Kentucky Wild Weeds: Dandelion

Kentucky Wild Weeds


The name dandelion comes from the French name “dent de lion” which means lions tooth. This comes from the jagged shape of the leaves. Mankind has been trying to eradicate this plant since the lawn was invented. Thankfully, this will never happen. The dandelion is very smart. It seeds are fun for kids to blow in the wind.

Every part of this plant is medicinal. The bitter root is a famous liver tonic. It can be dried, ground and roasted for use as a coffee substitute just like chicory root. Root teas increase the flow of bile from liver which helps the human body to break down fats more efficiently and detoxifies the liver.

The milky sap from the stem can be applied directly to warts and skin tags to help dissolve them.

The leaves (greens) can be steamed and eaten as a vegetable. They are natures perfect diuretic. They flush out excess fluids from the body and replace potassium.

The flowers have analgesic (pain relieving) properties. The petals should be removed from the green parts. They can be infused in water that has been boiled to make a soothing tea. Or you can infuse them in oil to make a massage oil for sore muscles. This oil is also a great massage oil for breaking up lumpy breast tissue and it’s safe to use every day. I love this oil-it looks like bottled sunshine.

Don’t spray dangerous chemicals on your dandelions to try to kill them. Dig them up and use them-it’s free medicine!

Thanks so much to our own Jackie Alberti ( GloryBeHerbals ) for the fun and educational article!


Feature Friday: Kim Ries of Creative Eye Studio

Thanks to Devin Prather for compiling this interview with Kimberly Ries of Creative Eye Studio! This feature was previously posted at the Bluegrass Etsy Facebook page.

How did you first hear about etsy?

I first learned about etsy from an article that was in the Courier Journal. I tore out the article and it stayed on my desk for a long time! I started a shop in June 2008 but didn't list anything for awhile. I was finishing my bachelors degree in marketing around that time, so my focus was elsewhere. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions before I opened my shop.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!

I live in Louisville and have lived here all my life. I always loved art growing up, although the perfectionist in me interfered with my ability to be creative. My mom tells stories of me working on a drawing, only to eventually tear it up in frustration. I took painting and drawing classes in high school and college but didn't stick with it. Back in the late 90's I was inspired by a creative friend who encouraged me to unleash my creativity. I began taking photos, and Cave Hill cemetery was the perfect place to practice photography. I began rubber stamping and made greeting cards and small scale collages. As with most creative types, I dabbled in lots of different things! Several years ago my coworker talked me into a beading class at a local shop and we both became hooked. My focus for the past three years has been on jewelry, although I still incorporate rubber stamping into the packaging for my jewelry. My husband recently created an art studio for me in our basement so now I have the perfect place to dabble, whether it be making stamped cards, playing around with photos or creating jewelry.

I admire and respect all art forms. I am a big fan of buying handmade and even more so, buying local. I love shopping for pottery, stained glass, felted items, etc. They make wonderful gifts for family and friends.

How did you get started as a designer?

Years ago a close friend helped me stretch and think outside my very narrow box! It really changed things for me and boosted my confidence at the same time. That has stuck with me over the years. Feeling confident in your abilities and validated as an artist or crafter is a great shot in the arm. I try to help others with this and encourage them as well.

What inspires you to create?

I am inspired by colors! It's fun to see what the "in" colors are each season. I like combining colors and textures. Love the bumpy lampwork beads that result in some funky creations.

I suppose I am mostly inspired by nature. I love things with leaves, flowers or a natural organic feel to them. I love using gemstones that reflect colors found in nature, like rhyolite, harmony jasper (peace jade), unakite, autumn jasper, etc. I also love textured, hammered metals and found sea glass.

My husband and I enjoy hiking and I enjoy spotting things in nature that might go unnoticed. My mind is always looking for the perfect photo!

How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I was on an etsy team that focused on marketing but the members were all over the map and in different time zones. I knew I would never meet them. I looked for a local team and was happy to see that Kentucky had formed a team. I joined in September of 2008. The friendships I have formed are so important to me. And getting everyone together for our first Meet and Greet was so much fun. Now we are splitting booths at various local shows and we are getting to know each other very well. I have found that we all have our strengths that we can share with others. It's what makes Team Bluegrass a GREAT team!

6)Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?

Love what you do! Your passion will show through and people will be drawn to your enthusiasm.

Find your niche! Especially if you are in a highly competitive, saturated market like jewelry making. It helps to have that special something that makes your work stand out.

If you are setting up at a show, interact with your potential customers. Look up and smile. Say hello. I have passed by booths when I don't get them to look up, or if they are too busy reading a newspaper or talking on a cell phone. I have also passed by booths where the seller looks unhappy or puts off a negative vibe. Put on your happy face.

Follow through on the details and remember how important presentation is. The way you package your creations can make all the difference in the perceived value. A recent post at etsy suggests that naming your creations and having an interesting story to go along with it, can result in a higher perceived value. I take care in packing my jewelry in an attractive box with ribbon when shipping etsy orders. And I always include a business card, and a handwritten note thanking them for their order. I let the buyer know when their order has shipped. Taking that extra step can set you apart from the competition and result in a repeat customer. Remember, it's all in the details!

If you ever get discouraged, find a mentor or someone that can help encourage you along the way. Ask for a shop critique. Get advice from others, join a team, etc. Don't give up!

Check out the jewelry in Kim's Creative Eye Studio shop at etsy.

Thanks Devin for this interview!

If you are a BEST team member and would like to be featured in an upcoming Feature Friday, please contact Kim Ries or Devin Prather.


Share our Success: Pearlbuds

Our very own Pearlbuds was featured in a really interesting article called "All Atwitter About Tweeds" That is on handmadenews.org

If you click the highlighted word "tote" in the article you see this GORGEOUS tote.

Lets all give Miss Stacy a big pat on the back for some recognition for her AMAZING work!



Finding Serenity in Kentucky:Part 1

Last weekend my family journeyed to Lake Cumberland. We have a tradition amongst my siblings and me, that on your birthday you can plan any activity and we all join you. My sister, Amy, asked we plan the first weekend in June (for her 34th Birthday) to camp and enjoy the lake.

I should tell you, we are not campers, so there was quite a bit of shopping prior to the trip, simply to acquire tents and other basic necessities when camping. At least it was not roller coasters, which was Amy’s 30th Birthday trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park.

We reserved camp sites at Waitsboro Recreation, where the view from any site is breath taking. Everyone set up camp Friday night. Then we gathered for a bon fire, a few drinks and good conversation. We were also entertained by my 2 year old niece, Lucy, who snuck a few sips of orange soda earlier in the evening. She was quite the little tornado.

We rose Saturday morning and headed to the marina to jump on the boats. There were 14 of us, so we rented a pontoon and used my brother in law and sister’s cruiser. The kids had a great time flying through the air on a tube my sister rented. The rest of us strolled down the Lake Cumberland in the pontoon. The scenery is amazing.

Eventually we settled in a cove where we could swim and eat lunch. My dad taught the little ones to skip rocks and the rest of us floated in the lake. It was very relaxing. One of my favorite parts of the day was following a butterfly with my niece. It was striped yellow and black with very fuzzy body. It fluttered around the pontoon probably for 45 minutes or so. I rested my hand on a yellow t-shirt, which I believe it was particular drawn to. However, I do not know if butterflies can see colors. After a short while, it landed on my fingers and showed off its beautiful wings. Later that afternoon, a striped black and white (zebra print) butterfly circled the boat.

In the evening we returned the boats and headed back to the camp site, where we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Again, the scenery was priceless and so inexpensive ($20 a night per camp site). None of us missed our TVs, computers or cell phones. We roasted marshmallows, which was a first for Becca and Lucy and carried on with stories of our childhood.

We were only gone 36 hours, but it felt like we were away for 3 or 4 days. We plan to come back another weekend this summer. Next time, I’ll be prepared with my camera to capture the butterflies.

Happy Campers Becca, Lucy and Shelby

Lucy at Lake Cumberland

Many Thanks to MelodyJune who was kind enough to submit this wonderful article. Looks like it was a great time! Beautiful views!


Kentucky Wild Weeds: Red Clover

Many thanks to our wonderful Jackie Alberti (Glorybeherbals) for submitting her awesome articles on Kentucky Wild Weeds! To see her Feature Friday Interview Click Here

Red Clover

This is another one of those miraculous little plants that are everywhere. Farmers often plant Red Clover as a cover crop to replenish soil nutrients. Herbalists use it treat menopausal symptoms, rashes, psoriasis, eczema and cancer.

Red Clover makes a delicious tea which tastes just like black tea. Scientists are investigating this plant because of the phytoestrogen content which can give menopausal women a natural estrogen boost to alleviate hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Infuse the flowers in oil and you have a safe and gentle massage oil that can be used daily to break up fibrotic breast tissue and possibly prevent breast cancer. Even if it doesn’t prevent breast cancer it will certainly make it easier to detect in the early stages. Fibrocystic breast disease makes it much harder to detect small lumps, even with a mammogram. So next time you see this pretty little flower you can see the real beauty in it.


Celebrating Life Through Art

On June 6, six members of the Bluegrass etsy team set up at the Celebrating Life Through Art Craft Faire in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The event was organized by Donna Williams, who is also a member of our team. Donna was super sweet to work with and even though we had not met, she called out our names as we pulled up the driveway! What a nice reception!

The event was great! We had a steady stream of traffic and the sun was shining all day. We had a very nice lunch and were treated to lots of live entertainment. As an added bonus, Talon Winery was set up at the event and they offered wine tastings, plus wine by the glass or bottle.

Members of the team attending this show were:
Dawn Shroyer of Kentucky in Focus (mommiedawn)
Kim Ries of Creative Eye Studio
Libby Goldsmith of Maylees Garden
Jessica Brown with The Pink Needle
Carolyn Campbell and Robin Green of Cowgirlrosie
and Brenda Herp with Iris in Bloom

If you didn't get a chance to make the show, you can click the links above to see some of their fine work!

There is another show in Shelbyville on September 12 (to benefit the Shelby County HS Band) and we are in the processing of signing up for booths. We'll post an announcement as that show draws near. We would love to see you there!!

Team Members: If you are participating in any shows this year, we'd love to hear about it. Also if you have photos of your booth and a description of the show, we can post it here. Just send your pics and details to Kim Ries (kimberven@earthlink.net). Thanks!


Feature Friday: These Precious Things - Jama Watts

Many thanks to Devin who got this interview together on our Facebook page. I copied and pasted from there. Thanks so much to our superstar Jama Watts for participating


1)How did you first hear about etsy :

I'd heard about etsy a while back from a friend who was purchasing items and thinking about opening her own store. Last year, when I made the conscious decision to promote myself better, I opened my store in July. It took me a while, but I really enjoy it!

2)Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!:

I'm a single mother of one fantastic little girl, own a small gallery/coffee shop in Lebanon, Ky, work part-time at the local public library and am very involved in the community with our Arts & Humanities Council, Main Street Committee, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and other organizations. I like to be busy!

I'm a jewelry designer, focusing primarily on beading, but I also do wire work, silver clay, resin, bead crochet and anything else that strikes my fancy. I'm too ADD to really focus on one medium and I LOVE to learn, so I'm always buying books and magazines to learn new techniques.

3)How did you get started as a designer?:

I started out as a painter and sculpter, getting my art degree from Campbellsville University. Like many artists, I ended up with jobs that had nothing to do with my degree for a while. I kept painting in my spare time, but wasn't doing anything career wise or promoting myself.

In 2002, I was pregnant with my daughter and working as a web designer/office manager for my mom's computer programming & repair business. My OB kicked me out of my art studio and I needed to find some sort of creative release. I bought some beads, beading wire and inexpensive tools, figuring that I could create jewelry and have something to wear or give as gifts. I found I really enjoyed it and started snatching up every beading book and magazine I could find!

4)What inspires you to create?:

I have to create. I can actually feel when I haven't been able to produce something. I think that's just something inside me that has to be released. As for a muse or something to that effect, I have music going 99.9% if the time that I'm working. I find inspiration in music, artwork and nature. Sometimes, it might be the thrill of learning a new technique of a challenge, but the inspiration comes from those three key items.

5)How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?

I joined the BEST team right after joining etsy, probably in August or September of 2008. I searched through the etsy team listings, hoping to find a group of Kentucky artists. I couldn't be happier that I found you guys!
6)Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?:

Always push yourself beyond your comfort zone. There's nothing wrong with perfecting a technique and working on your favorite items, but you don't want your art to become stagnant.

Check out here awesome shop here:


Tutorial: Recycled ACEO Envelope or Seed Packet

Many thanks to our wonderful Kellibeans for making another awesome slideshow tutorial. And lets give her a big round of applause for the new graphics too! YAY GO KELLI!


Yart Specials from the Bluegrass

It’s that time again! What time, you may wonder? Yart Sale Time!

Art + Yard Sale = Yart Sale…..

…and that’s what we’re having on Etsy! Lots of shops on Etsy are having special deals and pricing right now, but the place to be is always in the Bluegrass, so check out our list of team shops who are participating this year and what they’re offering:

Shops Offering Free Shipping:

mayleesgarden.etsy.com - Bath and Body

creativeeyestudio.etsy.com - Jewelry

ladonnae.etsy.com - Jewelry and Paintings

savvystitcher.etsy.com - Sewing

sewcutebykatie.etsy.com - sewing/childrens items

thepinkneedle.etsy.com- sewing

christensonscreations.etsy.com - Kitchen accessories

Shops With Special Deals:

saysyou.etsy.com—20% off on most items plus ALWAYS free shipping

smackinart.etsy.com—10% off on original watercolor paintings/collages, plus order a

whimsical portrait and get a free 8x10 print of that portrait

spoolofplenty.etsy.com—offering a section of special Yart Sale deals, plus free shipping

on purchases over $5

vernonave.etsy.com—50% off selected handbags

veskomom.etsy.com—15% off any item

Please show your love to these shops June 10-14 and enjoy a great deal!

Thanks so much to our guest writer Sara for writing this up.


Tutorial on: Bead Weaving How to do Brick Stitch

One of our newest members Tabitha AKA SheMake on Etsy was kind enough to write this awesome tutorial for us. Enjoy!

Brick Stitch Basics

Weaving is a time consuming task--but it’s really simple. Essentially you are repeating the same motion over and over until you complete your design. In my journey with bead work I’ve focused on the brick stitch, right angle weave, herringbone stitch, and some netting. Once you get down the basics your imagination can fly.

In the next few paragraphs I am going to describe the brick stitch. The brick stitch causes the beads to lay like bricks due to the tension in the string.

But before delving straight into details of the stitch you’ll need some basic tools. Some items you will need to get from a specialty store or online. In Lexington there is an awesome bead store called Dandelion Beads. It is located at 209 Rosemont Garden. If you don’t live near or in Lexington I highly recommend finding the closest bead store near you. Bead stores are great, you are supporting local business and friendly people are there to help you and answer questions. Many stores will provide classes to help you on your beadings question. If you can’t find a store you can order everything you need online. A great sight is http://www.firemountaingems.com/ Here is a list of everything you should need.



-beading needle



-bead board (optional)

A great bead to start with is a size 6-10 seed bead. In the future I will have an article all about the wonderful world of beads, but for now--if you are a beginner--I recommend starting with a larger seed bead, nothing larger than a 10. The higher the number the smaller the bead.

A beading needle is thinner, longer and more flexible than a traditional sewing needle. This makes it easier to finagle the string through the beads. In many cases, depending on the size of bead, the eye of a traditional needle will not go through the bead.. All of the needles I’ve ever bought come in a little paper pouch in a bundle. They break--it’s normal--you might go through a couple in a few weeks.

Are far as string goes there are brands of beadings strings. I’ve used beadings string for a long time. Recently, I was advised to use fishing line. It’s translucent and comes in varying strengths. I’ve been using it for several months with great results. FireLine is supposed to be a great brand. I’ve been using it with great results.

Scissors are fairly self-explanatory--you need to cut the string!

Lastly I recommend using a bead board, especially if you are working from your lap. It doesn’t have to be specifically made for beading. Any tray will work. Basically you don’t want to beads to roll all over the place before you weave them into your design.

Now you are ready to begin.

Most designs start with a basic base. In many cases the base is a string of beads or more commonly the ladder stitch. The ladder stitch is simple.

The Ladder Stitch:

String 2 beads. Let’s call them A and B. After you string the two beads, go through bead A. Next go through bead B. Do this a couple of times. String another bead, bead “C”. After stringing bead C go through bead B. Then go though bead C again. Repeat this a few times. Going back and forth through the beads gives the design some strength. Also I don’t tie knots very well so I go back and forth through the beads until the string is locked in place. Some beaders glue their string. Some tie knots and glue the knots.

You will keep adding beads and looping them together until you get your desired width. The design is going to lift up from this base.

The second row begins the brick stitch. I have drawn some diagrams to help you follow the two basic steps of the brick stitch.

Step 1:

String two beads. Lets call them A and B. (At the start of every new row you will string two beads. After that you will work one bead in at a time until the next row.) Take the needle and slide it under the string that loops the last two beads in the ladder stitch together. (I think the diagram will really help here.) Next take the needle up through bead B. Pull the string tight.

Step 2:

String a 3rd bead, bead C. Take the needle and slip it under the string from the ladder stitch row. Go back up through bead C. Pull the string tight.

Repeat Step 2 until you reach the end of the row. At the beginning of a new row, start step 1 again.

And there you have it! That is the basics of the brick stitch. In a future article I will describe brick stitch variations. Good luck! Have fun exploring the possibilities of off-loom bead weaving.

I have included an example a brick stitch design that I created a while back.

Thanks so much Tabitha! This was a great tutorial! Now I wanna try it!

New graphic for the team!

It looks like we have a CLOSE winner! Number 3 graphic made by Kellibeans is the winner of our poll! YAY!

I thank both of you guys, Themisfitdreamers and Kellibeans for working hard for the team and making these equally awesome graphics. Now Kellibeans you have become my slave, yes. I will send you an email and put you to work. Fellow members expect the blog to look a lot different SOON! Finding the feature friday member and the blog contest will soon be easy!

~Teambluegrass Bloggers:
For now feel free to take this graphic and make it link to our blog. You can do that by going to a place like photobucket.com where you can upload pictures,upload this graphic and copy the link directly to the picture, and then go here Myspace image codes and enter in the web address to the picture, then enter the link http://www.bluegrassetsy.blogspot.com or you can use our new URL which is http://www.kentuckyhandmade.com and click generate! The code that shows up in the bottom line, copy and paste that into an HTML gadget on your blog if your using blogger...if your somewhere else I dont have a clue as to what you do.

And yes I know the link I gave you says "Myspace" code generator but you can use these anywhere that you need a bit of HTML. Thats all it is generating is the HTML code for your clickable links and pictures. Use it anywhere you can insert such a code! Its fun to play with.


Chat times for the team

To the right I have posted two polls, one for chat TIMES and one for chat DAYS.

You can select multiple answers. I am trying to narrow down no more than 3 days a week we could do chat.

I know Monday and Wednesday nights are tough for a lot of you and to be honest they dont work for me either I just thought it would work for MOST of the team so I MADE it work for me.

However, I would love to know in reality what is best for the majority of the team as far as days and times so here is a poll! I know a lot of you want weekdays and a few want a weekend day, so lets work things out.

I can also reinstate the chat room on the ning site and if a bunch of you want to meet there anytime feel free, or in case you dont know you CAN chat on etsy any time. Anyone can make a room. So if a bunch of you want to get together and chat go right ahead. I want the team to have a team spirit, a sense of community and I highly encourage chats and emails to each other as often as you can. But I like to have "Official" chat times too. So vote and let me know what times are good for you!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!


kentucky Wild Weeds: Ginseng

This installment is number one in a new series kindly written by our own GloryBeHerbals Jackie Alberti who was this weeks Feature Friday Interview!

Look for more articles coming weekly on Kentucky Wild weeds! THANKS JACKIE!!!!

Kentucky Wild Weeds

Panax quinquefolius, commonly known as American Ginseng is our most valuable native medicinal plant. The root has been a really lucrative product for people in our state and others, and over-harvesting has put the American ginseng on the endangered list. The state of Kentucky has very strict regulations on how to harvest and market dried ginseng root (unless it is grown on your land) so if you run across it in the woods you shouldn’t dig it up. As you can see from the picture it is quite easy to grow yourself! There are many reputable sources on the internet for buying bare roots if you’re interested in growing your own. If you have land with a wooded area, that would be an ideal place to grow it. It prefers partial shade leaf litter for compost. I have my ginseng in an area that gets only a couple of hours of direct sunlight a day and I mulch it with living mulch. It’s very happy and is getting noticeably bigger every year.

Ginseng is an adaptogen, which means that long term use helps the body adapt to stress, builds endurance and strengthens immunity. There are many species of panax ginseng (Korean, Chinese, etc.). Unlike the asian ginsengs, American ginseng has a more cooling effect.

American ginseng is the preferred species so wild stands are becoming strained from the demand.

I hope all my fellow Kentuckians will choose to raise this plant in their gardens. It will help to save one of our most valuable natural resources.


New look for the team

Two of our very talented graphic artists have been so kind to create these equally awesome "looks" for the team.

please help us choose which "look" we want to have as we are wanting to update our banners, avatars, and create some ads with our new look. Please vote in the poll to the right and help us pick which style you guys like best for our team.

Style 1

Style 2

Style 3

Style 4

Style 5

Style 6

Style 7

Style 8

Many Many thanks to our two graphic designers Kellibeans and TheMisfitDreamers for helping us out with this!

Once the poll is closed and a banner picked as winner the designer who created it will then create all the graphic ads,avatars,banners,and anything else I can dream up based on the small ad pictured here.


Announcing our June Giveaway!

Congratulations to Renaissance Austin of California! She is our winner of the "I'm Like a Bird" clutch giveaway courtesy of Toni Johnson of Vernon Ave. If you have not seen Toni's original purses, check out her Vernon Ave etsy shop.

Our June giveaway was created by the lovely and talented Jama Watts. Her work has been featured in Fire Mountain catalogs and is just lovely! Take a look at her one of a kind jewelry at the These Precious Things etsy shop.

Ear Buds

These hand crafted earrings feature dangles of small lucite flowers in light pink, hot pink and baby blue with centers in various colors. Threaded on silver-plate headpins, each with a wrapped loop for extra security. Flowers dangle off sterling chain and hand-made sterling earwires. Full length of earrings is 1.75".
These earrings are valued at $20.

How Do I Enter?
In order to enter this drawing, please visit the These Precious Things store, then come back to this blog and post your comment. Tell us what you like about Jama's shop or tell us about your favorite item. If you post this giveaway on your blog, let us know that too, for an additional chance to win.

We'll draw a random winner on June 30.

Good luck to all!