think?

I’d like to introduce the newest shop in the Willow Tree Empire: Willow Tree Apothecary! It’s still a baby with only a few items, but I’m super excited about the product: solid perfume lockets! Solid perfume is just neat. You can carry around your perfume without worrying about spilling in your bag, which is awesome because I ALWAYS spill if I put any sort of liquid in my bag. With the lockets, of course, it’s around your neck, but I’m thinking of having compacts as well…what do you think?

My solid perfume is made with beeswax from Honeyrun Farm, which is a lovely family of beekeepers in Ohio. They sell candles made from their beeswax and yummy honey as well.

I also use lovely essential oils. My absolute favorite is a rose essential oil I recently acquired. I kept dabbing it on right from the bottle because I was too impatient to wait for the solid perfume…but the solid perfume from it is fantastic.

I’ve just been conducting tests with my carrier oils to see which I like best for my product. As it turns out, I like them both for different reasons. If I use coconut oil as the carrier oil, the solid perfume is a little slippier (not a word, I know), which I really like. The olive oil is great for the stronger scents, though, since you get a little less with each swipe. We’ll offer both options for each fragrance since I like them both so much.

Here’s how the buying process works.

First, you choose the locket you love best. There are only a couple of options in the shop just now, but I have lots more on the way. Next, you choose the fragrance that sounds the best to you. I match them up and ship out your finished locket, and yay! A solid perfume locket.

Here are some photos, and as always you should click to go to the item in the shop.




If you’re curious about what they look like inside, here you go:

ImageI don’t use dye since, well, who wants a little pink smudge on their wrists? The coconut oil ones are less yellow and more white.

So there you have it, Willow Tree Apothecary! Here’s where to find it: http://willowtreeapothecary.etsy.com.


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