Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Inner Princess

I am thrilled to have My Inner Princess as the next Hoarders Unite feature!

Sandi, who operates the My Inner Princess shop on Etsy and Ebay, lived many years as a teacher in inner city schools, convinced she had no creative ability. Then came early retirement after beating leukemia. Suddenly she had the desire to release her new-found creative energy. What started out as the desire to make something unique from her mother’s and grandmother’s jewelry has turned into the fabulous creations you see in her shop. Not being able to bring herself to alter her family’s jewelry, she started collecting a few pieces of vintage jewelry and frames to alter. She received such positive feedback when she showed friends and family, she realized she’d found the inner princess she never knew she had. The hunt was on!

As all hoarders can relate to, she needed “a few more” pieces of vintage jewelry and frames. She is now also altering trinket boxes, vanity mirrors, clocks and even a jean jacket. She’s discovered that she absolutely loves decorating shabby faux pearl initials. Receiving a few huge orders has added even more incentive!

Sandi finds inspiration from several sources. On a personal level, her husband, who she describes as being the most humble and noble man she knows, causes her to want to be a better person. Surviving leukemia has allowed her to see life on many new levels. She emphasizes that you just never know when you won't have another chance. If you're thinking something positive, say it. If you want to do something for someone, do it. Don't ever let anyone question just how much you truly care for them. As for her crafting inspiration, Sandi began by making everything totally symmetrically, lacking the confidence to be bold, which matched her type A personality. She needed to consciously stretch to find ways to make her frames more whimsical, original and unique. She was determined to show just what she had to offer, and to finally take risks. And did she succeed!

Sandi finds crafting therapeutic, and often allows herself to work through the peaceful night hours. She begins with no specific direction in mind, and stretches from there.

Unlike many crafters who grew up from an early age with crafts in hand, Sandi started only a year ago, with a bag of scrap repair jewelry and one frame. She keeps her supply hoard organized. She has at least 30 tubs of brooches and earrings, all grouped by color, "themed" items such as rhinestone telephones, bras, (she even has a little rhinestone bra pin), animals, motorcycles, dancers, musical notes and instruments, crosses and angels. She keeps plenty of clamps on hand as she sometimes works on four or five items at a time. Proof that she is a true hoarder: Sandi bought 200 pretty little pink "a gift for you" bags, but has ended up wrapping the gift in with everything else as she can’t part with the bags. I’m guessing everyone on the Hoarders Unite team can tell a similar tale!

Sandi doesn’t limit her hoarding to craft supplies. She has duplicates (even triplicates) of some things for fear of running out: shoes, purses, desk supplies, you name it. She can’t part with her boxes of teaching materials even though she will never teach again.

The oddest hoard Sandi has is her approximately 400 packs of photo paper in various sizes. As she can’t keep up with the ink demand, the paper may just sit there forever.

Sandi’s advice to other hoarders: Find what you love to do and love what you it so much that it's therapeutic for you. Being organized helps you work more efficiently. There is no need to pay a lot of money for supplies or organization aids. Sandi uses cute $1.00 containers from a dollar store, and little flower planters for her clamps. She shops at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, flea markets and Ebay. Her advice to on-line sellers is not to give up. It takes time. She had many moments doubting herself when sales were low, then someone would come along and buy 8 or 12 frames at one time and another would buy 4 or 5 shortly after. She gets raving compliments from her customers, and that’s what keeps her going. That, and the wonderful friendships she’s made with some of her customers and the many awesome people she’s met in cyber world.

Sandi lives in Middle, Tennessee (there is no North or South), but she is eager to move someplace where she has never been – perhaps the mid-west or the shoreline of New England. She remarried in 2000 and together, she and her husband have five children, two daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, three cats and two dogs.

Visit the My Inner Princess etsy shop at

Sandi has just opened a second etsy shop, Blueberry manor, where she will be selling beautiful brooches.

Read her blog at

Photos: (1) a wee bit of Sandi's hoard (2) how organized!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I think that we Hoarders are busy people and sometimes don't take care of ourselves properly. Am I right? You probably put others first, or your shop, or your creating, taking minimal time to nurture yourself.

Rather than give you a list of how you should eat, how much sleep you should get, etc., etc., instead, here are some little ways to pamper yourself. Especially throughout the holidays we need to remember to take little "breaks."

  1. If you are working around the house, set the timer for a 15 minute span in the morning and another in the afternoon. When the timer goes off, sit down, put your feet up and read a chapter of a book; drink a cup of your favorite tea; call a friend or do a crossword puzzle. When the 15 minutes is up go back to your chores.

  2. Take a bubble bath after an especially stressful or busy day. Light a few candles around the bathroom, pour bubble liquid or powder into the tub. Lock the doors and tell the family you are "off limits" for half an hour.

  3. If you are planning a day of shopping take a second pair of shoes with you. It is a proven fact that if you change your shoes at noon, your feet won't hurt in the evening. (I worked in a shoe store at one time.)

  4. Stop whatever you are doing, wherever you are, and eat lunch at your normal time of day. Postponing it or skipping it will just make you feel worse later on.

  5. Be sure to drink water. When we are busy it is so easy to forget to drink. Keep some bottles of water handy "for the road." I always put one in my purse when I leave home because I often get coughing attacks, but also because our bodies need to drink water all day long, even when we are not at home. Did you know that your body gets used to not having water and once you start drinking more it will crave more? So at first you may have to force yourself to drink the water but soon you will be surprised at how much you are drinking. "They" say that coffee, tea and soda pop DON'T COUNT. They are made with water but they don't take the place of water.

  6. Don't forget to spend some time with loved ones and/or friends. We can get so wrapped up in all we have to do that we don't have time for the people in our lives who are really important to us.

  7. Are you in need of a hair cut? Pedicure? Then take the time and the money to do those things for yourself. You will feel better, believe me. And those things, along with make-up and hair stuff, are not luxuries, they are necessities. They should be on the shopping list just like the flour and sugar. Sometimes we women tend to get a little behind in caring for ourselves and start to feel "dumpy" and think we don't have the money to buy bubble bath or get our hair cut...wrong!

  8. Treat yourself to a very special hand lotion that smells good. Put it on throughout the day. You'll be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

  9. Turn the t.v. off. A lot of us keep it on to have background noise, but if you are like me, leaving the t.v. off and playing music instead helps keep me going. If you sit down in front of the t.v. before you know it an hour has gone by. Of course there are times when that is perfectly fine. I reserve my evening time for t.v. watching. Then I multi-task, too. I knit or do my crosswords or fill out cards to mail to friends. Sometimes I cut ... out of magazines, or punch paper cut outs for my crafting.

  10. Do one thing every day that makes you happy!

I hope you will be kind to yourselves this holiday season!


Sunday, November 22, 2009


I am excited to introduce to you Hoarders Unite team member, Mamta! Mamta has an Etsy shop by the same name, which means “maternal love” in Hindi. She creates things in the same manner a mother creates her babies – out of love.

Mamta creates all types of crafts, including crochet, paper crafts, beading, flower making, clay crafts, metal crafts and, macram̩. She would need quite a hoard of craft supplies for all of those interests! Mamta first gains inspiration from something she sees Рa photo in a book, an object of nature, a dream, maybe just an idea, then goes on to create her concept using her intuition.

Crafting since she was a young girl, Mamta recalls decorating her entire kindergarten class, and covering her books with colourful drawings and stickers. She hasn’t stopped crafting since!

I asked Mamta to describe her craft supply hoard. She has all types of beads, (paper, metal, glass, ceramic), jewelry findings, colorful papers, paints, antiques, semi precious stones, books and almost every type of yarn. She also has lots of unfinished projects, some 15 to 20 years old! In addition to craft supplies, Mama also hoards clothes, shoes, old letter, cards and gifts from friends, newspaper cuttings, bottles, chocolate wrappers, and plastic bags – anything that she can make art from.

The most precious item Mamta is hoarding is a doll named Dolly, a birthday gift from her father on her 9th birthday. Dolly’s eyes are broken, her face has dark marks, and she is almost bald. Dolly has been with Mamta through good days and bad, and Mamta finds it impossible for the two to part.

Most hoarders will hold onto something that others might think has little value. For Mamta, it’s old shoes and her old college books. She’s keeping the shoes as they are still in good shape (you never know when they might come back in fashion!). As for the books, she has plans to use them for making paper mache items – some day!

Mamta’s advice for other hoarders is to marry a man with a big house and a lot of patience! She did just that. Mamta, her husband Raaj and their pet turtle, Dhinglei, live in Mumbai, India.

Mamta is a full-time designer who left corporate life to make a career in designing. Her other hobbies include martial arts, gardening, reading, music and organizing and managing events. Being so busy, you’d think she couldn’t possibly have any spare time, but she has just volunteered to organize a number of promotional events for the Hoarders Unite team!

Hoarding is Mamta’s mantra to stay calm in her chaotic life. Being surrounded by her hoard makes her feel secure that she has all she needs to make life in this world beautiful and meaningful. She loves being creative and giving away the things that she makes, knowing that her gifts provide good vibes and love. Of course, the more she gives away, the more she needs to accumulate!

Photos above:
Mamta is currently working on this fabulous crochet evening dress.
An interesting piece of art Mamta made from her hoard.
Part of Mamta's hoard.

Mamta has a total of four Etsy shops: (clothing, art, jewelry, supplies and embellishments) (pictures and paper goods) (soft toys and plush items) (Mamta’s and other team member's creations and supplies)

Mamta also has four blogs:
craft blog:
etsy team India blog:
chit chat with my soul blog:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Finds 20% off sale

Don't forget to visit Etsy this weekend and purchase some Friday Finds! Team member shops are offering 20% off specified items this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

GothFae has marked down this adorable tutu petal skirt:Le Boudoir Secret is offering this hand-painted dragonfly necklace:
Is there an Elvis lover on your holiday list? Head over to MyInnerPrincess and purchase this one of a kind photo frame:Or, choose an initial monogram necklace for that special someone from Alterdesigns:
There are more items and more participating shops to explore!
Just search on Etsy for HoardersUnite and FridayFinds
and get shopping!



Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have always been a list maker. I used to get teased about it. Then my youngest daughter came along. When she was a sophomore in high school she wrote out a list of whom she would be inviting to her graduation party, two years away! I was no longer teased; instead we teased her, and still do.

There is value in making lists so it's not all a laughing matter! I've known for myself at least that writing something down makes it more real. Once you have written something, it seems to "stick" better. Making lists helps to prioritize. It might be a grocery list, maybe a list of chores, a list of errands to run downtown. Once you get the list made, you can peruse it and see which items are more important or need to be done sooner than others.

Making a list enables you to "forget" about what you have written, no need to remember, just look at the list. So it is time saving and stress reducing to make lists. When you reach a certain age, your memory begins to slip a little. A little here, a little there. If you write things down, you don't have to try to remember what it was you wanted to remember! And a very nice reward for making lists is the feeling you get when you cross something off the list!

I also tend to write things down on slips of paper and then those get misplaced. Having a tablet handy to write things down and knowing that is where your list(s) live will be very helpful. I recently bought a white dry erase board to write down items that I would like to make with my hoarded supplies. Sometimes I will get a brainstorm and if I don't jot it down it flies off to foreign lands, thus the board. So far, so good.

Making lists is just another organizational tool that we can all benefit from.
~Nancy ~Garmenture~Victorian Visions by Nanalee~

Etsy's Friday Finds: Hoarders Unite 20% off sale

The Hoarders Unite team is having its first ever teamwide sale!

We are participating in Etsy's Friday Finds

this weekend, November 20, 21, and 22.

During these three days, participating member

shops will offer select items for 20% off the regular


On the sale days, just follow your nose to our

Friday Finds

type "HoardersUnite" in the message to seller

and your purchase will be refunded 20% after payment.

Easy Peasy!

We will have a list of participating shops here on

Thursday, so check back here...



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Giving Old Sweaters a Beautiful Repurposed Life

A new (to me) crafting activity I’ve recently tried is working with fulled (felted) wool. It’s a lot of fun and frustration, and a great opportunity for hoarders!

About a year ago, I found a gorgeous wool sweater at a local thrift store. I now have a chest full of fulled wool sweaters patiently awaiting a new, repurposed life. I’ve done a lot of experimentation (hence the frustration), but I’ve learned a lot in the process!

For example, I know that there are oodles of wool sweaters available at the thrift stores, but that most of them are not suitable for repurposing. I won’t buy anything again that isn’t 100% wool, as they rarely react well to the fulling process. They also need to be as large as possible, because it is difficult to make anything of any size otherwise. Loose-knit wool doesn’t achieve good results. Drying in the dryer was only attempted once! (My dryer still coughs up lint balls occasionally). I tried hand-fulling in a bucket of hot soapy water, and learned that the results weren’t worth the labour-intensive effort.

Yes, the sweaters have been worn. But, by the time the fulling process is complete, they have been washed in hot, hot water several times, so I guarantee you they are clean! I’ve made some great finds – such as a men’s extra-large, virtually new wool sweater that had a tiny hole in he front. I can work around that! It cost me less than $2.00. Even better, my favourite crafting supply scout (aka my daughter, herself a bit of a craft supply hoarder) went out of her way, little ones in tow, to get me a huge box of gorgeous already-felted, patterned wool pieces that I’m slowly working my way through.

So far, I’ve fulled about three dozen adult sweaters, and created a few little girls’ sweaters from them. Sometimes it takes cutting into three adult sweaters to make one little size 2 jacket. They are super soft, warm, and quite water resistant. I already have a pile of felted wool scraps that I can make smaller items from, when I have the time. There are so many things that can be made from a little scrap of beautiful felt, it’s a hoarder’s delight!

And that’s not even mentioning needle felting. I would love to try my hand at that some day soon!

There are many Etsy sellers who produce beautiful work with felted wool. Two of my favourite items are the felted wool mittens from and the felted wool slipper socks from The sweater is from my shop,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

GoTo our latest Treasury!

That is, the latest treasury by GoTo...Great Panes. Beautiful. And, I see in the posts that


has had a sale from the treasury. Yay!

Click here to visit the treasury before it disappears on November 15!



Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Did you know that there are some super great ideas and tips on Etsy about team building? I did, but had not taken full advantage of this knowledge up to now. Today, I did a little poking around the Etsy Team Guides section.

  • I added our team blog to the Etsy Team Blog Ring.
  • I added our team blog address to my Etsy shop page.
  • I read this creative team marketing article on the Storque
  • I got some ideas to discuss in our upcoming team chat
  • I am wondering how we might make our own holiday gift guide
I want to thank Mamta for stepping up as the promotions coordinator for the team. I hope that our efforts will soon pay off in increased membership and increased sales for all members.

Happy Hoarding!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sizzlin' Hot Treasury

MadameTeasley has continued our November challenge by helping to fuel team momentum this week with a Red Hot treasury of team items. These are great for the holiday season! Visit the treasury. Send your friends. Ask them to join our team!Treasury expires on Friday, November 13.



Ice Blue treasury

Thanks to WhoaItsMe for beginning this week with a wonderfully wintry treasury of icy blues and snowflake patterns.Treasury ends on November 11, so hurry on over and pick your favorite items for that special somebody!



Thursday, November 5, 2009

The top 10 reasons women give for hoarding fabric/yarn/beads/jewelry findings/scrapbooking supplies/(your craft supply hoarding obsession here):

10. It was such a bargain, I would be wasting money if I didn’t buy it.

9. I had to buy it, I might not be able to find it again.

8. It was my mother’s/sister’s/aunt’s/someone's-who-I-once-crossed-paths-with, and I just can’t bear to part with it.

7. My parents grew up during the depression so I grew up in a household that saved everything. (It’s my parents’ fault!)

6. I showed great restaint – I didn’t buy even half of what I wanted.

5. I’m saving it for just the right project.

4. I need to have a lot of supplies if I am going to be creative!

3. It draws attention away from my significant other’s sports card/beer stein/model car/comic book/(his obsession here) hoard.

2. When I’m suddenly snowed in, my supplies will carry me over until spring.

1. Hoard? What hoard? This is my collection!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


One year ago we became an Etsy team, we hoarders. We decided on the name, Hoarders Unite! An avatar and a banner were chosen in our infancy that were orange and green. They were fine at the time, but later on some of us decided we'd like something different. Thus the new banner and avatar in blue with a little bit more modern design.

We posted photos of our work spaces and found that some of us were not only hoarders but hmm, shall we say, messy. We have so many supplies that it is hard to maintain them in the space in our home allotted to our art and craft. We encouraged one another with our ideas on organizing and storage.

We thought we might like to swap supplies but really that never did happen. We might try that again, we'll see. We seem to like to hold onto our supplies, thinking that we might need this or that "someday."

Our fearless leader, Sinclair, or Nature With Me, kept us going through the year, challenging us to use supplies on hand and NOT purchase new. Secretly and in theory we agreed. I'm guilty of purchasing new. I can't stick to one media, thus I need new supplies now and then. I started to knit a rug. Needed yarn, needed needles. Bought some. Worked on the rug until I decided to make a scarf. Made scarf. Made another scarf. Made another scarf...was challenged to make hats for veterans in southern Oregon. Made hat. Made another hat. And get the picture. Had to buy more yarn and more needles. BUT, I bought a lot of the yarn and all but one pair of needles at second hand stores. I was using SOMEONE'S hoard!! LOL!!

So, one year later, sock monkeys and boo-koo scarves and hats later, Sinclair has again challenged us to become more active in order to help promote our shops, and to participate in the team. We responded by having THREE treasuries of our talented members' offerings at Etsy; by answering her call to share our gifts by doing a challenge a month via her blog, "Sharing Our Gifts" whereby we make items for a certain charity or needful organization a month and each month featuring a different state of the union, and by volunteering to do the blog once a week on a given day.

Today is my day, I'm happy to be a part of this group which challenges me but also offers encouragement and support in my online handmade business, i.e., Etsy shops.

I think Sinclair was doing a wonderful job with the blog and the other activities she organized but it isn't fair that she has to do all the work!! So, Sinclair, thanks for all you do for all of us!!

Now carry on, Hoarders. Let's show 'em our stuff! Mark all your items with the tag, "hoardersuniteteam" and upload the avatar with your item photos if you have room. Talk about us in your own personal blogs, encouraging buyers to search for our name at Etsy. Let us set some personal goals for the second year of Hoarders Unite that fellow members can help each other attain.

Ta ta for now,
Nancy ~ nanalee
Etsy shops: GARMENTURE

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Trio of Treasuries

Amazing! We have had three treasuries in the past week, and when I did a search for "hoardersuniteteam," I came up with 7 pages of result to choose from. I have my poster sketch at the ready!

Here is the latest by Mamta:This treasury expires tomorrow, so take a gander and share the news!