Monday, November 24, 2008

What are Your Holiday Plans This Year?

I normally wouldn't post something like this on my "handmade showcase" blog, but how can I help but share? I must warn you, that I will not paint a pretty picture here, and some of the information that you are about to read, will be graphic and full of awful, unthinkable scenes, that are not scenes out of Hollywood, but scenes out of the lives of people a world away.

Please allow me to set the stage: Our family lives in a fairly affluent area of the SF Bay Area of California, although we are not considered "well-off" by the standards of the demographics here. We live very happily in a small apartment that is only 5 minutes from my husband's place of work. Things are pretty tight for us financially right now, and the other day, we were lamenting about the fact that we wouldn't be able to buy the kinds of, and quantities of Christmas gifts for our family members like we have in the past years. We hear every day about what the "best Christmas present" is, and how if only we had "THIS CAR", we would be full of joy. "There's nothing that will bring your family together this holiday season like ___________." People are concerned with the big game, or the gas prices, or if their 401K is going to survive. While I realize that some of the fears we face in this economy are legit, I don't think we're really feeling the squeeze quite yet.

But compared to the MAJORITY of the world, our little family is RICH! Comparatively speaking, we are millionaires! My husband has been praying lately that God will "break his heart" for the things that break God's heart. And God has been answering that prayer. Lately, we have heard only small snippets of news stories, or read small clippings about the things that are going on in Africa: Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and other African nations. There is war going on that is devastating the lives of many. 30,000 rapes have been reported each year for the past four years, just in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, and the actual number is thought to be four times that high. Children are going without food and good drinking water. Schools are being raided and young boys are being kidnapped and are forced to train as soldiers. Yes, you might have seen this on "24" the other night, in a "make-believe" country, but this is REAL. "Increased violence has created massive new population displacement in North Kivu. The fighting and insecurity has made it difficult for humanitarian organisations to deliver assistance. Large areas of the region are inaccessible, as many roads have been cut off." (Quoted from HERE.)

My husband showed me a video today that had me in tears, with my heart just breaking over what is going on in the DRC. I hope that you will watch this video, and that your heart will break enough for you to want to take action.

I know that, if you are like me, you are probably thinking, "But what can I do?". It seems so hopeless. We're so far away, and what we send might not even arrive there in time to help, or even arrive there at all. But there is one thing that you can do. You can pray. God hears immediately, and will intervene. We may never hear of it...we may never see a result...but He is sovereign, and He will intervene. I hope that you will think about this over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and general holiday season. I hope that your mind has been filled with turmoil over the pain and suffering that these people are enduring. I hope that it is enough to make you want to get on your knees and cry out for these people. I know that we will be interceding at the throne for these people.
While we are definitely moved by what is going on in the DRC, and the rest of Africa, and we as a family will be giving what we can to help give aid to these people, it is not our intent to solicit donations to any specific charity. However, if your heart has been moved by what is going on over there, and you would LIKE to be able to help financially, there are several relief organizations with "A" or "A+" ratings (via or, that are providing relief by way of clean water, food, medicines, shelter, etc., such as Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, and Save the Children. Each of these sites have ways for you to donate directly to ongoing relief efforts in the Congo.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas, and remember to praise God that you are alive and that you are so richly blessed with all that you have. Please don't forget to pray without ceasing.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Adoption Process

As some of you may know, we are in the process of adopting a little boy who is now 2 years old. He came to us six months ago tomorrow! As far as we know, the adoption finalization process will begin in the early part of December, which means that the adoption will most likely be finalized in mid to late January! We are SO excited!

We are trying to raise money for the adoption fees, and so we are offering an adoption special in our Rio Oso Designs shop right now. From now, through the end of December, you can receive 20% off on anything in the shop. Your discount will come in the way of a Paypal refund after you have completed your payment.

Your dicount code is ADOPT20. Please mention this code in your "Notes to Seller", when you are checking out.

Here are some of the things we currently have for sale in our shop:

Photo Greeting Card Designs
(You can print them ANYWHERE you get your photos printed! Even at home!)

Birth Announcements and Adoption Announcements

Custom and Premade Etsy Banners and Blog Banners Custom Business Cards
PRINT YOUR OWN Christmas Gift Tag Sheets
Have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous Thanksgiving!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Harvest

I love's one of my favorite times of the year. I love the Fall colors and the wonderful smells, and the way the sunlight changes the view of sometimes the most ordinary thing. Here are some items from that speak volumes about Fall Harvest. Click on each picture to take you to the Etsy listing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Gotcha! Nope, it's not's not even October...for that matter, it's not even fall, well at least not until Monday the 22nd!

But we have some very cute Halloween Photo Greeting Cards for sale in our Etsy shop. I hope you will take a peek.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, ETSY????

Thanks to Mrs. Kwitty for sharing this video. This should explain a LOT about why I created The Downtown Boutique. I hope that you will add this to your blog, and help spread the word about Etsy. Who knows, you might have an awesome Christmas season!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mini Monday

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Items in Our Rio Oso Designs Etsy Shop

I don't know if you've noticed, but we have some new items in our Rio Oso Designs Etsy Shop. We now have digital scrapbook pages that you can order, and I will insert your pictures for you. You can also convo me to find out about custom pages.

We also now have birth announcement designs and adoption announcement design. We will also be adding birthday invitation designs, as well as relocation card designs, for when you move and you want to share with people your new address.

I'd love to know what you think!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from Robyn's Online World

I don't know anyone who couldn't use a $50 gift certificate from! I know I could! I want to get some Sign Language DVDs for my 21 month old!

So head on over to Robyn's Online World, and enter to win the gift card. Be sure to read the rules.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday Thumbnails

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Win an Ultimate Sun Protection Zone Giveaway!

I am blogging about sun protection for a couple of reasons. I come from a family of very fair-skinned people, and I myself have had TWO second degree sunburns. I do not want to die from skin cancer, nor do I want any of my loved ones to die from skin cancer. I now own a rashguard (sun shirt) from, and so does our 20 month old. We also purchased one from Land's End for my 14 year old. We used them at the lake this past week, where we were in the water for hours at a time. NO sunburns! Woo hoo! We didn't have to use nearly as much sunscreen either!

The second reason that I'm blogging about sun protection, is because I can earn an extra entry to win the Ultimate Sun Protection Zone Giveaway, being held by A Daycare Life. Be sure to head over there and check it out! You can enter to win too. The deadline is August 7th.

Have a great rest of your summer!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Robyn's Online World is Giving Away a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

I'm blogging about this giveaway, so that I can earn an extra entry. Go and check out Robyn's Online World, where you can enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. I mean, who CAN'T find something they would love to have from Amazon? Right?

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some Great Etsy Shops

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday July 2nd, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday June 25th, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're Closing Shop!

No, we're not shutting down the blog. But, we are closing one of our shops on Etsy...Ambrosia Delights. With a new 19 month old in our home, our lives have gotten a little more busy, so we need to simplify. We will still be keeping our Rio Oso Designs shop, and we will still do the blog.

We need to make room in our little guy's closet, so we need to sell the things from our shop. We have gotten SOOO many wonderful gifts for him, that there is no room to put everything. We are getting rid of jewelry, clothing, and baby items.

We are offering 10% off on everything in our shop until our official close date of August 1st. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY MARKED DOWN, so you don't have to do anything but buy, buy, buy!!! :-)

We are also offering FREE shipping within the USA, on any purchases over $50.

Come on over and check us out at Ambrosia Delights.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bringing Up Somewhat Buried Memories

Ok, let me start by saying this: I subscribe to Laura William's Musings blog, where she has daily editions of contests that she finds all over the web, and shares them with everyone on her blog. So today, I see a contest where you can enter to win a Wii game. I think we may be one of a select few families who do NOT have a major video game system. We have some old-school type, hand-held, bought at Target this past year, plug and play video games, but even those do not get played with very often.

But the Wii......ah the Wii! We have found the Wii to be fairly fascinating. My 7 year old nephew has one, and we have been able to play it on occasion. It can be really fun, and really addicting at the same time. Hubby said that if we ever do get a video game system, it would probably be the Wii. So now I have a chance to win one. Well, it's a very VERY slight chance, but a chance nonetheless. I mean, when I commented, there were already over 400 comments/entries, so that's what I mean by a VERY slight chance.

Anyway, Metropolitan Mama is the blog hosting the giveaway. Her post is pretty interesting, talking about childhood memories, about growing up in a home where imagination ran rampant. Her story sounded so much like my own childhood! To enter to win the Wii, you have to comment about 3 childhood memories that involved imaginative play. I love thinking about those days, because despite the fact that we were the ONLY family in the WORLD (or so we thought at that time), who didn't own a TV, we had a fun childhood. Looking back, I can really see the wisdom in my mom, when it came to saying NO TV! She would always say there was way too much garbage on TV. And that was in the 70's! Today it's SO much worse!

So here is my comment on my childhood play (Sorry, but I only had one photo to match the memories. I think I need to take a trip to Mom and Dad's and haul out the photo albums and get a scanner!):

I have 4 brothers and one we had 4 boys/2 girls. We grew up with no TV...EVER! We certainly grew up with imaginations and a love for reading!
A few of our favorite childhood games:
We too acted like superheroes. My mom had made one of the boys a Superman costume, and a few of them ended up wearing it eventually. I had a leotard and some tights and a knitted shawl, so we all became an imaginary superhero, zooming around the house. I think I was about 10 when I quit doing that.

Another thing that we loved doing, was to play Star Wars with Dad. He would put the Star Wars soundtrack record (yes, vinyl!) on the record player (remember those?), and then he would be Darth Vader. I was always Princess Leia of course, and my brothers were Luke and Han. They would use their invisible but highly sound-effective light sabers against the evil Darth Vader, and they would "rescue" me.

When we were a little younger, and there were only three of us, mom and dad would go to Officers' parties (we're Air Force brats). They would leave a babysitter with us. If it was a sitter we didn't like, we would pretend we could speak a different language, because "our dad was stationed in ....." (which we didn't, and he wasn't). We would carry on a "conversation" and giggle all over the place, because it would make our sitter mad! If it was a sitter we liked, then we would line up the dining room chairs, and put a sheet over them like we were flying on an airplane. Our sitter was our stewardess.

It's really pretty fun to think about those memories. I can think of about a kajillion more if I really sit down and think. And when I get together with my siblings, the memories come flooding back.

I'd love to hear what your favorite childhood memory is!

Have a beautiful weekend,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Like Shrinky Dinks?

Then you'll love this great DIY project! I think I want to give it a try myself. I think our 14 year old son would get a kick out of doing this. I found this tutorial on a site called "Poopscape Projects". Weird name, but cool DIY projects! Click on either of the photos, and they will take you to the tutorial.
This is all you need:

This is what you end up with:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Featuring Some Favorites

I know it's not Monday or Thursday, but I haven't posted in a long time, so I wanted to share some favorites. It has been a SUPER busy past month for us. We just got a little 18 month old boy, whom we will be adopting, so our lives have really REALLY changed! It's good though. We just love him already.

Please enjoy our featured faves:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Minis

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sweet Saturday

Today I want to feature shops from Etsy that I think are "sweet".

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Three Thursday Thumbnails

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We're a Finalist in the Photo Contest!!!!!!

My photo of my son was chosen as one of the 15 finalists in the 5 Minutes for Mom Photo Contest! Please help us out by going and voting for the Rio Oso Designs Photo of my son! Scroll down below the photos, and click to vote for us!

Thank you!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Would Really Love to Win This Caboose Trailer Bike for our Son!

You might have read the previous post. You might have found out that our son had 5 strokes before the age of three. You might have found out that he has weakness (hemi-paresis) on the right side of his body. These things all add up to the fact that it is very difficult for him to ride a bicycle. He has a hard time getting his right foot and leg to work right, and it's very difficult for him to steer or use the brakes correctly with his right hand.

When I saw this Caboose Trailer Bike being given away on the 5 Minutes For Mom blog, I thought "Oh, my goodness! This would be awesome for C!" I knew I had to enter. So here I am posting about it, and I will head back over to the blog and enter to win. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!


This Picture Could Be Worth $1000!!!

I am entering a photo contest on the 5 Minutes For Mom blog. This contest is put on by Egg Beaters, who will be giving away a $1000 American Express Gift Card that can be used any way we want!

I have chosen this photo of my son for a few reasons. First of all, he is a gift from God, and is a miracle. He was born with half of a heart, and had 5 strokes before the age of three. The scar you see on his chest is from the two heart surgeries that he had before he was three years old. The scars on his face, including on the eyebrow, are from when a dog bit him across the face. And what you can't see, is that he walks with a limp and has a weak right side because of one of the strokes. He also takes medication that keeps him from having seizures. Our son is so full of life, and love for others. He will be entering public high school this fall, which will be his first time in public school, after being homeschooled all of his life. His interests are varied, loving to do things like fishing, playing his guitar, drawing (he's a VERY good artist!), camping, playing soccer, and spending time with his family.

This young man is now 14 years old, and is such a blessing to me and to his dad. He is the reason I am a mom. I'm so glad that God chose me to be his mom, and that He brought us through all that He has brought us through. I know that He has an amazing purpose for our son, and I am SO blessed to be a part of that.

To add to how blessed I am, we have just found out that we are going to get a little boy, whom we pray we will be adopting, by the end of May. He is 17 months old, and so our 14 year old will get to be a BIG BROTHER! I get to be doubly blessed, and I am SOOOOO excited!

If my photograph is chosen as one of the top 15 finalists, I will be asking you to go and vote for it, so be ready! :-)

God bless,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And the Winners Are....

Ok, now I'm ready! Thanks so much for your patience.

Congratulations to the following people whose names were randomly drawn by my 14 year old son:

Jennifer (tigerjennv) won the two burp cloths from Ambrosia Delights.

Bethany won the custom banner from Rio Oso Designs.

Ney Strokes of Magic won the free advertising spot from The Downtown Boutique.

Thanks so much for commenting, and for visiting the blog!


Friday, April 25, 2008

STITCH with the Embroiderers' Guild

I stumbled upon this great site that shows you how to create a lot of different stitches! How cool is that?! Here are just a few examples:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Blog Banners and Etsy

So this morning, I was reading in the forums, and there is a discussion about what it right and what is wrong to sell, if you are selling graphic designs. I sell banners that I create, as well as business card designs, avatars, and other promotional material.

I saw in the discussion that we are not allowed to sell blog banners. I have had a lot of customers who want a banner for their blog, so instead of getting in trouble for selling blog banners through Etsy, I have decided to sell them here.

If you want a custom blog banner, you can now buy one from me here. Please note that the banners you see in this post are only examples of banners that I have made for other people's Etsy shops. I will not ever duplicate a banner exactly, although there may be some similarities. If you click on each picture, you will see a larger image of each banner.


*This will get you up to one hour of custom work for your blog banner. Anything beyond one hour will have added charges.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bloggy Carnival Giveaways

I don't know if you've heard of Bloggy Carnival Giveaways or not, but they are a fantastic way to get some new traffic to your blog, not to mention give away some awesome products!!

I just happened to find out that there is another Bloggy Carnival Giveaway going on right now, so I wanted in on the action (of course!!).

What am I going to give away this time? Well, a few things....

***#1: I will give away a month of free advertising on our other blog, The Downtown Boutique, for a 125x250 size banner spot. This is a value of $18. Note: We will not link to a site that has vulgar, obscene or otherwise inappropriate material.

***#2: I will give away one custom banner for your website or blog, any size you need, from our Rio Oso Designs Etsy shop. This is a value of $15.

***#3: I will give away 2 OsoBaby flannel burp cloths from our Ambrosia Delights Etsy shop. This is a value of $10.00.

All you need to do to enter, is to let me know which item you would like to win, and why. Please leave only one comment per person, with an easy way to get ahold of you. This contest is open worldwide. Deadline to enter is Saturday, April 26th at midnight PST. We will announce our winners on Sunday afternoon or evening.

Please be sure to visit our shops to see what else we sell! And check out The Downtown Boutique blog to see some amazing and wonderful handmade items. Also be sure to visit the Bloggy Carnival for a BOATLOAD of other great giveaways being held!

Happy Bloggy Carnival!


Monday Minis

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thinking Green?

These days, it seems the most used buzzword around our area of the country is "green". We're talking "green cars", "green/re-usable energy", "green grocery bags", etc. They're even beginning a plastic bag ban in the Bay Area. I'm kind of liking that idea, because then you can carry some fun and funky cloth bags!

I Stumbled Upon this great site that showcases "Great Green Goods". Check out some of the items they're featuring: