Pretty In Peace

A proud native New Yorker, Tameka Allen-Mercado will tell you that she’s only hiding out in Goodyear, Arizona. With every bit of time she can find, the mastermind behind Pretty In Peace, creates jewelry, collages, cards and other pretty little pieces of art while pondering stuff to write about. Yes – writing is her first love. Yet, her hideout in the Grand Canyon State is where this wife and mother creates an amazing collection of earthy, eco-conscious pieces. Her warm and peaceful shop makes your fingers itch to purchase every pretty item that catches your eye.

When Tameka isn’t designing accessories, writing, or working on an original piece of art, she manages her family-owned Indie electronic label at Next Dimension Music.com. Obviously, Mrs. Allen-Mercado does it all. This fact explains why she describes herself as “Deep, rich, and brilliant!” to which she adds, “Modest, aren’t I?” Read her candid interview below to see why those three adjectives are more than appropriate to roll off her tongue:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

I design art and artistic wares that make Mother Earth smile. Stop, shop, smile and live Pretty in Peace.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?

It’s a tie between junk and organic materials. In jewelry I absolutely love working with wood, copper and semi-precious stones. For my mixed media pieces, I’m rather fond of ephemera and random fabric scraps and such . . . y’know junk!

Which item from Pretty in Peace is your most treasured piece? Why?

I think this piece (below) is probably the best visual interpretation of who Tameka is. There’s smoothe stones and faceted ones and wood and rugged little bells. It’s all organic, and funky just a mix of loveliness. It’s my favorite.

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

I’m a cultural sponge, growing up in NYC has exposed me to so much beautiful color and culture. It’s all sitting in a grey fold somewhere waiting to make itself tangible. I listen to world music while I create and burn incense . . . so I’d say my inspiration comes from, “Far away people, places, and patchouli.”

What is your definition of success?

Success is the journey. As cliche as it is I have no destination, but everyday that I rise and create something is a successful one. Sometimes, it’s a meal other times a mess, but always a success.

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Pretty In Peace?

Not necessarily Etsy related, but on a whole I’m not sure how I feel about art as a business. Pricing a piece of my self is at times difficult, granted you have the materials but the creative process is really a part of your self and, putting a price on it is bittersweet. I want people to be able to afford my wares and at the same time I want to feel a deep appreciation for the creative process, money doesn’t do that. Coupled with not seeing and feeling the energy of my customers. Internet sales can be impersonal.

Share your most exciting experience while running Pretty in Peace.

There isn’t one, the mere existence of Pretty in Peace is exciting. Everyday that a new design is born makes me giddy all over again.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?

From my husband, an artist and musician, “You just gotta keep doing what you do.” It is so easy to identify the target demographic on Etsy (or anyplace else for that matter) and design around their desires, but in the end it doesn’t pay off on the grand scale.

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Key West, Florida. We honeymooned there, nothing would please me more than to ride a bike with a basket in the front to work in a quaint little village town full of funky little shops and folks.

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?

Corinne Bailey Rae. Before I took the plunge and left corporate America to “make stuff”, her song, Put Your Records On was my mantra.

(Corinne Bailey Rae; Trois Fleurs Ring by Pretty In Peace)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?

Actually, just today I listed my first mixed media piece, and plan to continue adding some ACEOs and other pieces of visual art alongside my wearables.

Visit Pretty In Peace to see more great items.



Carnivals . . . aah sweet nostalgia, funnel cakes, cotton candy, giant rainbow swirl lollipops…of course these things taste much better on the way down than on the way up. o_0



Carnival Mother's Day Gift Basket

Now’s your chance to win a CARNIVAL Mother’s Day Gift Basket!!! A grand basket of sweets at a retail value of $ 38.00 all for FREE!!!

I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to host my first contest. Without our mothers waddling around with us for 9 months, none of us would be here. With that thought in mind, it’s a must that we give gratitude to the mothers who have dried our tears, rooted for us, lifted our spirits, dished out tough love, showed us how to create art with our hands, and taught us how to be mothers ourselves. (Well . . . almost all of us – I have no kiddies yet!)

Anyone can enter this contest. I’m going to ask you a 2-part question and I want you to think long and hard about your answer:

1. What significant life lesson has your mother (or a mother figure in your life) taught you?

2. How has this lesson benefited you and molded you into the person you are today?

E-mail your answer to carnivaletsy@yahoo.com and you will be automatically entered. Your answer must be at least 2 heartfelt paragraphs and you may only enter the contest once.

I will go through each entry and choose the one I feel is well-written and stands out as the reason why we truly celebrate mother’s day. The winner will receive a special blog post with their winning entry published and CARNIVAL’s Mother’s Day Gift Basket which includes: 1 Almond & Brown Sugar Swirl Cake, 1 pack of Cocoa Caramelts, 1 pack of Peach Cobbler Chocolates, 2 Pumpkin Blooms, 1 Mallodamia Funday Bar, and 1 Blueberry Dream Funday Bar.

But wait . . . I couldn’t only give away 1 prize.

The runner-up will receive 1 free Almond & Brown Sugar Swirl Cake and their winning entry will be published as well!

The contest deadline is MAY 1st, 2008. The winner & runner-up will be announced MAY 2nd and your goodies will be shipped out to you on MAY 5th, just in time for Mother’s Day.

I wish you all good luck, now let the contest begin . . .

P.S. –

If you’d like to just go ahead and purchase this basket, it is available in the shop. It is a limited edition. All baskets will be made on MAY 3rd and mailed on MAY 4th for extra freshness. Only 4 gift baskets will be made. Now that’s exclusive!

Make my space, our space.

Add me to your friends or just drop your link below and I’ll add you to my growing list. I currently have 83 friends on the Carnival Myspace page and I would love, love, love to add 83 more!

Click here to go directly to the hot spot and don’t hesitate to extend a branch. I love branches. In fact, I’m going to create a branch-flavored chocolate candy bar next week!

Just kidding.

But honestly, I’m all about “the more, the merrier”. I mean, just look at these for crying out loud. You can’t get any more chock full of more than that . . .

Ciao bellas 🙂 See you on Myspace.

Don\'t lick your screen - lick your fingers . . .

Get ready to wipe the drool from your keyboard! New in the shop are the ridiculously delicious “Funday Bars”. Chocolate bars loaded with tasty chunks of nuts, berries, and fruit – they’re all for the craver who believes that variety is definitely the spice of life.

Last week, I added flavors to the shop – Blueberry Dream and Mallodamia. Today I will add 2 more luscious flavors – Flirty Fruit and Jumpin’ Cherry. Get yours today! At only $5.50 for a freshly made 2-pack, you can’t miss out on these wonderful treats.

Also . . .

check back on Saturday, April 19th, for details on CARNIVAL’s Mother’s Day Contest with the chance to win a box of mouth-watering goodies. It’s a contest you won’t want to miss . . .

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Lo and behold: Bridal season is here. Bridezillas everywhere are putting the finishing touches on all the details for the big day they’ve anticipated for years.

But, there’ s one major part of the season every bride-to-be leaves in the hands of family or friends. Yep . . . it’s the beloved bridal shower, where tears, champagne, and naughty lingerie collide. Without a doubt, it’s meant to be an affair to remember. And with that goal in mind, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears must go into organizing a superb bridal affair.

Please note: If the planner doesn’t bleed, the bride will not feel special.

Luckily, I’ve found an article on helium.com. Use this guide as a cheat sheet – it shares a few very valuable tips on serving up a celebration that’s painless. Here’s a peek:

While thinking about a wedding shower you may wonder, who throws this party? When do you plan it? Where should it be held? When should it take place and what to feed your guests? Here are our suggestions for a fabulous Bridal Shower!

A nice description on the history of the Bridal Shower is shared here at Wikipedia. The Bridal Shower is traditionally one of the main duties of the Maid of Honor. Held in her home she is the hostess for this party where the bride to be is the Guest of Honor. The rules of Etiquette are changing and becoming more lax these days, so you may consider sharing these duties with members of the Wedding Party.

Here is some advice when planning a Bridal Shower for the Bride to Be!

* Always consult with the Bride, the groom and families as to how to proceed and what forms of etiquette are important to them.

* When putting together the guest list the Maid of Honor should always consult with the couple as to who to invite.

* It’s also common these days to use an online invitation service to contact and invite your guests, as long as they are internet savvy.

* Never invite people to the bridal Shower that are not invited to the Wedding. This is a etiquette question we get a lot and one we feel all couples and those planning the Shower should stick to.

* When inviting guests and picking a date, consult with the Bride and family. You’ll want to also pay attention to road closures or major sporting events that will make travel more difficult.

. . . To read more, click here.

Check out these Etsy items to help you plan that fabulous bridal shower:

Etsy Bridal Shower Picks

Wedding Wreath & 4 Pomander Bouquets $40 Green Scallop Plate $42 Polka Dot Floral Blank Invitation $18 Blackberry & Sage Tea Bath Salts $4 Caramel Diva Squares $12 Leaves Ribbon $2.50 Gift Box $8 Pattern Tags in Spring Green $3.50 Painted Wine Glasses $36 ; TOP IMAGE: French/Russian Birdcage Veil $49.99

For the second day in a row, I’ve added something that is triple the tastiness and triple the fun!

After creating recipe after recipe with nuts galore, I wanted to make something that was simply an overdose of chocolate. Something that was full of flavors that I’ve never tried before. From that brainstorming session came these lovely “Triple Treasure Rhapsody Tubs”.

Mark my three words: They . . . taste . . . divine.

Full of cinnamon, nutmeg, and mocha, it was only fair that I finished them off with a crown of red coconut flakes. Wanna give these babies a try? Click here to get details.