Win an Online Craftsy Class ~ World Wide Giveaway! Ends 3/24

Craftsy Class 2014 Giveaway

Update: The Winner has been chosen and contacted by Craftsy.  Thank you for your visit!

Craftsy has generously offered to give one of my readers an online class!  Craftsy features dozens of creative online courses on knitting, cake decorating, fine art, holiday crafting, photography, and more.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Craftsy and will receive a small commission if the links on this page are used to register or make a purchase. However, my opinions are entirely my own and based on positive, personal experience.

To enter for your chance to win the class of your choice, please click on the Craftsy web site link below and provide your email address – this is the only entry required!  You will be registered on the Craftsy web site and receive occasional emails regarding new classes, sales, and specials on craft supplies.

While you are on their site, take a look around! I have been very impressed with my experiences with this site – if you are interested in class reviews, you may like my two articles: Online Class Review: Shoot It! Product Photography by Craftsy and Fab Felt Christmas & Holiday Crafts Online Course ~ A Review.  Craftsy also offers several free mini-courses; check out all of the free courses by clicking here.

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Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Craftsy and will receive a small commission if the links on this page are used to make a purchase. However, my opinions are entirely my own and based on positive, personal experience.

Winner’s Choice Giveaway! $25 Etsy or Amazon Gift Card (WW ~ 3/17)


Welcome to Our St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!

Hosted & Sponsored By

Cotton Ridge Create! and Dancing With Fireflies

Crysta of Dancing With Fireflies and Kathie of Cotton Ridge are pleased to host and sponsor this giveaway as a little thank you to our readers. Enter below for your chance to win, then hop around the MPM Blogger Network Lucky Day Giveaway Hop linky and enter some more great giveaways!  The grand prize of the hop is a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway – open worldwide!  The It’s Your Lucky Day Hop ends 3/17 at 11:59pm.

Amazon Gift Card

Prize: $25 Etsy Gift Card, Amazon Gift Card, or PayPal Cash, Winner’s Choice

The winner will have the choice of a $25 Etsy Gift Card, Amazon Gift Card, or PayPal Cash. If you are not familiar with Etsy, please visit the site to discover individual shops run by artists and handcrafters. Many take commissions and do custom work. There are also shops featuring vintage goods and supplies for crafting! The Etsy Gift Card can be used at any Etsy shop that accepts Gift Cards.

The giveaway is open World Wide and will through midnight March 17, 2014. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted via email and will have two days to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winner’s entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

Thank you for entering our giveaway, we appreciate your support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Kathie at Cotton Ridge will personally email the gift card code or PayPal cash to the winner. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Etsy, Amazon, PayPal, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. We hereby release Facebook of any liability.

How A Hand-Crafted Nursery Will Nest Your Baby

From guest author LaGeris Underwood Bell

As your tummy expands while you await the arrival of your little bundle from heaven, your plans for the nursery may get larger and larger, too, especially if this is your first baby. Why not consider a simple, eco-friendly motif that allows you to express your creative side as well as your love for your baby? Imagine a nursery full of hand-crafted items made by your friends and family and yourself.

A nest full of items crafted by love will prove beneficial to the health, wellness, growth, and development of your baby, and indeed your whole family. Indulge your urge to nest with some of these helpful tips.

Bed by Wickerfurniture on flickr

Environmentally Forward

Many of today’s infant products are made of materials that are harmful to the environment. Infant toys and baby essentials that are crafted from recycled or environmentally friendly materials are a much healthier choice. Why let your little one breathe in fumes from a mattress made of dangerous plastics or sheets made from inorganic fibers?

Why surround them with toys wreaking of chemicals that can cause asthma and other respiratory issues? Simpler is often cheaper, easier, and healthier. Look for bedding made from organic materials. And you’ll find a host of hand-crafted items that are just as much fun to play with and that are also healthier for your infant–wooden blocks, rattles, and stuffed animals–all made from natural textiles.

Sit and Knit

Awaiting the birth of your bundle of joy can seem endless. The clicking of busy knitting needles can make the time click by faster. Even for beginners, knitting is a wonderful artistic skill to develop. You can find local sit-and-knit parties in your community where beginners and veterans are welcomed.

And they are ideal for expectant moms–because you make new friends, get tips about baby care, and leave with a lovely item for your baby. Using the softest organic cottons or wools, you’ll find that knitting blankets, tops, caps, and sweaters to be therapeutic and comforting. It’s also a great way to add a more personalized touch to your infant’s little nest.

Fanciful Furnishings

Feel free to unleash your creativity when planning your design. Shelving units, and rockers from your local retail establishment are a good start, but it’s only the beginning. Personalize each item with stencils, paints, and eclectic family keepsakes.

A brightly painted rocking chair is both a comfortable place to cradle baby and a great conversation piece for guests. Drag your mother’s old crib from the attic spruce it up. Festoon walls and bookshelves with whimsical framed art pieces, family photos, and eye-catching mobiles. Cradle colorful Mombo pillows in a covey of stuffed animals. Drape the bassinet with cheerful animal prints.

Owl by boujiandnouna on flickr

Create Teachable Moments

When a child is very young, one of the most important resources you can provide is your own voice. First make cloth-dolls out of old family items–sweaters, socks, shirts–and paint on the names of the family members to whom they once belonged. Then regale your little one with family stories about these same cousins, aunts, and siblings.

When your little one is inclined to bang or clank the item closest to them, use that moment to teach them about music–rhythm and movement. Look for low-tech toys that awaken their imaginations and help develop their cognitive skills. Hand-made rattles, for example, are a sensory feast for the ears, eyes, and as always with babies, the mouth.  Decoupage old fruit boxes and crates for storage of all toys.

Nurseries reflect the grace and charm of mommy and baby–an extension of their combined personalities. Celebrate the miracle of your baby’s birth by surrounding him with treasures fashioned from your heart and imagination.

Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this article inspires expectant mommies and families to enjoy feathering the new baby’s nest. She recommends Mombo pillows and other useful, but decorative items that will enhance the nursery decor.

Images from used under the Creative Commons license. Image credits: Photo #1, Photo #2.

Online Knitting Class

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Meet The New Artists In The Gallery

February was a little rough for us…flu, ice, flu, snow, stomach bug, thunderstorms.  On the bright side, we got to build a big snowman!  I only have two new artists in the gallery this month; grab a cup of coffee and take a look!  Just click on the links below to go to their portfolio pages on this site.  (Please do not use any images without the artist’s permission.)

If you are interested in having your art or handcraft featured on this site, please visit this page. Thank you for visiting!

Nature Photography, Pink Cosmos by Ros Berryman

Fine Art Photography by Ros Berryman

Silver Charm Bracelet by Frederica Dixon

Jewelry by Frederica Dixon

Copyright 2014 Kathryn Depew, except for images, used with the artists’ permission.


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The “Live Well” EScents Aromatherapy Giveaway (US/CAN ~ 3/15)


Welcome to The “Live Well” Aromatherapy Giveaway!

Sponsored by EScents Aromatherapy

Hosted by The World of ContestPatti and Co-Hosted by Purple Monster Coupons

EScents Aromatherapy is founded on the idea that everyone should feel good, in body and mind. For one person, it’s about creating a personal oasis in which to relax. For another, it’s about relieving headache pain to do the things they love. No matter the need, nature can help. It is a precious commodity.

We strive to consider our nature, eco-system and planet in all of their activities and decisions.

EScents has graciously donated the “live well” gift basket pictured above for this giveaway.  This would make a wonderful gift for yourself or someone you love!  Perfect for a warm, soothing bath during this cold winter.

Please enter for your chance to win for through the RaffleCopter form below.  Thank you for visiting Cotton Ridge Create!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Cotton Ridge Create! is not responsible for prize fulfillment in this giveaway. Prize will be awarded by ContestPatti. If you have any questions or comments please contact

A Self-Publishing Success Story, Plus 15% Off For New Customers

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blurb.  I am an affiliate, and will receive a small commission if the links on this page are used to make a purchase. My opinions are based on positive, personal experience with this company.

Getting creative with Kal Barteski: A self-publishing success story

Blurb author Kal Barteski is a maker extraordinaire whose creativity knows no bounds. She’s a working designer, painter, storyteller, book creator, TEDx speaker, and calligrapher who can now add ‘video star’ to her resume with the first of our Canadian book-maker profiles. Watch the first installment in our Canadian Author video series with a wild look at Kal’s creativity. We think you’ll be inspired to make your own book with Blurb. See the video below!

New Customers Save 15%

Now through the end of the month, Blurb is offering 15% off first purchases made by new customers.

Save 15% on your first purchase with Blurb

I have created three books online with Blurb – two photo books and a weekly planner.  I was very pleased with all three books – the process is fast and simple (especially if you already have your pictures organized), shipping is prompt, and the book itself is professional quality.  This offer lasts through February 28th, so you have 2 more weeks to make your book!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blurb.  I am an affiliate, and will receive a small commission if the links on this page are used to make a purchase.


Winter Photography, Birch Trees in Snow, Nature Photography, Woodland Wall Decor, Large Wall Art - GeorgiannaLane
ANTIQUE WHITE TWIG Wreath-Winter Door Wreath-Rustic Wreath-New Years Wreath-Spring Home Decor-Scented Vanilla Sugar-Choose your Scent - WildRidgeDesign
White Wool Kids Mittens Winter Wedding Flower Girls - HappyLaika
Art Print Paper Sculpture - Winter - DeeDeeJacq
Brown triangle Turkish winter shawl scarf - knit fabric with lace edge scarf- women's scarves 2012 - fringe scarf gift woman - Scarves2012
Winter witch Snow queen White crushed velvet cloak MADE TO ORDER - Ryhashd
Winter Tree and Resting Bird Hair Pin Set. Aqua. Black. White. - WearitoutJewelz
Winter White Cable Knit Removable Vase Cover & Glass Vase - laurenmaryHOME
Winter Tree, ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR, 10 x 14", Signed by Gennifer Richie - WatercolorsByGen
Rustic Antler Winter Woodland Wedding Invitation - STNstationery
Wool Grey Fantasy Coat "Heritrix of The Winter"; snow princess; white queen fur coat - armstreet
ACEO Winter Sheep painting day 313, Snow Landscape, sheep art  Original Art ACEO. Acrylic on Canvas, 7th February 2014, miniature sheep art. - TheArtBoat
Winter White Rosettes & Burlap Wreath - 15" - TheRuffledPage
ROMANTÄ°C Knitting ruffle salsa shawl handmade neckwarmer autumn women accessories grey - yarnisland
Nature Photography, Forest, Snow, Winter Sun, Fairytale, Frosty, Trees. - Fizzstudio
Wall Decal Winter Tree Wall Decal , living room, bedroom Wall decals Wall Sticker art ,wall design- - 036 - NouWall

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

A beautiful winter wonderland from the the artisans on Etsy. Stay cozy and warm, and decorate for the season.  Just click on an image above to view the item.  Enjoy the Treasury!

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ModCloth Make The Cut Contest: ‘Prints Charming’

Recognizing Historical Pottery Styles

This fascinating article is by guest author Audrey Brooks, and sponsored by Emerson Creek Pottery. Emerson Creek Pottery is handcrafted in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Precise patterns used in pottery are an art form dating back thousands of years and encompassing many cultures, including Greek and Native American. The styles and patterns (like all art) were constantly changing to include a flux of outside influences and shifts in historical meaning.

Greek Pottery

The linear vase designs found in the pottery of Ancient Greece constitute most of a phase in Greek fine art at the end of the Greek Dark Ages (9th and 8th centuries, BC). The proportions for the vases were based on a meticulous system – with the vessel height being twice the width, and the neck measuring half of the height – while patterns were carefully selected to highlight vessel shape and distinct portions. To emphasize dimension and height, Greek patterns in the later eras were restricted to specific shapes – the neck and belly. These areas also offered the most freedom in decoration. Greek pottery, unlike today, was only finished in the kiln, or “fired”, once, but the process usually involved several steps.

Greek Vase from Wikipedia Athena_Herakles_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_2301_A_fullThe Protogeometric style (c. 1050 – 900 BC) is characterized by wavy lines, circles, and triangles. A border with a distinct repeated motif, known as a meander, has been added in the Early Geometric Period (900 – 850 BC) and the vases are taller. The designs are more limited to the base of the neck down through the middle of the vessel. In the Middle Geometric Period (850-760 BC), the meander is now the focal point of the vessel, placed between the handles – the most important area of the vessel, known as the metope. Animals and humans are often depicted, a departure from the simplistic motifs of the earlier styles. It wasn’t until the end of the 6th century that the black- and red-figure pottery became more prolific.

The larger pieces were often assembled separately and the firing process involved 3 steps – each one a variance on oxidization – introducing air into the kiln and then reducing the supply of oxygen while burning green wood to achieve the blackened effect. Once fired, the attractive pottery was put to many utilitarian uses by the Ancient Greeks – mixing vessels, cups, jugs, cosmetics – as well as marking graves and holding tomb offerings.

Native American Pottery

The pottery of the Native Americans is one of the oldest art forms in the history of the Americas, leading back at least as far as 7500 years ago. While as artful as it was useful, their pottery technique centered more on form and function. It is as varied as its many cultures, and developed as ways to transport, cook, and store food. Ceramics were also used for pipes, funerary urns, censers, and many other art forms. Evidence of early Native American Pottery has been found all through South America and has been dated back from 4,500 to 6,000 years ago, the oldest currently having been found in the Southeastern United States.

The Native Americans never used a wheel to shape their distinctive and symbolic pottery – all of it was made by hand and wood fired in a pit. The most common way to form a vessel was by coiling and pinching – rolling the clay into long ropes and coiling them atop each other while blending them in for uniform thickness and strength. While the ornamentation of Native American pottery varied widely, many of the shapes were universally used, each having its own purpose, and translating from one style to another with the passage of time.

New Mexico Pottery from Wikipedia Bowl_Chaco_Culture_NM_USA

Bowl, 11th / 13th centuries. Pueblo Alto, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, USA

Recognizing Native American Pottery Styles

Beginning in the 2nd millennium BC, stirrup spout vessels became common among the South American Indian culture. The ‘stirrup’ handle forms part of the spout, which rises from the top of the vessel. They were often elaborate, with animals sculpted into them. Although the exact date of introduction for the olla is unknown, this vessel was multi-purposed as pot for cooking food, or storing ashes from cremated bodies. While generally made with short wide necks and large ‘bellies’, when used for storing water, they were made with narrow necks to prevent evaporation, and some were even fashioned primarily for nursing infants.

Generally left unglazed, this allowed for water to permeate the clay walls and “sweat”, which evaporated and kept liquids cool. They were also buried next plants as irrigation. Before 500 BC, the double spout and bridge vessel became widely used by Peruvian Indians. It was a simple design, with two pour spouts “bridged” by a handle. It was usually decorated rather ornately, and burnished after firing.

To learn more about Ancient Greek or Native American/Mesoamerican pottery, visit The University of Reading and The Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.

This article is by guest author Audrey Brooks, and sponsored by Emerson Creek Pottery. Emerson Creek Pottery creates dinnerware, bakeware, kitchenware and home decor that is safe and beautiful.  Handcrafted ceramics from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Images from the public domain, from Wikipedia.  Image sources: Greek Vase and New Mexico Bowl.