Promoting Etsy Artists- Part 2

Since I joined Etsy back in February. I have had the great honor of meeting some wonderful artists.   This group of people gathered on one website, is probably the most eclectic and talented bunch of folks I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of.   I feel honored to be a part of Etsy and these wonderful people.  I have joined three Etsy groups and have made some lovely friends.

The purpose of this blog is to give credit where credit is due.  I want to promote some of these awesome artists!  So, I will be doing a multi- part blog on some of these very talented people.  This will be an ongoing project of mine.

This blog is dedicated to an Etsy artist that is partially disabled.  Like me, she has found a place….a home on Etsy.  It has given us a creative outlet as well as a sense of self.

So, without further ado…meet Debra Mills…owner of Healer’s Moon and Sacred Dreams Beadwork.

I asked Debra some questions about herself and her Etsy shop.  Here is what she told me.

When and why did you first become interested in making jewelry?
“I first started beading in 1995 after moving to Oregon. After crafting, knitting and crocheting, sewing, etc. all my life, I was primarily drawn to the Native American style of beadwork for the vivid colors and the texture of the beads. Something about it really filled my soul and sparked my creative muse. I started making earrings with bugle and seed beads and as I learned, my thirst to try new beading techniques grew. As my talent grew, I was able to try beading on leather, making dream catchers and fur purses, and learned the peyote stitch. A few years later I began making barrettes and discovered a passion for it. And I have been learning, growing, and trying new techniques ever since.
I started Sacred Dreams Beadwork in 1999 with my late god-daughter, Katie Marie, after I was laid up with a bad car accident and surgery. We started it as a custom beadwork business where we made jewelry and other items according to the customer’s request. After she passed in 2006 from a tragic car accident, I began just beading what I felt in my heart and offering up items in my store for sale. I still do custom work and of course, I am always happy to get requests.”

What types of things do you like to make the most and why?
“I love creating beaded barrettes the most as it feels the most ‘comfortable’ to me. There is such a variety of styles – materials, types, colors. It is really rewarding when a piece speaks to me of its creation, and then speaks to its owner to add to their treasures.
I also love to make earrings. The colors are so pretty and there are so many materials. Each one feels differently in my hands. I have more ideas in my head than I could possibly make!”

Has your interest in jewelry making changed your life at all and why?
“I have always been a ‘crafty’ person and have been creating since I was a teenager. I’ve always felt like I’ve ‘come home’ when working with beads. It has profoundly changed my life and the way I see the outside world – opened my eyes to the color and beauty in all things around me and allow that to spark the creativity and vision inside, then translate that into beading. Beadwork is a challenge, a blessing, and my passion. Being disabled has tempered my ability to be physically active – but making beautiful jewelry and treasures gives me that outlet to connect with others, with the world around me, and with myself.”










Visit Debra’s shops at



Promoting Etsy Artists- Part 1

Since I joined Etsy back in February. I have had the great honor of meeting some wonderful artists.   This group of people gathered on one website, is probably the most eclectic and talented bunch of folks I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of.   I feel honored to be a part of Etsy and these wonderful people.  I have joined three Etsy groups and have made some lovely friends.

The purpose of this blog is to give credit where credit is due.  I want to promote some of these awesome artists!  So, I will be doing a multi- part blog on some of these very talented people.  This will be an ongoing project of mine.

So, without further ado…meet Tiffany Coble…owner of Sisterly Creationz.

I asked Tiffany to describe what she and her store are all about.  Here is what Tiffany told me.

“Well I’d have to say that the most important thing about me is that I am a very honest and caring person who thrives on making people happy. I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder which has made it very difficult for me to talk to people face to face. Because of this I have chosen to run my business online. I feel that I have a natural ability to talk to people and I love to use my creativity to start conversations. When people ask me why I started designing jewelry I simply tell them that I love to feel beautiful and being able to wear a gorgeous piece of jewelry allows me to do that on a budget. I started making jewelry after buying my daughter her own bead sets to make jewelry together.  This inspired my sister to make jewelry to sell.  Together, we decided that we have a talent for design and chose to start Sisterly Creations Handmade Jewelry and More.  Since then,  my sister has stopped designing but I have grown more passionate about it. I have always dreamed of having my own fashion line.   I just didn’t know it would be jewelry.  Now that I am finally getting established and have earned a 100% positive feedback reputation,  I am looking forward to seeing my sales soar and take my jewelry to a whole new realm of design and customers flocking in to see what’s next.”

Tiffany has a similar story to many people on Etsy, myself included.   There are more and more people out there opening up online businesses due to one form of disability or another… Tiffany’s is PTSD,  mine is RA.   It’s a way for us to  feel we are a useful, contributing  part of society and also gives us a creative outlet.

Etsy has allowed me and many others an opportunity that we might not have had otherwise.

Please visit Tiffany’s shop at


Living With Disabilities

Me and Brandon
We Don't Look Sick

When you are young, you tend to believe that you are indestructible.   Everything is laid out before you…the world is your oyster.  For many, it can turn out that way.  For many others, it certainly does not.

When I was 37…I had a job, a husband, a home, a child, a life.  When I was 38, I lost a lot of that.  In 1996, I started having trouble walking.  My feet hurt me almost constantly.  I went to see my doctor, thinking it was my feet complaining about my weight.  He examined me, asked me a bunch of questions, then sent me home with some anti inflammatory medicine.   A few weeks later, it had gotten worse.  It progressed upwards to my knees.  By that time, I was having trouble getting up in the morning and going to work.  I was in extreme pain every day.  I went back to my doctor and he proceeded to send me to a rheumatologist.   I was asked a series of questions, had a series of blood tests done and was poked and prodded.  The next day, the specialist called me to come back in to his office.  He sat me down and proceeded to tell me I had rheumatoid arthritis, aka RA.  I did not totally understand the ramifications of what he had told me.  I knew it was some sort of joint problem, but I had no idea at all of the directions the disease could take and what it would mean to my life.

In three months, the disease had me bed-ridden.  I had to stop working and go out on long-term disability.  I could hardly walk unassisted.  I required either a wheel chair or canes/walkers.  I was in intense, miserable physical pain every day.  My joints swelled in every part of my body.  My knees got so much fluid on them, they looked like basket balls and had to be drained every so often.  I lost the ability to cook, clean and keep my home.  I lost the ability to have fun with my hobbies.  I lost the ability to play with my son.  I lost the ability to have hope.

Trip after trip to the specialist, medicine after medicine tried…nothing was really working.  Most of the drugs I was put on made me sick and lifeless.  Pain medicine was a necessity.  I feel into a deep depression.  At one point in my treatment…I went into his office and told him point-blank that if he did not help me, if he did not stop the pain…I was going to get a gun and blow my brains out.  Believe me, a deep dark part of me meant that too.  He put me on antidepressants for my depression and morphine patches for the pain.  He continued to switch up my medicines, searching for something that might slow down the progression of this awful disease.

In 2004, my knees were gone.  I was in a wheelchair most of the time.  My poor son was my caregiver most of the time.  He had to help me up and down off the couch and in and out of the car.  He watched me struggle through the pain on a daily basis and had to witness me cry my eyes out from the pain.  I hated that most of all.

It ended up that I had bone on bone in my knees, the cartilage was gone.  I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon by my rheumatologist, who told me I needed a total knee replacement in both knees.   I underwent my first knee replacement in February of 2004 and my second in September of 2004.  It took a lot of rehabilitation and patience on my part, but I was finally able to walk again.  I began to do some of the things I had been unable to do once again.  I had been given a reprieve!

Years later, my hip began to show signs of giving up.  When it was x-rayed by my doctor, I had lost almost all cartilage in it.  So, in 2010 I had my right hip replaced.  I have to say, it was by far, the worst of my surgeries and the longest recuperation time as well.  I experienced very intense pain after the surgery and thought I would never make it…but I did.  In 2011, I am now getting around pretty well again.

One thing that people always say to me is “Wow, you don’t look sick”.  Or “Well, you are getting around pretty good now.  Why don’t you go back to work?”  I have tried.  The nature of RA is that the disease is unpredictable.  You can have a flare up at any time.  They can replace your joints (thank God) and they can load you down with meds that make you feel like crap.  But bottom line is, right now…it’s incurable.  Sure, I am luckier than a lot of people…at least I don’t have cancer.  But the point is, it’s still my disease to deal with.  It still affects my life.  Now, my son is affected even more than he was when he was taking care of me.  He now has his own illness to deal with.

In 2010, I also found out that my son has MS.  In retrospect, he was showing symptoms years before the major attack that put him in the hospital.  He went to the emergency room barely able to walk, due to the fact that he could not feel his legs or feet.  They admitted him after a grueling 24 hour emergency room ordeal.  After blood work, MRI’s and spinal taps…they were finally able to tell us that he indeed has MS.  I can not tell you how devastated I was to find out that my son was afflicted with such an awful autoimmune disease…even worse than my own.  I had heard that autoimmune diseases could run in families…so I prayed he would never get RA.  I had no idea that not only would he develop one, but it would be far worse.

My son is 24 years old.  I blogged about him here under the story “Were You Born That Way”.  He is a wonderful, intelligent, sweet and caring young man.  It seems he just can’t catch a break.  I will be talking to him later on and getting his thoughts and feelings on being diagnosed with this disease.  I will then write another blog entirely about him.  Please check back for more on Brandon and MS.

Were You Born That Way?

Were You Born That Way?

At the age of 5, I knew in my heart that my son was gay.   There were little tale tale signs, mostly…but I guess a mother just seems to sense things about their children in that innate, deep-down way.   I resolved to raise him in a manner that he could figure things out by himself.  I did not lead him in one direction or another.  I simply let him be who he was going to be.

He was a shy child, having mostly female friends and not playing with very many boys.  I speculated over that quite a bit.  Was it because he was attracted to them at such a young age and did not know how to interact with them?  Was it because he felt more inclined to do things that girls do?  One question kept going through my mind…were you born that way?

My answer to myself was YES!  As he grew older, he started to come out of his shell a little.  He interacted with boys more, but he started “dating” girls.  In retrospect, I realized he was testing himself…figuring out for himself who he was.  I think also, that he was not yet ready for anyone to know his proclivity towards boys.   When he was about 12 or 13, I tried bringing up the matter…in a sensitive way, of course…by asking him if he might be gay.  His reaction was very strong.  He denied quite vehemently, that he was not.   So, I dropped the subject.  When he was 15, he came to me on his own and declared to me, after pussy-footing around a bit…that he was bi-sexual.  My reaction to this was total acceptance.  I told him that I knew he was gay and that it was ok.  You were born that way, I said.  He was amazed at how easily I accepted it.  I think that he was expecting a negative reaction from me because so many other parents are not accepting of having a gay child.  He was fearful that I would have that reaction too.   I told him that he was my child and that I loved him more than anything in the world.  I also told him that I would stand behind him and support him…come what may.  I could see the relief in his eyes.

Since that day, my son and I can talk about anything.  His gay friends have a “safe house” to come to when they visit him here at my home.  They can be themselves and don’t have to hide away.  I remember an afternoon when one of his lesbian friends told me (she was 15 years old) that when she came out to her mother, her mother informed her that she “wished she had aborted her”!  I was horrified!  How could a parent say something like that to their child??  This child, who came from them…who was a part of them…who they raised and nurtured…could so easily be cast out??  That was a sad day for me.  There were many more to follow as I heard different coming-out stories from different children.  I asked them “Don’t your parents realize you were born that way?”   The answer from them was that they were told they chose this path.  “They think you CHOSE to live a difficult life…that you CHOSE to be harassed and bullied…that you CHOSE to live in fear?”  All I could do was shake my head and cry.

I know I may open up a can of worms with this blog.  I know that there are people out there that do not think people are born gay.  But you know what?  I will stand up to them any day of the week and defend the gay community. I will stand up to them until the day I die to support my child and his human right to be who he was born to be!   Am I straight?  Yes, I was born that way!  Is it ok?  Sure it is!  I was born that way!  Is it ok for my son to be gay?  Sure it is!  HE WAS BORN THAT WAY!

I love you, Brandon!


**photo courtesy of Rainbow Alternative shop on Etsy**

*****Editorial comment:  This blog, in no way, shape or form…points fingers at anyone!  It is merely a product of my desire to relay my point of view on the hardships of gay children everywhere and how raising a gay child has affected me****

My Very First Blog Ever!

Fire in the Sky Beaded Feather Earrings

Ok, so a good friend of mine was giving me some tips on how to attract traffic to my Etsy site.  She told me that blogging was a great way to advertise as well as just blog about things that I feel like blogging about.  So… first blog is going to be about My Etsy and what it means to me!

I have always been interested in Native arts and crafts…especially since my heritage includes Tsalagi blood.   So, I began learning the art of bead work.  I love the colors and textures of the seed beads and bugle beads  I use.  I love the way they come together out of miniscule little pieces to form a “work of art”!   I taught myself the brick stitch and am currently learning the peyote stitch.  I am also working on my loom bead weaving as well.  I ventured from beading into making things with feathers and different little charms and findings.  I also learned to make bone chokers, dream catchers and little deer skin possibles bags.  Everything that I could get my hands on, goes into my art.  I love discovering new things to do, new things to make.

Sometimes I have a little trouble with my hands, due to the fact that I have RA.  It caused me to need two knee replacements, one hip replacement and some fusing of the joints in my foot.  So far though, I can still use my hands pretty well.  I have days that are more difficult than others, but if I could not do my art…I would be devastated.   So I keep my hands and fingers flexed and use a  paraffin  bath when needed to keep the soreness out.  If anyone out there suffers from the same problems…try a nice warm paraffin bath for your hands!

I needed someplace to share my beautiful creations.  I had sold them at yard sale/flea market type places, but let’s be honest here…everybody is looking for a bargain at those!  I did not feel my creations were being appreciated, so I went in search of someplace where they would.  That is when  a friend of mine told me about online crafters community.  I opened my shop in February and have 34 items in my shop as we speak.  I have already sold 5 pieces of my jewelry, and I am very happy!  Etsy is also a place full of wonderful, kind, caring people and I consider myself lucky to have found them.  Many of them love doing trades with other members and I have already done my share of trading for wonderful, beautiful treasures.  I have also made a few very sweet friends there and some of them even have health issues like me.  It’s a support system as well as a way to share our art!

Please visit Etsy online at and look through all of the wonderful treasures there.   My shop on Etsy is Wolf Mountain Jewelry

More blogs to come, very soon!