Monday, September 17, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Line ACTIVE!

Good morning Campers!

I am so pleased, happy, and extremely excited to announce that the Breast Cancer Awareness Line is now ACTIVE! That means all the pins you got a sneak peak of last week are now available for purchase. And remember, a portion of that purchase will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, so you can look cute, show support AND give back all for under $5-yes!

For those Campers a bit late to the party-or who just adored certain pins-here’s a recap of the pins (complete with links to the store, to make shopping that much easier!):

Mom Awareness PinHope Awareness PinThe pins which started it all, “Hope Awareness Pin” and “Mom Awareness Pin.” I created them as a way to honor D’s aunt JoAnn, who just won her battle against breast cancer last winter! They had such a great impact on so many people, they inspired the entire line!
Star of David Awareness PinCross Awareness Pin
The “Cross Awareness Pin” and “Star of David Awareness Pin” I made for those who lean on their religion to help them through difficult times. It doesn’t matter which religion you practice or culture you are part of, Breast Cancer can strike anyone at any time!

I made the “Faith Awareness Pin” and the “Fairy Awareness Pin” in honor of my late Uncle David who lost his battle with lung cancer years ago. What helped him (and myself) through his battle was his intense faith in what he called the “Great Spirit of the Land.” I still feel his presence when I visit the Pacific Northwest and a warm breeze floats by unexpectedly. He would have loved the fairy pin-he always had a soft sport for cute things!

The Simple Pins with a clear, simple message in mind-Keep Battling! Many days, battlers wish they could take a day off from treatments and doctor appointments, but they can’t because cancer never takes a personal day. “Simple Awareness Pin” features two silver and one pink rose under a rhinestoned awareness ribbon, while “Butterfly and Pearls Awareness Pin” shows a crystal butterfly and multicolored pearled beads. Both simply beautiful!

Brand new for the line activation, I present “Buttons Awareness Pin” and “Candy Corn Awareness Pin.” Natural wood finish buttons give a cool, crafty vibe to the pin. And with the Candy Corn pin, you can show your love of Halloween and support the fight against Breast Cancer, all in one cute pin!

Fan Favorites: Little Helper Awareness Pins! “Little Helper Bear Awareness Pin” features a happy teddy bear with pink roses and a dangling pink rhinestoned ribbon charm. “Little Helper Mouse Awareness Pin” also has a rhinestoned ribbon charm, and a shy little mouse peeking out from behind a pink rose. Both little guys want to tag along to errands, doctor appointments and treatments! I created them in honor of JoAnn’s four kids, because every battler needs, and deserves, support and help!

Awareness Pins are a great way to show your support of the fight in general, or to honor those in your life battling every day! You can wear them on your fall jacket, fashion hat, bag, seat belts, dog leash…anywhere you can imagine!! New items will continue to be added to this line, so keep an eye out!

Please remember, I am more than willing-ecstatic even!-to create special orders. If the pin you love is sold out, or you want a special pin or wreath to honor those in your life (or just yourself!) simply email me at:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Breast Cancer: Workaholic

Today is one of those days where I simply do not want to do anything! Well, that's not strictly true-I'd be willing to curl up with a good book or snuggle down with Gracie for a nap. Alas, there is always work to be done, people to see, gyms to avoid, etcetera etcetera.

I do not have the motivation cancer does. I would like nothing more than to bunk my responsibilities and commit the day to Anna Karenina. (That's right, bunk!) But cancer never takes a day off. Its like that guy in your office who wins the Perfect Attendance Award year after year-and seems happy about it! In fact, if cancer joined, its "Interests" section would only say 'work.'

Think about this made me realize exactly what it means when they say the fight against cancer never sleeps. I always pictured some Biochemical Army battling cancer in their camo lab coats, complete with chemical grenades, petrie dish parachutes and bunson burner bombs. And while this is sort of true, (yay scientists!), the fight is more personal for millions of people.

Everyday people fight the everyday fight. I am sure cancer battlers have many days where they simply do NOT want to keep fighting. Days they feel they cannot face another appointment or more therapy. Days they want to chuck it all, go back to bed and give up. But they can't, because cancer won't.

So I will complete my daily responsibilities, and I will even go to the gym. because there are millions of people going through tougher times than I can imagine. And they will soldier on. They may complain, but they have a right to-I do not. So here's a simple message to all of you soldiers, you Cancer Battlers-keep fighting!! For this simple message, I present the Simple Awareness Pin and the Butterfly & Pearls Awareness Pin. The design is simple, but the message is deep.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Uncle David

Today’s post is very difficult for me to write, yet I think it is very pertinent to the topic of the week (Breast Cancer Awareness, if you haven’t been paying attention!)

When I was still in middle school, my mother married my step father. Not too terribly long after, his brother, Uncle David, came to live with us because he was “having problems.”

Uncle David was a depressive who liked to stop taking his medication when he was feeling better, which would cause him to slip back into terrible pits of depression that lasted for months. While in these pits, he would sit at the table, muttering to himself, chain smoking.

He wasn’t always a depressive. When he was feeling good, he would play his guitars and sing old rock n’ roll songs. In fact, as teenagers, he and my stepdad formed a band that was mildly popular in Nowheresville, WA in their day. Uncle David loved gardening; he would completely landscape the yard only to rip it up and to do something else. He was always watching either John Wayne or the Three Stooges, chuckling to himself. He was also fond of picking up our shitzu and carrying her for walks around the neighborhood, since she didn’t like to walk herself. (It seems the bratty gene is prevalent in my family’s dogs…)

His depression began when his son died in a tragic accidental suicide at the age of 13. Understandably, that is something which one never truly recovers. But as time went on, he tried, day by day. After a while, he had more good days than bad ones, more music and less muttering.

My favorite memory with Uncle David was when a traveling opera group came to our town, playing Carmen. My music teacher hooked me up with tickets. I was so excited; I love opera but had never seen one live! The four of us got dressed up, went out to dinner and then headed to the local high school for the show. The whole time my Uncle David kept nudging me, sticking his nose comically in the air, saying “Marella, we’ve made it now, we’re off to the OP-era!” It made me giggle all night.

Eventually, Uncle David was doing fantastically-he had held the same job for over a year, bought a little red Ford Ranger and a small house. But he had never stopped chain smoking. My step dad tried to talk him out of cigarettes, but Uncle David joked that he could never quit his “cancer sticks.” As you can figure, he contracted lung cancer. A bad, but short, bout with pneumonia, and he was gone.

Uncle David was part Native American, on his mother’s side, and held a lot of belief in what he called “the Great Spirit of the Land.” He told me he believed that when a person dies they join their ancestors and become one with nature. It was not until years later, upon talking to my mother, that I realized Uncle David did not fight his cancer. He not only let it happen, he actively invited it with his years of chain smoking. When I asked her why, she replied that he had never been truly happy since his son had died, and that he wanted to be with him again.

I know he did not die of breast cancer, but I want to take today to remind everyone that all cancers are they same. And when they claim someone you love, the pain is the same for all those left behind. Even more, though, I want to highlight an important fact: not all cancers are physical-some are of the soul. Just like malignant cells, cancer of the soul can eat away at a person for years until it is no longer strong enough to fight it.

What helped me deal with Uncle David’s death was the same thing that helped him through the darkest parts of his life: his faith. His faith was practically palpable; he did not believe, he knew. He was so sure, it made me sure. The less believing of his family placed a tombstone for him in the ‘family cemetery,’ but I have never been to visit it-that’s not what he wanted. He said, “you can place a stone if you like, but that’s not where I’ll be.” I like to believe that his spirit soars over the Pacific Northwest; whenever a Chinook wind blows up the gorge, in my heart, that’s my Uncle David.

In honor of my Uncle David and his strong faith, I present this breast cancer awareness pin with the word “faith.” Faith in whatever you believe, you simply must have it! I also present for featuration the Fairie Awareness pin, simply because he would have liked it!

I thank you for allowing me to tell the cancer story that touched my life most, and forgiving that it is a bit off this week’s topic. It simply felt right to honor my Uncle David during this week. Thank you again. Now go hug your family members!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breast Cancer Does Not Care!

One thing can be said about all types of cancer-it is very fair and nondiscriminatory. Breast cancer is no different. It doesn’t care if you are black or white, it does not care if its day or night. It does not care if you are poor, it does not care if you are rich. It doesn’t care if you are kind or if you are a complete-well, you get the idea.

It does not care because we are all the same. That’s an amazing thought-no matter where you grew up, what foods you ate and culture you’re a part of, inside we are all share the same biological make up. Cancer can strike any of us equally, and then we will be going through the same struggles as every other cancer battler. The good news is at MarellaDesigns, I don’t care either! Of course, I have my personal belief system. But a large part of that system is respecting other’s systems as well. You can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheistic, whathaveyou-I love you!! And I want to make you smile with my work.
Never is this more true than this week, while I am focusing on breast cancer. Every battler needs support, and it does not matter where this support comes from. A lot of people turn to their religions, so I wanted to create some pins especially for them. One features the Star of David, while the other a wooden cross. But my favorite part is they each have one small, white rose to symbolize hope. Because, you see, it doesn’t matter where you get your hope from, but that you have it! Never give up hope!

These pins will launch on Monday, September 17th! Please remember, I am always willing to create special orders, especially for my readers! You all can email me any time at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Inspiration

I have been incredibly lucky in my life-I have a fantastic family, D is probably the best bf ever (in my opinion, anyways!), Gracie as my ever present helper, and my team won the Super Bowel last year.

There is an old cliche that says when you marry someone, you marry their entire family. The same is true for dating, D’s family has become a part of my family. So when we learned that his aunt, JoAnn, had breast cancer in the spring of 2011, it scared me.

JoAnn is part of the branch of the family that lives in Maine, dubbed the “Maine Cousins” by D (He’s very creative like that!). She has four great kids, a smile that lights up a room and an infectious laugh! While I do not know the full, inside story and I do not wish to post all of her personals here, I would like to share her journey from my point of view.

In the spring of 2011, JoAnn was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her youngest daughter, B, was planning a wedding for the following spring and JoAnn insisted the plans continue as the doctors stated she would be well by Christmas. Her older sister had fought and defeated the same disease in the 1990s, so everyone had hope. It was a long, hard road ahead of her that she may not have completed on her own.

JoAnn and all her kids visited us in Brooklyn last February. (I say ‘kids’ but some of the cousins are older than me! Think somewhere between 22-32.) She was sporting a pixie cut-due to chemo treatments-that looked adorable on her. At dinner, we got to talking about the last year, and she told me how instrumental her children were, each with a role they played. One was the goofy kid, who’d always make her smile. One always had the hopeful outlook. One was the ‘shoulder,’ who’d always listen to her problems. And of course, one was the task sergeant who made JoAnn go to her treatments when she REALLY did not want to. Beyond that was the mother’s motivation-she wanted to watch her kids continue to grow and have kids of their own-and B’s wedding was right around the corner!

JoAnn’s doctors were right-she was in remission by Christmas! She got to dance at B’s wedding, with all of her kids. She told me through tears how she takes these little moments, when everyone is together and happy, and stores them in her heart. When times get tough or she does not feel good, she pulls them out and they make her happy. (She’s going to have many more happy moments in 2013-B is expecting a baby, the first grandbaby for JoAnn and her husband!)

Unfortunately, right before B’s wedding, we learned that JoAnn’s younger sister now must face breast cancer herself. We are all praying for this lovely woman, and sending her all the love and support we can-hopefully, she will have the same courage, tenacity and luck her elder sisters had.

JoAnn’s struggle and bright spirit were the inspiration for my first two Breast Cancer

Awareness pins, and continue to be the inspiration for the entire line and launch. What I really learned from her was how important supporters are in a struggle for life and death. Sometimes, when someone we love is in such a scary situation, we tend to pull away from them for whatever reason: we don’t want to see a parent helpless and sick, we don’t want to get hurt too badly if they die, we just don’t know what to say, what have you. Yes, JoAnn could have given up because it was hard, but her family would not let her. Yes, she could have succumbed, but look at what (and who) she would have missed!

As a sort of tribute to JoAnn’s kids, the Maine Cousins, today’s pins are ‘little helper’ pins, who are there to give just another small push of support! They are full of love and hope, and will be there every step of the way!
Who is your inspiration to keep fighting? Or who will you not let give up?

Please remember that I am more than willing to create special orders, so your fighter can have the perfect little helper with them always! You can email me at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Line Announcement!

Hello Crafters!
Last week, I debuted two Breast Cancer Awareness Pins:
For my first pin, “Hope Awareness Pin,” I wanted to bring even a small smile to those going through the arduous ordeal of breast cancer, to offer something that says “yea, it sucks, but I will get through it!” With the “Mom Awareness Pin,” I wanted to give someone whose mother is going through the battle, or lost their fight, and they want a sweet, simple way to remember and honor her.

I never imagined the response these two little pins would generate. While they are both still available in my shop (as of September 10), it made me realize-breast cancer is a huge deal in the world, and many people could use a little extra strength, or a reminder of hope in their everyday life. So I made a decision-and now I make an announcement-I am going to present a Breast Cancer Awareness line of pins, and a portion of each sale will go to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

This line will launch in my Storenvy store on Monday, September 17th, 2012. But you don’t have to wait until then to see the sweet designs I have created. Everyday I will be offering sneak peaks on my blog and my Facebook page. Additionally, I will be sharing the stories of the strong people in my life who have faced cancer, and I welcome you to share yours. Cancer is something that doesn’t care if you’re a democrat or republican, rich or poor, black, white, Asian, man, woman-it just does not care! We need to come together to find a cure and offer support for those fighting everyday. Please spread the word and join me!!

Remember, I also take special orders on pins, small wreaths (approx 8″ in diameter) and larger wreaths (10″ in diameter) If there is someone special you’d like to honor in a unique way, just email me and I will do my best to make it happen! Please email me at

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Little Helper

It has come to my attention that many women my age, and in my life position, are mothers. Most of my friends, and several family members, have little versions of themselves toddling around, getting everything sticky, and being generally adorable.

Well, I’m not to that point yet (Mom!). But just because I don’t have a pint sized pipsqueak of my own, does not mean I’m completely void of the mothering stuff. You see, I am a proud Puppy Mommy!

Gracie (she doesn't like being photographed!)Four years ago last July, my mother called me to visit, saying she had an early birthday present. I should have been skeptical seeings how my birthday is in October-and I’m relatively sure she knows that-but I have always had an affinity for presents. So I drove home and was instantly ushered into the back yard where a tiny little brown thing was hopping around.

“What is that? You have giant bouncing rats!” I exclaimed.

“Happy Birthday!” My mother said.

I still don’t know why she decided I needed a dog, but that was our beginning. That night, I made a little doggy bed with pillows and blankets galore, turned off the light, got in bed and felt a tiny little wet nose nudging me. ‘Oh no you don’t!’ I thought, putting her back in her own bed. Not two seconds after I was back in bed, there she was snuggled close. And I was hooked. Whether I needed or wanted a dog before that day, I certainly had one then! (And not one night has gone by without her in the bed-D really had to get used to that!)

It took a week to name her. I am a full believer that dogs will let you know what their names are-and she seemed to like the GRR sound. We went through Lady Gertrude, Ginger, and just Grr itself until I hit Gracie. Her little ears perked up and seemed to say, “hey! That’s my name! I’m Gracie!!”

We’ve been together ever since. She’s helped me get through college and grad school. She’s helped mend broken hearts and gotten me through the loss of loved ones. She’s dances in the kitchen with me while I make dinner. She watches movies with me. She’s moved across the country with me. And she helps with MarellaDesigns.

When I pull out my crafting supplies, she hops up in the recliner-a girl’s gotta be comfortable, ya know!-and watches me create. I often ask her opinion, and she’s always supportive, if a bit snobbish. I can’t tell you how many pictures of wreaths I have with her hogging into the picture (little diva!). Her favorite, though, is when I blog or work on my online store because she can snuggle in my lap with the laptop over her, keeping her warm. She wanted a post to introduce herself-she felt she deserved some credit for all of her hard work!

She never fails to make me smile, and keep pushing on day after day. So much unlimited love in a 10lbs bundle! Plus, she’s a killer! Honest, if you lay down, she will lick you to death!! Life could be worse :-)

cough She asks you go check out all of her hard work in the store. I told her it was improper to blatantly ask like that, but she said you wouldn’t mind!

Tell me about your pets! I adore pet stories!!