Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sixth Day of Christmas – Books written by Lanetta J. Sprott

Never did I think this statement would be true: “Books written by Lanetta J. Sprott”! Never did I aspire to become a writer, or ever think about writing a full-length novel. It was not until one day I was standing in my kitchen and a young girl, that I didn't know, came into my mind's eye. My breath caught in my throat as she flooded my mind with the entire love story of Jane and Thomas. The reader will never know it all came from Lauren because she played a minor role in Wherever Forever Begins, A Simple Love Story. And, she continues to speak to me, telling me what happens in their Journey through Forever, the sequel that’s a loving work in progress.
Trust me, I’m not going crazy with hearing voices! Other writers know exactly what I’m talking about!
It took four years writing their love story, in between working full time, helping to take care of our cattle ranch, and researching for the fine tune details. Then sending to different editors and beta readers, making their suggested corrections, and receiving multiple rejection letters later, I decided to self-publish. It's green to self-publish anyway! Since the release of Where Forever Began, a mid-1800’s historical romance set in the New England area (with a little bit of Texas time thrown in, of course), I’m overwhelmed with the positive feedback I continually receive.

Finding Closure, a contemporary fiction, is totally different from my first book. Lindsey’s story cannot be considered a “romance” by the industry’s standards. Although she did have Chase come into her life – for a while – her story is more one of empowerment, the power she finds within her own self. The “why” behind writing Finding Closure, I haven’t a clue. I just knew I had to share what happened to Lindsey and how she handled all the tragedy life threw her way. The only “who” was Lindsey herself talking me through the writing process. I also have appreciated readers' positive comments on Finding Closure. One especially I'll never forget: "Way to go Lindsey!"
Several other works of fiction are in different stages of completion. All the characters are in my head, waiting their turn, some not as patient or quiet as others.

Madison is the loudest. Next Time Around ~ a romance in the truest sense of the word ~ will depict her story. Ella is a close second on the noise level scale! I had to put her story down for a bit because of the unsettling nightmares I began having while writing it! Yeah, it’s a murder mystery that I may have to lighten up a bit for me to finish!

I've never approached writing a novel with first seeing a picture for the front cover! Knowing it will be perfect when I saw it, I bought the photograph and obtained rights to use, but the storyline has yet to develop! I have faith Left Behind will come when I least expect it! Maybe "they" are waiting for me to clear my head from everyone else!

This is the awarding winning "Left Behind" photo by Beverly Powell, and future cover for the novel, Left Behind:

It just speaks volumes to me!

A while back I began writing a non-fiction, something a little different than what's already on the market. Finding Elbow Grease is a project I’ll finish in time for Christmas. Which Christmas, I haven’t a clue! A beta reader has read what I’ve written so far and continues to encourage me to finish it! I will, I will!!!

Although books written by Lanetta J. Sprott are published at, I’m very disappointed (and embarrassed) with the changes to their site. I have no control over how it looks or the content format. This is another reason why I offer both books (and will future ones) through Lanetta’s Creations at the same bottom line price (after their shipping & handling)! Plus, I can autograph the copies before mailing! Win-Win!!!

Use coupon code 6thday at checkout until January 6th (one per customer) and receive 20% off the signed book of your choice! Free Shipping & Handling, too!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fifth Day of Christmas - Beaded Bookmarks

Several years ago, my step-daughter gave me a lovely beaded bookmark. Since then I’ve kept it in my favorite Bible, the New Living Translation that Mother and Daddy gave me for Christmas 2007. Once I saw the idea, I, too, have created numerous beaded bookmarks with waxed linen thread and varying pendants with either beads of gemstone, semi-precious stones, and/or glass. Touches of gold or silver are usually added for an extra touch. I love the simple elegance of beaded bookmarks and will always create them at Lanetta's Creations.

Over time, the pendants I’ve used have had far ranging themes. To name a few, I’ve used crosses, crucifixes, angels, fairies, rainbows, inspirational words, arrow heads, sunflowers, tree of life, hearts, and either pink or gold ribbons! There are so many lovely pendants available! Here are a few I've used:

I think everyone knows the pink ribbon represents Breast Cancer Awareness. I’ve made several, inspired by family and friends who are Breast Cancer Survivors, and in honor of those who were called home while courageously fighting the battle.

I did not know, until a dear friend shared with me, the gold ribbon is for Childhood Cancer Awareness. She asked if I would consider making some beaded bookmarks using the gold ribbon. Well, certainly!
The gold ribbons aren’t something offered at my primary pendant resource and that’s A-Okay because I’m pleased to find them at a place where 100% of the proceeds are used to help fund their programs and services. Formerly Candlelighter’s Childhood Cancer Foundation, the American Childhood Cancer Organization, was there when my friend, and her son, and family, needed help and support.

A couple of years ago, a client asked me to create individualized beaded bookmarks for her Bible Study group. She wanted to give them as Christmas gifts that year and gave me plenty of time to handcraft each one. The only thing the 15 beaded bookmarks had in common – each had a cross pendant. I used at least five different cross designs like the ones pictured below. Details with the use and arrangement of different beads, spacers, and added silver or gold attributes made each a unique, one-of-a-kind handmade gift for her to give!

I love making custom orders! They are always welcome utilizing any theme!

Until January 6th, use coupon code 5thday at checkout and receive 20% off a Handmade in Texas Beaded Bookmark by Lanetta’s Creations! (one coupon per customer) Free Shipping & Handling, too!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fourth Day of Christmas - Doll Clothes

Oh, my, goodness…the love for creating handmade doll clothes must be a genetic thing! Between my mother and paternal grandmother, they made all the doll clothes my Chatty Cathy ever wore. If I recall correctly, a great-aunt also made some doll clothes for her! When Barbie came on the scene, they made those itty bitty clothes, too. I’m very fortunate that both dolls, and their handmade wardrobes, are still in my life!

My two nieces played with my dolls whenever they visited. I don’t remember them having much interest with Chatty Cathy, but they thoroughly enjoyed playing with Barbie and her two best friends. As I did while growing up, both nieces took excellent care of the dolls and their doll clothes. This tender loving care is why my treasures are basically in the same condition as when I first received them as Christmas gifts.

Although I will admit, Chatty Cathy’s hair is a bit unruly and I’ve tried rolling, but it remains the same!

After a long absence from the machine, in 2007 I started sewing again. I decided to make Chatty Cathy some new doll clothes. The simple act of sewing, of creating handmade clothes for my first doll, became a passion I’d not ever before experienced! Many times I wonder if the generations before had the same passion. I know they had the same love, as it showed in their faces when they presented me with their handmade gift.

This is one of the first dresses I made for Chatty Cathy when I began sewing again. Made with seer-sucker, cotton, and a bit of trim, I just love this dress!

Sometime in 2008, I realized the American Girl doll wore the same size clothes as Chatty Cathy. I became so excited and shared the news with my sister ~ not that I could afford to buy an AG doll! One day, during chat time over the Internet, my sister & I both looked at the AG site and she asked me which one was my favorite. I couldn’t decide between Mia (2008 Girl of the Year) or Nellie (Historical Character Samantha’s best friend).

Low and behold, a week later, both dolls arrived! I was so SHOCKED and pleasantly surprised at the GENEROUS gift my sister gave me! Trust me, I know how blessed I am to have such a supportive, loving big sister!

See how cute Chatty Cathy's dress looks on Mia:

(I like the red ribbon belt better than the white that Chatty had on in her picture.)

It wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to open Lanetta’s Creations and take a stab at selling my Handmade in Texas doll clothes for 18 inch dolls. I've created special studio section "Doll Clothes - American Girl inspired" but it's Chatty Cathy inspired, too!

Just recently, and thanks to my lovely, generous mother, I now have an American Girl Bitty Baby! I named her Wendy, after a character in one of my favorite childhood stories, Peter Pan. She wears 15 inch clothes that I'm slowly adding outfits to the studio section, Doll Clothes - Bitty Baby Inspired.

This was her first outfit I made:
Then the next one...

More are coming!!!

I’m so thankful that between my online store, Arts and Crafts Shows, Trunk Shows, and custom orders, doll clothes handcrafted at Lanetta’s Creations have become a huge success. It warms my heart knowing girls (of all ages!) are dressing their dolls with the Handmade in Texas doll clothes I’ve created, and playing with dolls like the ones I love.

Use coupon code 4thday at checkout and receive 15% off American Girl inspired doll clothes for the 18 inch dolls until 1/6/2012 (one coupon per customer)!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Third Day of Christmas - More Apron News!

I have had such a fun time creating aprons for little girls! Throughout the process ~ from designing to cutting out the fabric, then sewing and finding the perfect embellishment trim ~ I envision the young chef playing in her make-believe kitchen, or standing on a step stool at the kitchen cabinet helping her grandmother/granny. That’s what I did! My nieces always helped their granny when they were young, then their boys stood on the same stool next to their great-granny about thirty years later!

This brings me to share the first of two new aspects now in Lanetta’s Creations apron department! A new studio section, Aprons for Either, will have waist and chef aprons that either a woman or man would wear! Although Lanetta’s Creations’ primary focus will remain on the woman of all ages – from little girls to the grown woman – I also know men want and wear aprons, too!

An example of a chef's apron that any Dallas Cowboy fan, whether man or woman, would love to wear (especially when the Cowboy's decide to play!):

I also plan to make aprons that boys won’t mind wearing! For right now, their aprons will be included in the Aprons for Children section, or in the–– 

Aprons for Tweens & Early Teens is another new studio section for easy shopping at Lanetta’s Creations. This section will showcase especially designed and created aprons for ages 8 through 15.

I recently custom made an apron for an eleven year old girl using this fabric:

In the style/design requested:
An after-Christmas report said she loved the apron and
it fit her perfectly!

Use coupon code 3rdday at checkout for 15% off aprons listed in Aprons for Either or Aprons for Tweens to Early Teens studio sections! Free shipping, too! Sale ends 1/6/2012! One coupon use per person!

It is the hope of Lanetta's Creations to provide the aspiring or accomplished chefs of all ages ~ and gender ~ with an apron they will love and treasure for a very very long time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Second Day of Christmas - Aprons

I have created aprons for many years and love each one I’ve ever made! My sister still has the first one I made/gave her, probably forty five years ago! And, Mother continues to wear the ones I’ve made her over the years, too! It’s good to see first-hand how nicely my work has held up over the years. Like vintage aprons of today, given the loving care they deserve, I know my aprons will live on, too – long after me!

This is my sister’s original apron I made her…

Since Lanetta’s Creations began, I’ve made oodles more for my sister, for her and for her to give! Besides during cooking fabulous meals in her own home, she loves to wear an apron, cobbler style, while gardening and a different one while serving food during special events at her church.

One particular apron I made for Momma – about thirty years ago – she only uses around Christmas time. It came about after she found and bought a lovely set of china with holly and berries on white, something she’d always wanted: special Christmas china. I was into quilting at the time and decided to make her an apron with a matching table runner to complement the china’s pattern. She has used them both every Christmas since!
Except, of course, this year, when I wanted to take a picture to share! She says the bib part of the apron needs to be adjusted since her body shape has changed!?! (Haven't we all!) I learned the apron is in her mending box, rather than giving it back to me to adjust! That will be corrected in time for next Christmas!
Anyway, it’s wonderful how the love of wearing an apron has come full circle! And, now more and more people want individualized ~ unique ~ special ~ Handmade in the USA ~ aprons. To meet this need, Lanetta’s Creations has a new shop section called: Aprons in the Raw. Check often because as I organize my stock, I'll continue to list selections! Also, I can't refuse awesome fabrics whenever I visit lovely shops! It's such a weakness of mine!

The Aprons in the Raw concept is a little different than a customized apron. The “raw” aspect means I already have the fabric! The customer will select the fabric (as if buying an already constructed apron) then tell me how to make it! I will continue to accept and produce custom made aprons upon request!

A “custom made apron” is when someone wants specific colors/print/theme/style that I don’t already have the fabric/materials in stock to make the apron. For example, I had a client contact me wanting a chef apron for her husband out of camo fabric! Not a problem! He was a happy camper when he received it in time for hunting season!

I'm sure he's a happy camper again once he opened the surprise Christmas gift his wife ordered from me! I can't wait to hear!

(NOTE: A client is always welcome to mail me the 100% cotton fabric of their choice and I’ll make the apron style they request at a discounted price!) 

Since starting Lanetta’s Creations, I’ve created many apron designs using colors and prints and styles I found appealing. This approach is like a builder constructing spec houses. Sometimes they sell, sometimes they don’t. At least, with an apron, I can redesign it, add something, or turn it into a doll dress!

Rather than creating “spec” aprons, Aprons in the Raw will offer choices. I’ll take pictures of coordinating fabrics I have in stock, list them, and the customer can tell me which style to make!

For example, another client asked for Christmas aprons (and in specific styles) to give as gifts this year. I took several pictures of fabrics I had available and emailed them to her. She then selected the ones she wanted, and for whom, and told me the body types and height of each woman. Easy as pie! And, she was able to give the perfect gifts!

This is an example of one of the pictures I took to show a combination of fabrics I thought would make a lovely apron:

And, the final result in the style requested:

I think the Aprons in the Raw approach will work nicely! There are a couple of new designs/styles I still want to create, even though they will be a spec! Ah! They are lovely! In any case, the main objective/goal at Lanetta’s Creations is for each person to have an apron they want, or the one they want to give. It is my wish to create a treasure that will last into vintage years, way beyond me!

I'm excited! Hope you will be, too!

Monday, December 26, 2011

First Day of Christmas - Christian Beads for Prayer

On this First Day of Christmas, I thought I would take time to explain how the Christian Beads for Prayer came to be something I wanted to create and offer at Lanetta’s Creations. For me, it was one of those “right time” moments and “right place” type event. It was the “right time” for me, as my heart was open. And, as a Protestant, I was in the “right place” to receive the acceptance, the symbolism of what Christian Beads for Prayer can hold for a person of faith.

Back in 2010, this is one of the Christian Beads for Prayer I created especially for my niece, who ran the 2500th Marathon in Greece:

Anyway, to the rest of my story...
While visiting my sister in her home, I happened to notice a short strand of beads with decorative spacers resting in a glass bowl on top of her desk. One end had a cross (I don’t remember what was on the opposite end). As we both grew up Protestant, I asked her what they were for, since utilizing beads was not part of our religious upbringing. She briefly explained something like, “When holding them, it helps me to focus on God during prayer.” I couldn’t really get anything else from her, other than there was no specific prayer for each bead, that it’s personal to the individual.

Over the years I’ve seen lovely rosaries friends had and often wondered about the prayers they recited, and the symbolism between the beads and spaces. But, as a Protestant, using a rosary was never part of my religious training or upbringing. Never before had I heard of Christian Beads for Prayer, but when my sister introduced me, I fell in love with them, and the concept, immediately!

Although I’ve made several, my sister created a strand for me and I keep her Christian Beads for Prayer with me always. This past summer, when our dad came close to being called home twice, holding on to those beads while praying gave me such comfort words can never express.

Bottom line, the Christian Beads for Prayer are, simply put, a tactical focus tool. This simple tool is intended to bring the person a sense of focus, an awareness of the physical connection during intimate times spent with God.

There is no specific prayer for the beads, or spaces, whether the first or second or last. As the act of praying is in of itself unique, how to use the Christian Beads for Prayer is also unique to the individual during their contemplative prayer or spiritual reflection.

I thoroughly enjoy creating each one of the Christian Beads for Prayer that I’ve ever made. They are great to carry in the pocket or purse, or given as a gift to those confined to bed, away traveling, or deployed, defending our country. Oh, my, goodness. They sure work for me!

To begin the celebration, this First Day of Christmas, my Christian Beads for Prayer are on sale for the next twelve days! Yes! Receive half off when you use the coupon code: 1stDay. Free Shipping also continues!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having a joyous Christmas Day, always remembering the reason for the season! Happy Birthday, Jesus!

This Christmas Day, as they all are, is also a day of reflection for me. It brings warmth to my soul recalling time’s past as I celebrate the current day with my family. I treasure each memory we’ve created over the years. I pray I’ll always remember them and will have many more Christmas’s with family to add to my memory bank!

Rather than on New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day, today I started thinking about next year! Actually it started a bit earlier, about the time I wrapped 2011's last gift. I’m always thinking, wondering what can I give my family; what can I create for them next year? And, I think about Lanetta’s Creations! What should I create that others might need, and would like? How can I make Lanetta’s Creations ArtFire Studio better than ever? I love to sew, that might be a big clue...

Over the next twelve days, I’ll share some exciting happenings I’m doing and/or thinking about for Lanetta’s Creations! But first, let me explain my view of the twelve days…

When it comes to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I begin the celebration after Christmas! Without getting into a theological discussion over different perspectives having the first day beginning on Christmas Day itself (even at sundown) and others say the day after is when the celebration begins, for me, December 26th is the first full day of Christmas, causing the twelfth day to fall on Epiphany, January 6th.

12/26 1
12/27 2
12/28 3
12/29 4
12/30 5
12/31 6
01/01 7
01/02 8
01/03 9
01/04 10
01/05 11
01/06 12

Makes sense to me!

What is you fondest Christmas memory? I’d love for you to share!

Again… Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Day

The day has finally arrived! It is travel day and we are heading north to be with family for Christmas. This particular travel day, I am especially excited knowing I only have a handful of gifts left to get/find once in Dallas! One gift in particular will give back to the community and is exactly what the receiver wanted for Christmas!

Besides spending precious time with my family, I thoroughly enjoy giving gifts to those I love. Although my family is blessed and no one may “need” anything, which makes it a challenge to find something they (hopefully) would like, I thoroughly enjoy the process of either making or finding each individual gift. In addition to giving to those who don’t have, I do enjoy giving to those who have – my family. And, I enjoy the memories created every Christmas when we open gifts together.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Safe travels!

Note: I have placed Lanetta’s Creations ArtFire Studio on Vacation Mode (yet you can see the handmade items available) and will reopen on Monday, when a special sale will begin!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Effective Time Management

At least for one day, I scratched off all six items I had listed the night before on a To-Do list, plus accomplished a bit more not listed! Effective time management is not one of my fortes. I don’t remember ever remaining so focused in getting things done around here, other than when I sew. Creating aprons or doll clothes or bags, especially when it’s a special customized order, I have no problems remaining focused. It’s all I want to do! And, that’s the problem… it’s the only thing I do! By not practicing effective time management, I’ve allowed a lot of things to slide and I’ve become horribly disorganized.

It’s getting the last bit of handmade Christmas gifts finished, and household chores that need to get done, is where I fail miserably until the last minute panic/rush. It was an amazing feeling to draw the last line through the words “Bake two Pecan Pies” and a simple reminder how much I can get done when I set my mind to it.

Because I want to become better focused, I’ve read a few articles on effective time management. Danny Yoon has some good ideas and links in his article, Effective Time Management Strategies For Success, and is where I found this clock picture that depicts my "former" ways perfectly!

I also highly recommend this article, 10 Common Time Management Mistakes. Avoiding the mistakes they mentioned made yesterday run smoothly. Here are the mistakes listed, and all were too familiar to me: 
Mistake #1 – Failing to Keep a To-Do List
Mistake #2 – Not Setting Personal Goals
Mistake #3 – Not Prioritizing
Mistake #4 – Failing to Manage Distractions
Mistake #5 – Procrastination
Mistake #6 – Taking on too Much
Mistake #7 – Thriving on “Busy”
Mistake #8 – Multitasking
Mistake #9 – Not Taking Breaks
Mistake #10 – Ineffectively Scheduling Tasks
Maybe their tips and suggestions, and other links shared, will also help you when it comes to implementing effective time management skills. This is my hope anyway!

Happy "to-do-ing" !!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Measure Success

When you measure success, what's important? This is my two cents worth, but let me back up and start at the beginning. The Last Arts and Crafts Show for the year happened! Before the show I wrote about what products I should take as my area would be limited. As it turned out, however, I had an excellent location and lots of space! My “booth” was in the Judge’s Chambers! When I discovered my location, I learned the plan was to share with a lady offering Avon products. After she arrived, she wanted to be just outside the Judge's Chambers, inside the courtroom ~ where she was the year before.

This left me alone in the room, with the Judge’s desk, credenza, private bathroom (nice, especially because of the mirror folks used when trying on an apron), lots of windows, and two doors for customer entry/exit. I could have had everything with me! The model frames (Ethel and Lucy) wearing aprons would have been wonderful.

The back credenza worked beautifully to wrap purchased items in tissue before placing in Lanetta's Creations shopping bags! 

Anyway, the show was a huge success. How I measure success is more than selling products. Don’t get me wrong, I'm grateful when I'm able to recoup the booth fee and some of the material and fabric cost (and enough to buy more), but it’s not the only reason I participate. Each event is a learning process and the invaluable knowledge gained, and people I meet, is worth the time and effort.

Something I always have with me at every show: a notebook of paper and a pen clipped on the pages – ready to take notes.

I jot down things such as:
Specific colors people ask for in aprons, such as: a yellow/green retro combination and of horses.
Different style of apron, such as: cobbler (I’ve totally run out!)
A noticeable sign that reads: Handmade in Texas
 - Several people looking at my doll clothes didn’t realize I made them!

Self Reminder: demographics of my specific county are BOYS! Not little girls! For every little girl passing through the Judge’s chambers, I saw/counted at least five boys! Need to make/offer something for boys!!!

I made a few personal notes like, do not forget a soda (and a sandwich would be nice, too!). There are just so many granola bars one needs to eat in a day!
I try not to leave things to memory. I write down a lesson learned, a thought, as soon as possible in my trusty notebook! As Martha says, "It’s a good thing!"

How do you measure success while participating in an Arts and Crafts Show?

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