Thursday, October 1, 2009


"A MAD SCIENTIST is a stock character of popular fiction, specifically science fiction. The mad scientist may be villainous, benign or neutral, and whether insane, eccentric, or simply bumbling, mad scientists often work with fictional technology in order to forward their schemes, if they even have a coherent scheme. Alternatively, they fail to see the evil that is implied will ensue from the hubris of “playing god”."

Perhaps they're not quite villainous or god-playing, but the rest is quite possibly true!

As we wind down the celebration of the
More Meaningful Gifts Group First Anniversary, I know I couldn't let the month pass without acknowledging the love and support of my favorite Mad Scientists!

At any given time of the day these incredible women are always there to give their love, support, and guidance.

If there is ever an award for ETSIAN OF THE YEAR, no one would be more deserving than our very own Wunder Woman, Jennifer Wunderlich of

We are so incredibly blessed to have our very own Etsypedia! She selflessly shares her experiences, tutors us on how-to's in photography, descriptions, the all important tags and everything Etsy! It's like having our own member of the Etsy Admin to talk to everyday!

Wunder, even if you never shared another Etsy tip with us, I couldn't love you more! You are the voice inside my head, never hesitant to speak your mind and make us laugh, always ready to defend us and bold enough to give us harsh critism when we need it!

Thank you for being an amazing team mate and friend...

If Wunder is our Etsypedia, then Ulimanda is our biggest cheerleader! Amanda Giesler of is best known for her incredible BLOG! Creating instant envy among us all with her dedication to posting everyday, she showcases her wonderful crafts, incredible recipes, and daily Etsy Favorites; our very own Martha Stewart! (I have succumbed to MANY of her found treasures!)

The VERY essence of MMG, Uli is the first to join in on every new project, feature, treasury, blog, listing, life event, and my partner at I can't imagine an MMG home where her beautiful goddesses don't grace the pages.

Uli, I am so proud of you and the incredible woman you are. I can't wait to see and be a part of the woman you'll become. A Martha Stewart Scientist - who says you can't do it all! I would never have been able to accomplish all of our MMG successes without your support and love.

Thank you for being such a wonderful partner my friend!

No family is complete without a sister! (and I'm not talking about the screaming, pulling hair, get in trouble when THEY throw the once bitten into apple into the trash can and YOU get punished for a month-kind of sister!)

But the kind of sister that you share your own secret language with, that understands "just keep swimming" and doesn't think you're crazy for singing it, the one that you can share your bad days with and is ALWAYS there to pick up the pieces when they're just too difficult to carry on your own...

The same sister that cheers your successes, life events and can be that l
ittle voice you need to help you keep dreaming those dreams that may seem hopeless...

Jena Campbell, of, thank you for being the second mother to our MMG family!

We are so blessed to have you watching over us and making sure no one gets left behind! We are so proud of all of your hard work and determination as you begin your PhD work and all of the good that you do for the ARK.

Thank you for being my MMG sister and friend!

Who would have thought a year ago that a little list of my ten favorite shoppes would lead to such amazing kinship!

Happy Anniversary

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Meaningful Gifts - 1st ANNIVERSARY FEATURES: The Mothers of MMG

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind percepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." - Washington Irving

If you're looking for ways to learn about building and promoting your handmade business, you wont find a better group!

But if you're looking for more: from recipes, to first aid suggestions, to celebrating special accomplishments and sharing tears, they pray, send us messages of support and cheer us on before even knowing why! Our lives are richer from the wisdom and generous hearts of these MMG MOTHERS!

The rays of light shining in the middle of a summer day cannot measure the love and unending support that these amazing mothers and artisans of the More Meaningful Gifts group!

Friday, September 4, 2009

More Meaningful Gifts - 1st ANNIVERSARY FEATURES: The Painters of MMG

"Great art picks up where nature ends." - Marc Chagall

I wonder every day about the many blessings in my life; my family, my friends, the ability to fulfill my dreams and desires, to experience the beauty that God has created.

How very many few of us are able to see God's beauty through the eyes of others - allowing us the insight to see them again in ways that perhaps we hadn't.

We are blessed everyday at MMG with the talent of these incredible artists/painters/sketchers!

Nothing more meaningful than original works of art to make your house a home!

Check out these other fabulous peacock-inspired pieces from the MMG AUGUST CHALLENGE!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009




ORIGINAL MMG Thread-Mates! A Year Later and Still Supporting More Meaningful Gifts!

I'm the kind of person that doesn't believe in gift cards and cash as gifts...

There's nothing like the initial glance someone gives you when they get a wish fulfilled or something they hadn't dared to dream of or something that they think there's no way that you could have known they wanted or needed...

I started the More Meaningful Gifts Thread with that in mind.

A year later, out of the nine shops that I originally invited, we are blessed to still have three amazing women who take the time every day to share their talents, thoughts, and ideas with us; but I am most blessed to call them my friends.

Thank you Debra, Kara, and Sima for your continued love and support...

If you're looking for
More Meaningful Gifts definitely take the time to check out these amazing shops and talented women.

Monday, August 31, 2009

More Meaningful Gifts - 1st ANNIVERSARY Festivities! Come Join Us for the FUN!




More Meaningful Gifts is a daily thread in the Etsy Forums.

It is a BNR - "Buy and Replace Thread" where a list of Etsy shops are promoted throughout the day. In order to get your shop name on the list, you must purchase from one of the shops already on the list and YOUR shop name replaces it!

MMG was created and launched on August 27th, 2008 and since then over 300 shops have participated with approximately 40 unique shops posting on the thread daily. The thread just celebrated 1900 sales and celebrate a new shop every week with

I want to thank everyone for making MMG so special to me and such an integral part of my life inside and outside of Etsy.


In celebration all purchases from and for the week of 8/28-9/4 will give you a X5!

(you must sell 5 items before getting kicked off the list! - if you already have a X2 - it does NOT equal X7 - converts to X5).

IF BY 9/4/09's shop hits 100 sales, each ITEM purchased from either of the curator's shops will get you one entry into the end of the week drawing for a custom


which will be revealed on next MONDAY 9/7!

check out these great examples

siempre - dorana

Friday, August 7, 2009

First Custom Orders for DDOTS ® Greeting ART CARDS!

Check out these great Custom Orders for DDOTS ® Greeting ART CARDS!

19th Anniversary Card for (check out Bella's incredible original artwork); I created a card with their wedding song by Journey and was inspired to create my own "Forever Yours, Faithfully" Bridal Collection! I had a lot of fun creating this card for Bella and whenever I take out the hammer, Todd exclaims, "You're not ma
king another "Forever" card are you!!?" (It took a little more hammering then most!)

Happy Anniversary Bella and may you share many more years of love and happiness!

I was contacted by fellow
Etsian, (check out Des' beautiful, tropical, eastern inspired Greeting Cards), to create a special card for her best friend to celebrate their Christening Anniversary! I was so honored by her request! I made a special
FAITH card in honor of their special occasion!

To request a special hand-hammered, one of a kind, greeting card with the perfect sentiment for someone you love, contact me at!

Thursday, August 6, 2009 - Talented Artists of Etsy Feature - TAETSY

Today's TAETSY FEATURE showcases the talent of fellow Etsian:!

I was Tricky's 20th sale and was honored with this beautiful collection of Greeting Cards and a GORGEOUS keepsake box! Make sure to check out this talented artist and take advantage of several one of a kind designs!

My MARESAR Signature Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Earrings - on their way to a BRIDE on her WEDDING DAY!

These simple, elegant and timeless earrings will soon be worn on a BRIDE'S WEDDING DAY! Make sure to check back in for when I post the pictures!

siempre- dorana

Saturday, August 1, 2009

TEAM WORK Blog Feature of DDOTS ® Spiral Notecards by

I am honored to be featured by SimaGJewelry!

I created custom DDOTS ® Spiral Mini Note Cards for Sima's signature Spiral Necklaces and Charms.

Thank you for the wonderful write up and feature Sima!

siempre- dorana

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Concerned Customer Complaint: Letter to the Dealership OWNER: "Your Bathroom is an Out House."

Dearest Readers:

Please stop here if you are offended by "foul" language.

If you need a smile and choose to continue to read, please note the following:

  • NO. In support of my mortified mother, my mother did NOT raise me to talk like this.

  • YES. I DID - I REALLY DID send this to the OWNER of the franchise. (Haven't you ever really wanted to complain about something that made you feel uncomfortable but you were too embarrassed to explain it the only way that could truly illustrate your annoyance!?)

  • The names of the accused have been withheld (Come on! I'm not THAT evil. BUT if I go back next time and it hasn't been resolved, stay tuned - 'cause I'll even post a MAP of the location!)

  • I waited until I got to the HOME DEPOT to go to the bathroom almost THREE HOURS after I initially arrived at the dealership - ladies, THAT'S how bad it was!

  • YES. I got a prompt reply. Mortified apology. Commitment to discuss at length during their weekly Management Meeting. (Laughing uncontrollably! Imagine THAT conversation!) And a commitment to rectify the situation.

  • YES. I am personally familiar with the "condition" that I am referring to - I am proud NOT to be a Nun :o)

THE LETTER - (This letter has been modified from it's original version. The original letter was written with my Blackberry, and let's face it, we're still a ways from publishing "Pulitzer" material by thumbs!)

Dear Madam,

I hope this finds you well. I am currently sitting in your Service Waiting Area as my car is being serviced, and I couldn't help reaching out to you in my disappointment.

I purchased my vehicle from your dealership last August and my fiance purchased another this January.

We had hoped that this would be the start of a "breath-taking" relationship!

This is the second time I've brought my car in for routine service - about my 6th visit to your showroom.

At each visit, I have complained to our salesman, the Sales Manager who turned bright shades of red even through his dark skin tone, as well as the young women at the cashier's desk.

Each time, I've been assured that my complaint would be addressed before my next visit and six times later, I'm STILL completely disgusted!
I am disgusted at the Ladies Bathroom!

The first time my fiance and I both left the adjoining bathrooms we looked each other and said
"it smells like sweaty testicles!". (The language wasn't quite as P.C.)

Perhaps it is just a confirmation of our belief that we are soul mates that we both cried,
"SWEATY BALLS!" out in unison!

Alas, as I have learned in my previous FIVE complaints to members of your staff, I am not the first or several dozen-th person to bring the "sweaty balls"- stench and unwelcoming bathroom to the attention of members of your management.

In fact, on several of those occasions, along with fits of laughter at my bluntness, I have been encouraged by the management to share my frank review to other members of your staff who exclaimed,



Although I am proud to have been accepted as one of your sweaty guys in the dealership-locker-room, that is not the response you should be proud of!

I am also a woman business owner and I am appalled that a business owned proudly by such successful women would allow what, as a woman, you'd understand, more than anything else - that the condition of your
bathroom, is an indication of the service one would expect in your establishment!

As I look around in the showroom at 3:09pm, there are only TWO male customers and
EIGHT women and even a child!

I would be mortified to let MY child in that bathroom!

You should be ashamed!

Where's the

Perhaps a Reed Diffuser or two?!

While I'm at it, the stalls don't even have a hook or shelf to place a purse or jacket!

Completely disgraceful!

I am hoping that by reaching out to you, that FINALLY my complaints will be heard and something will be done!

I hope to hear from you soon and that action will be taken to make visiting the "water closet" in your establishment fair better than an "out house!"

(hoping for some fresh air)

siempre - dorana

UPDATE: Yoda had his oil changed last week and excitedly reported:

"There's a pretty plant in the bathroom! And there's new air fresheners!

Now it smells like SWEATY BALLS WITH PERFUME!"

I think I might have to post that map...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - Talented Artists of Etsy Feature - TAETSY

Today's TAETSY FEATURE showcases the talent of fellow Etsian :!

I am absolutely IN LOVE with all of the great items in her shop in support of the men and women who serve and protect our country!

Thank you for your dedication and support of our heroes and their families!

Make sure to check out this great shop and support our men and women in uniform!

Monday, May 18, 2009


The sign read:


Every day those words would flash into my memory as I went through my endless list of things to do. They would burn brighter and literally shout in song as I drove anywhere near the vicinity of the shop where the sign hung on the wall of the Riverdale Dry Cleaners.

As I searched the hidden zippered compartment in my purse for the odds and ends that were important enough to be stored in its company, my fingers would often brush against the bright pink dry cleaning receipt and I'd again be reminded of those haunting words.

Every now and then I would grab the wrinkled, thin, fading pink paper and unfold it to read it.

December 20th, 2008.

The ritual would be repeated again in January.

And February.

And March.

And as April came closer and closer and March 20th came and went, the words on the sign that echoed in my head during my daily routines began to haunt me now as I slept.

I would wake up in the middle of the night startled as I grabbed for my phone and check the date.

March 21st.

March 22nd.

March 30th.

April 5th.

April 20th.

April 20th... It came and went.

So did May 1st.

I would find myself those last few days intentionally avoiding traveling anywhere near the dry cleaners and yet every time I cleaned out my purse, I made sure that the receipt was safe.

"I'll pick it up tomorrow."

I told myself time and time again.

I had promised my mother that I would take her to the eye doctor's that Monday morning. I had completely forgotten about it as I went through my morning routine of emails and tasks. Around noon when she called again, I jumped up and hurried to pick her up as my heart raced when I neared her neighborhood.

The particular dry cleaners that haunted my days and nights was close by, but I managed to pick her up and get her to the doctor's in time that afternoon.

On the way back to her house, I took the late turn off of Route 23.

"I have to go home and pick up the car to pick up your sister after work!"

"I know. I have to pick up my jacket at the dry cleaners!"

"Oh, okay."

As I said the words and turned onto the main road, I could feel my heart racing.

I parked the car, grabbed my purse and pulled out the familiar
wrinkled, thin, fading pink paper tucked away in the hidden zippered pocket and unfolded it to give to the attendant at the shop.

As he turned away to search for it, I looked up at the sign


and felt my stomach turn in knots and my face turn red as my heart raced.

I watched him holding the faded piece of paper looking down as he paced up and down the lines of clear plastic wrapped dozens of police uniforms, prom dresses, dress shirts.

He would steadily look up at the rack and then down at the paper causing the hangings to rustle as he scurried up and down the lanes, at first looking determined and after awhile appearing noticeably frazzled.

He walked back to me empty handed as I began to lose my composure as he went to the computer. He looked up at me as I spit out quickly,

"It's a leather jacket.


It's a leather jacket!

It's camel-colored and has four buttons!

It's a leather jacket!"

I cried out as I could feel the tears start to form in my eyes and he turned back around to continue the search with the new information. The sign that haunted my days and nights stared back at me as I looked back and forth from the sign, to my mother in the car, to the frustrated man searching for my camel-colored leather jacket!



I gripped the counter tightly as I turned back to the attendant who echoed,

"A leather jacket..."

I watched him go to the rack closest to me, right in front of me in fact, as he grabbed the arm of a jacket and pulled it towards him so that I could see it.

It's a leather jacket!

It's camel-colored and has four buttons!"

I felt dumbfounded that I continued to repeat the same words as if my ability to produce my extensive vocabulary had somehow left me.


I cried out.

As he grabbed it off of the carrier and stepped towards me, I clutched the counter tighter.

He placed the jacket in its plastic wrap on the hanger over the counter nervously as I unsheathed it.

I closed my eyes as I looked down towards the pocket.

"You weren't able to fix the cuts on the pocket."

I sighed to myself more than the attendant, as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders - four months and 15 days of weight.

"No. I'm sorry. We can have the entire pocket replaced if you like. We were able to secure it closed so that it doesn't continue to tear and got most of the stains off but it will look better replaced."

"NO! NO," I answered as I paid.

"It's perfect!"

I gingerly touched the v-shaped cut and scratches of the beautiful soft leather in a trance, as I covered it back with the plastic wrap and rushed out to the car.

"What took you so long! I'm going to be late picking up your sister from work!"

"I'm sorry! He had a hard time looking for my coat!"

"Did they get it fixed!?"

"It looks good. They want to replace the pocket but I like it the way it is..."

"Why don't you go ahead and replace it! It will look better! It's an expensive coat!"

"No... Cody scratched it and it tore when I went to see Tom and Cheryl last time I was there..." I whispered.

"Who's Tom and Cheryl?" she asked as my eyes instantly filled with tears.

"Oh... Tom."

"It's perfect. I don't want it fixed." I replied as I dropped her off...

...For the last several years a large portion of my “job” consists of giving a “quantitative, monetary value” to the life of a person – how ridiculous is that thought

– Life Insurance…

I can’t insure one’s LIFE – how do you replace a father, a mother, a husband or a wife?

I can’t put them in a little plastic bubble for their monthly premium and protect them from life’s uncertainties… I can only protect their “income”

The concept I’ve always understood, the role as a family’s financial guide and the comforting hand to help them through the financial difficulties that seem every day to intensify; part financial advisor, part marriage counselor. Each acts that I’ve committed my life to – a kind of service that I never imagined I’d be doing.

But I had never experienced the personal loss that I help families prepare for.


I had never had anyone I’ve ever known die.

Imagine that!

- Thirty year old funeral virgin! (Talk about great theatre!)

I’ve had friend’s loved ones pass and their family members die, but I’ve never had a family member, grandparent, or friend – seriously – no one pass away.

I had never felt that void, the pang and heartache of loss, the sense of mortality and longing for that “one more day, one more time” with someone who I loved.

And then this summer I delivered my first death claim with my regional vice president.

I sat in front of a family and handed them a check representing the “quantitative, monetary value” to the life of a person they loved.

That day I sat mourning with a mother and father and EIGHT brothers and sisters.

The client wasn’t someone who called me up one day ‘cause they realized that no one would be able to pay for their funeral if God forbid something happened to them, or a man with a family to support, or someone with a lot of debt who didn’t want to burden his family with it…

He believed in “buy term and invest the difference".

He believed in planning for and protecting his future and the life and family he wanted to have some day.

He believed in US.

He was my teammate, my friend.

He was just 23 when we met.

Tom was that young man that walked into the room, tall and dashingly handsome with dark hair and shockingly, striking eyes, and a smile that lit up the world around him. His dark suit and bright shirts never seemed quite right – there was that “country boy” about him that screamed “jeans and t-shirts”!

Children naturally were attracted to him. In my favorite memory of him, my two year old nephew was nestled inside his arm while sitting on his lap as the two of them and a group of our coworker's children sat watching Finding Nemo in my boss' basement during an office party.

He still asks fondly about "Uncle Tom..."

For the last couple of years we had shared a certain kinship as we both struggled with illness. He was suffering from a heart problem, while I was going through my initial cancer screenings and intercepting treatments and even though we always shared our most positive cheering selves with one another, there was a silent mutual understanding of fear and anxiety through our illnesses.

He and I became our office’s poster children for the importance of protecting your insurability.

Younger agents would often brush off our encouragement that they secure their life insurance policies now while they were young and healthy. Like most young people who have their whole lives ahead of them, they see themselves as completely invincible.

It became a theatrical performance for Tom and me, as we hung out in meetings with these young immortals. There would always be that perfect break in their cheerful, indestructible, and naïve justifications when he and I would look at each other with that knowing glance.

He would stand up, so proud to have this innate purpose among us and introduce himself.

“Hi, my name is Tom. I’ve been with the company for almost three years. I was 23 when I started working here and bought the base policy for a preferred insured, and I pay $23.00 a month because it was part of my own personal financial foundation. Have to practice what you preach right?!”

You could see the eyes of those new agents rolling, looking at that devastatingly handsome man-child – a vision of strength and health and youth.

“I thought it was a great deal! And it IS ‘cause last year I was diagnosed with a heart condition that makes that insurance policy the only coverage I will ever qualify for, for the rest of my life. I am now uninsurable and it is all the insurance I will ever leave my wife and children some day because of my illness. I’m thankful that I at least have something to protect them with.”

He would then smile that crushing smile as if he had just reached the top of Mount Everest!

There were several mornings in the past year that I had awakened to calls from my Tom letting me know that he was in the hospital. All I had to hear was, “Dorana, …” and I would quickly scramble prepared, ready to see where he was and if he needed me. He never hesitated in assuring me that he was alright and that he would be home soon.

That morning when I got the call, I was barely out of bed. I remember hearing Janis’ voice and looking at the clock puzzled for a brief second, before I jumped up and started getting dressed sensing that this time, it was different.

It started the same, the words echoed so familiarly,

“Dorana, Tom…”

“Where is he? I’m on my way!”

“No, honey, I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t worry it’s not too early. I’m already getting dressed. I’m closer than anyone else. Where is he?”

“Dorana, I have some sad news my friend.”

Patience has never been my strong suit and I remember this feeling of annoyance that she wasn’t spitting it out – WHERE WAS HE!?

I was putting on my shoes and grabbing my keys when she said,

“Dorana. He was on his way home from work last night from Krogh’s…”

The words echoed as she said them and I was digesting each word individually feeling them vibrate through my conscience, “Krogh’s, Krogh’s,” I thought to myself.

“Last night was Thursday. Thursday is our meeting night. Why was he at Krogh’s?”

I closed my eyes at that crushingly surreal moment as I steadied myself, “We meet on Tuesday nights now...”

“…He was on his way home from work last night from Krogh’s…on his motorcycle and he was hit, head on by a drunk driver. He didn’t make it, honey. I’m so sorry…”

I was in the car already when Janis repeated herself again in response to my silence.

I sat looking at the steering wheel not fully understanding, still waiting for her to just TELL ME WHAT HOSPITAL HE WAS IN!

If she could just tell me, I would go and we would hang out and laugh and tease everyone who looked at us sternly, and maybe we’d get a client or two while we were there… That’s what we always joked about doing, but he would always call me as I was on my way there to let me know that he was okay and on his way home, that I would see him at work; but now I just needed to know WHAT HOSPITAL HE WAS IN!


“I don’t understand. Where is he?”

“He’s gone honey. The accident site is still a crime scene. There was nothing anyone could do. Are you okay? Do you need me to call Heather or Todd?”

“No, no. I’m okay. Thank you, for letting me know.”

I hung up the phone and instinctively called his cell phone, it went straight to voice mail…

“Hi. You’ve reached the voice mail of Tom Klosterhoff…”

It was the last time I’d hear his voice…

And at that moment I felt it – that blinding explosion of agony that feels like your lungs are collapsing as you gasp for air, your heart is shattering while it’s beating out of your chest, and your head is burning from the inside out – uncontrollable and unlike anything I have ever felt before in my life.

I cried and cried. Sobbed while I clutched the steering wheel tightly feeling as if I’d crumble right there in the seat and melt into nothing.

“He was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work…”

I was trying desperately to comprehend the words as I repeated them.

“He was on his motorcycle.”

I hated that motorcycle, the racing bike that he was so proud of. I remember the way he ushered us downstairs from the office to see it.

We live over an hour away from our office and that was the top of the gas price peak. His truck cost too much to fill so he would ride in to work on his bike; his hair all disheveled which made him look all the more crushingly handsome - you couldn't help but swoon...

“He was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work…”

He worked as a bartender and was the most conscientious server. Always made sure to call someone a ride when they had too much to drink, he had the numbers of his regular patron’s wives on his cell phone to make sure they got home okay…

“He was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work…”

I was there for every moment that I could be.

I thought that there would be nothing that paralleled that initial insurmountable pain until I walked out of the funeral parlor during the wake for a minute of air when I saw her…

I closed my eyes tightly, painfully, I prayed in that instant for strength as a weakness swept over me and I grabbed the wall to steady myself, certain that I must have been losing my mind, as I opened my eyes again and saw her (A vision? Was it an angel?) as she smiled brightly, running with a friend through the hall of fifteen hundred mourners.

And there she was, I had never met her before, but she instantly captivated me – I would recognize her anywhere in the world.

Her hair, her smile, those striking eyes, so very familiar - Tom’s eyes, his youngest sister - the very image of her brother.

I’ll always remember that first moment that I saw her with her laughing, brilliant, sparkling eyes – Tom’s eyes.

... After the funeral I became obsessed with needing to have something to hold on to.

I'll never need anything to remember him by - he'll forever be a part of my life, but I needed something close to me everyday to remind me of how short of a time I was blessed to have had him in my life - a way to share his story with others.

I searched for days and found a wonderful artisan who created a custom sterling silver charm that read:

7.25.08 MADD

I attached the charm to my key chain and every day no matter where I go, I'm reminded of my obligation to never let someone I think may have had too much to drink behind the wheel, but most importantly, a reminder of the wonderful man that left us much too soon...

I thought that picking up my favorite leather jacket all fixed and cleaned from that afternoon where Tom's dog had jumped up excitedly and torn the pocket would somehow erase what little I had left to remind me of him, but now I realize that there is a moment in everyone's life where the reality sets in that every sunrise and set is magical, every moment is precious, and every friendship is a true token of God's love.

That moment came to me on the morning of July 25th, 2008, when I lost my good friend Thomas J. Klosterhoff.

I will forever miss him and I'm thankful that I will never be the same.

Successful LAUNCH OF DDOTS.ETSY.COM - Premium Hand-dotted Paper Art Cards and Gift Tags

On Etsy Day, April 24th, I officially launched my new Paper Art Shoppe -! I am absolutely thrilled with the great feedback and success! It is a wonderful day when you can create something new that others appreciate and embrace.

DDOTS ® Greeting ART CARD and Gift Tags are hand-dotted with a hammer and special tools - they ARE NOT done by using a hole punch or templates of any kind!

Simple designs in three different hand-dotted fonts create beautiful shadows of the image INSIDE the card as you open it!

Each DDOTS ® Greeting ART CARD measures a standard 4 ¼” X 5 ½” on textured card stock in BOLD COLORS and is paired with a plain white envelope and comes packaged in our parent company a Dorana design custom packaging ready for gifting and mailed in a rigid mailer to protect from folding and damaging your ART CARD!

DDOTS ® Greeting ART CARDS are currently available in these colors:

Sky Blue
Lime Green
Orange Sherbet
Coral Pink

DDOTS ® Greeting Art Gift Tags are created using archival quality papers and adhesives accented with beautiful ribbons and MAKING MEMORIES BRAND eyelets.

Buy Handmade

Friday, May 1, 2009



I'd like to thank Tami of The Holistic Diva for her support and awarding me last week's Blogger Friendship Award! It's truly my pleasure to be able to share great artists and business tools with our amazing HANDMADE COMMUNITY!

In turn, I would like to award the Vespa Blogger Friendship Award to the following people who have shared their friendship and support!

Ulixis Crafts
Penguinware Boutique
H20 Works
Nicole's Homemade Treats
Marine's Craft Corner
SimaG Jewelry
Bella Cosa Art
Debra Linker

If you would like to pass this award on to some of your blogger friends, then here's how to do it (as passed on to me):

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog
5. Leave a message for the nominees on their blog

Thank you to my blogger friends for sharing your knowledge and humor.

Friday, April 17, 2009 - Talented Artists of Etsy Feature - TAETSY

TAETSY FEATURE showcases the talent of fellow Etsian :!

I received one of these incredible
"FORK IT OVER!" money clips as a gift for featuring her work in our HANDMADE WEDDING SERIES at!

I was "forked away" by the amazing craftsmanship and detail! What a wonderfully unique gift for Father's Day and your groomsmen!

Thank you for your support and generosity! Make sure to check out other amazing silverware creations!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I can't believe that a BRIDE is going to be wearing MY DESIGN on her WEDDING DAY!

I'm giddy! It took me several hours to add this piece to my Etsy Shop tonight because I couldn't decide on which image to use as the default picture! I'm thrilled with the way it came out though! Thank you so much for your love and support Heather! Doesn't she look AMAZING!?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chocolate? Meat? NOPE! This Year the ULTIMATE "Giving Up For Lent" Sacrifice: FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE

The first year that I joined the millions of Catholics around the world in the traditional practice of "giving something up for Lent" (the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, although Lent comes to an end after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday) was in the fifth grade.

I had celebrated my First Communion the year before, later than most, but I was newly determined in my faith and went about celebrating and participating in the traditional ceremonies and practices with vigor and conviction!

There was no question what I'd be giving up, my greatest passion at twelve years old: CHOCOLATE!

My resolve was steadfast!

Our Lord had sacrificed his only son for me, I could give up CHOCOLATE for 40 days!...

That first day was torture!

I pushed away the dessert chocolate brownie at lunch in the cafeteria with the heartbreak of watching a puppy die!

Every Sunday my parents would pitifully offer me m&m's or other chocolate goodies attempting to assure me that,

"Sunday's don't count!"

Even then that idea was ludicrous to me!

Sunday's don't count???

As a good student of faith, even as a child, I knew the absurdity of the concept of "Sunday's OFF" during Lent.

Lent isn't about "giving something up" for the sake of "giving something up" that culminates in the "pigging out" and indulgence of that "something" on Easter Sunday...

There HAD to be MORE TO IT than that!

I found a wonderful resource while preparing for this article in Friar Jack from Friar Jack's E-spirations on

"Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over... The goal is not to obstain from sin for the duration of Lent, but to root sin out of our lives forever..."

My favorite quote from Friar Jack on fasting from meat on Fridays during Lent as a way to create a simple meal to link us spiritually to those whose diets are poor:

"Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!"

Surrendering the luxury of chocolate at age twelve and later in high school renouncing meat for almost five years in the spirit of humility and sacrifice were fitting and honorable for that time in my life.

This year however, I couldn't think of anything that would truly be a testament of my will and a sacrifice honorable enough to match that first day in the lunch room when I pushed away that brownie and the pang in my gut all those years I passed on burgers and hot dogs; but more importantly, something that would make me a better person for doing it.

And then one night when I awoke in the middle of the night wondering if I had a message waiting for me on mySpace and what everyone was doing on facebook, I KNEW what I had to do!

I'd give up mySpace and facebook for Lent!

A dear friend of mine recently exclaimed,

"The internet is the devil!"

Neither of us really believes that as the internet is truly a genius work of art and science where anything and everything is possible, bridging oceans and cultures and ideas!

What IS true however is that

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop!"

How many HOURS are lost each day randomly surfing the internet? How many more are lost finding out what your friends and family are "doing right now!"

Do I really need to know what everyone I know is doing 24 hours a day? What they are listening to, eating, reading, thinking?

I hadn't truly realized my addiction to the personal social networking sites until that day at 2am when I tossed over in bed reaching for my laptop aching to find out what my online world was doing!

Some of you might quickly counter claim, but what about twitter and the forums and all the other internet sites you work on each day!?

The key word there is WORK! Trust me, I've never tossed and turned at night wondering what the front page of Etsy looks like or how many followers found me on twitter!

And as Ash Wednesday neared I wondered whether I would truly be able to stay logged off of those sites.

I began to realize that my addiction was not only taking away precious moments in each day, but that the practice in those sites contributed to my own laziness = sloth, envy in the accomplishments and lives of others, greed as I put my time online above the needs of the people I love and my responsibilities... If I'm really honest with myself, I can admit that in some way I allowed myself to indulge in each of the 7 Deadly Sins in those actions.

So I committed to not only "give up something" for the 40 days of Lent, but to become a better person in my sacrifice here after...

I've ignored friend requests from my friends, cousins, and even my step-mother!

Smile when I hear "aren't you suppose to give up candy or something?"

I fall asleep in the arms of the man I love instead of with my laptop.

Enjoyed my first vacation in years without even turning on my computer to check a single email!

Spend my day doing the most productive thing for my business every minute of the day and when work is over, bask in the time with my family and getting reacquainted with myself!

Celebrate in the fruits of my labor as my work gets recognized within and outside the internet community!

And I look forward to creating that healthy balance that is needed in everything in life - 'cause the point is my friends is to be the


siempre- dorana

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Last BUSINESS-TYPE Post on Personal Blog

I have finally decided to separate the BUSINESS from the PERSONAL!

This is the last BUSINESS-TYPE POST on my perso
nal blog!

I've come to realize that the people that follow this blog for my personal stories and narratives are different then those that want to learn more about my business and business related topics.

So I've created for all topics relating to business building, my jewelry design and artwork, the registry website, motivational narratives, and anything outside of the "personal" genre.

I hope to see you all there!


On the morning of March 4th as I was in the middle of managing a dozen open windows on my browser and returning emails, running chat rooms and ignoring my blackberry, I noticed its little corner light flashing red out of the corner of my eye... I grabbed it and quickly skimmed through the message titled, "wedding registry" and read,

"hey there, I want to include you in an Etsy blog post and link to your wedding registry site, ok?... maybe you can reblog it! -v"

I remember reading it, "cool!" I said to myself, and flung the phone to the opposite side of the sofa where I went back to whatever crisis was at hand at that moment.

While checking my inboxes and threads awhile later, I noticed the little red number at the top of my Etsy screen that reminded me of the conversation that was awaiting my reply. I clicked on it just as I had a million times before and as the screen reloaded, my heart stopped, I instantly felt the heat wash over me as I saw it...

Next to the message titled "wedding registry," was the profile picture of a smiling brunette with a red bubble underneath that said ETSY ADMIN.


I clicked on the message and read it again and as the words finally sank in, I bursted into hysterical tears!

I threw myself across the couch and grabbed my phone and started dialing and


I called my mom, answering machine.

I called Todd, answering machine.

I called Heather, voice mail.

I called Gary, and FINALLY after the third try, I could share my tears of joy!

Words can't begin to describe what that moment meant to me. That instant when you realize that the countless hours of work and dreaming about the possibility of your ideas is finally paying off!

The world's LARGEST HANDMADE COMMUNITY was featuring MY website!

When my mother finally called, I could barely speak through my tears! When I could breathe enough to reassure her that no one had DIED, I cried,

"Mom, I've worked SO HARD! I can't believe they're really featuring my website!"

I spent the next several days contacting the HUNDREDS of artisans that I had spent the last several weeks featuring throughout the website to let them know that the "mother ship" had spotted US!

I wasn't online when their feature hit the air. In fact I didn't see it at all until FIVE HOURS LATER late Friday night!

It was more than I could have ever dreamed of!

Our registry is being featured in Etsy's HANDMADE WEDDING SERIES!

Not only was our site mentioned, it was linked to their article with a display of our ENTIRE BANNER with links to our tutorials and even to my own personal shop!

I couldn't have dreamt of a more wonderful affirmation of all of my hardwork!

The rest of the weekend was a blur of welcoming over 100 new members and celebrating as comment after comment of congratulations was left on the blog!

I HAVE TO take this time to thank everyone in our community for all of your love and support as we've worked to make this vision come to life and as we continue to grow and develop, I know I can't do any of this without you!

To my amazing support, Amanda ( thank you for being so generous of your time and talent! I know that this could not be possible without you!

To my amazing MORE MEANINGFUL GIFTS family, my every day has more meaning having each and every one of you in my life!

Here's to the first step in our more meaningful journey...

siempre- dorana

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I woke up this morning and planned the outline of my day and remembered to set an alarm for 11:00am. I hurried through my morning routine and tried my best to accomplish as much as I could before my deadline.

I placed the alarm in the upstairs bedroom knowing that it would force me to get up from my work in my office to start getting ready, as my usual tardiness was not an option!

I ran up the stairs and grabbed my towel, a fresh razor blade and as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, wondered if I should wash my hair.

I scrubbed myself from head to toe making sure to use the exfoliating scrubby stuff and paid special attention as I shaved my legs and even did some careful trimming... I glanced at myself in the mirror again and said out loud,

"I should have washed my hair!"

As I hurried back to the bedroom to start getting dressed, I scurried through my underwear drawer looking for the perfect bra and panty for my afternoon date...

with my Gynecologist...

Seriously, I didn't even fret this much as I got ready for my first date with my BOYFRIEND of two years, although knowing what I know now, I would definitely had paid more attention over my preparation and wardrobe that night... there's a $40 black bra that's STILL MISSING!...

I carefully smoothed lotion over my just-shaven legs and started to put on my undergarments when I suddenly stopped in the middle of pulling up my most conservative, clean and proper panty and practically stumbled onto my face as I ran over to the bathroom and gingerly stood on the scale. I closed my eyes as I made that silent prayer...

Every woman knows the exact weight measurement from their last doctor's visit - for most people it's once a year, even though my experiences seem to be vastly more frequent!

You could have blown every diet all year long and broken every resolution, slept in and missed every spin and yoga class, enjoyed that pizza over the weekend, but the ultimate test - the biggest fear is to weigh more than that little black box on the top of the right hand corner of the last visit's chart!

I looked down as a cold sweat started to cover my still naked body...


I had lost ten pounds since my last doctor's appointment, but now a new concern,

"What am I going to wear so that I could prove all of my hard work these last few weeks!?"

They hardly allow you to take off your shoes to weigh yourself these days let alone let you get naked on the hallway scale so that you have the opportunity to yell for all to hear,



(There's a reason that I set the alarm for two and a half hours before my doctor's appointment!)

As I went back to getting dressed with a sure bounce in my step, I took a mental survey of possible "

Jeans - OUT
Sweats - OUT

And then I found them! The white yoga pants, ('cause the gray ones are dirty), that I can't wear out of the house 'cause, well, they show everything!

No worries though!...

Going to the gynecologist is the only acceptable time to leave the house wearing granny panties with yoga pants!

I slid onto the scale after I fully dressed, ecstatic at only having gained about two pounds - thus able to show I'd lost EIGHT! - and start heading out of the bedroom door...

Just as my foot crossed the threshold to the hallway I froze again!

I looked down at my brand new, pristine white socks with pretty lavender tops and screeched loudly!


With two cats and a dog, stepping across the threshold from my carpeted bedroom into the hallway with my surgical grade new socks was not an option!

As important as the proper underwear is for a woman's health visit, it is much, much more important to have clean, new SOCKS!

After all, the doctor never sees the underwear, he does however get a lovely display of your new white socks, or dingy, dirty ones as might be the case if you don't take measures to properly prepare yourself for this yearly ritual.

He does in fact, see more of your socked feet during the exam than your face after all, and who wants the lasting impression of the man so deeply immersed in your genitalia to be of your poor housekeeping!

So, I always buy new socks for my yearly physical!

I quickly put on a pair of lesser important "house socks" over my "in the doctor's face, new socks" and went running around for the perfect "WEIGH ME, I'M THINNER" shoes...

I slipped on the twenty-year old running sneakers with no shoe laces that I'll be able to quickly slide off my feet while the nurse is reassuring me that taking them off won't make a difference on the scale!

And I was out the door!

I jumped in the car determined not to be late for my date with my gynecologist.

As I rode there I called ahead to confirm my appointment and to see if the doctor was on schedule.

"Ms. Hernandez do you see Dr. John or Dr. Joe?"

"Dr. John." I responded with slight hesitation...

I mean I SHOULD know with certainty the first name of the man who has such intimate relations with me,
more frequently than most because of my medical history, the DR. VA-JAY-JAY SUPER HERO with his trustee nurse side-kick!

"Yes. Dr. John." I repeated, confidently this time.

"We're right on time! See you when you get here!"

As I hung up the phone I found myself thinking about how beautiful it is to have a child follow the footsteps of their parent's work...

Who am I kidding!?

My first REAL reaction upon learning that it was a father/son practice was,

"Hmmm, I wonder how THAT happened!?"

My career dream and path in college was to be a physician and what a wonderful trade to help bring children into the world, but it's not quite the same as showing your child how to throw a football or how to make that perfect souffle...

Most parents have a difficult time of explaining the birds and the bees to their children... I guess that conversation went pretty well in that family!

The two hours of preparation that went into my frequent woman's medical ritual culminated in the satisfaction of being congratulated on my weight loss, the polite handshake and hello from my doctor as we both avoided eye contact, and as I assumed the position and reminisced about all of my morning anxiety, I asked myself,

"Why don't I have a FEMALE GYNECOLOGIST?!"

I stifled a giggle at my personal inquisition when I heard the doctor's trusty nurse sidekick say,

"Dorana, how do you always keep your socks so WHITE!"