Saturday, November 28, 2009

Oh, Sweet Relief!

I wrote about 9k words over the last couple of days, and 5k of it was last night, and 4k of it was this morning until early afternoon. I'm so happy to have finished!

I'm also so pleased to have found the book's title, on page 90 as I was writing it: Stepping Stones, Straddling Fences.

Now I'm going to go see a movie with my husband and son, and then we're going to get some dinner out. There's only so much turkey you can eat, you know?

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and I look forward to catching up with you all in the next few days, now that MY NOVEL IS FINISHED!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, and: THE SALE!

As promised, here is the full list of participating shop from the Etsy Bloggers Street Team, organized by shop type (mine is under Vintage):

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H a p p y H o l i d a y s ! ! H a p p y S h o p p i n g ! !
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Accessories
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Visart
http://visart.etsy.com
Holiday sale - 20% off all product orders over $50.00 before shipping (not includes custom orders)
Hand made polymer clay accessories, beads and buttons.

Wild Goose Chase
http://www.WildGooseChase.etsy.com
15% off all items! Refund will be issued through PayPal after payment is received. Enter "Etsy Bloggers Sale" in the message to seller at checkout to receive cash back.
Low priced stocking stuffers including One-Of-A-Kind awesome mirrors.


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Art
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tapestry316
http://www.tapestry316.etsy.com
Huge sale featuring my watercolor paintings, drawings, ACEOs, altered art book pages, and prints! Check out the SALE SECTION in my shop for great buys - some up to half off!


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Bags and Purses
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Tilt creations
http://tiltcreations.etsy.com
FREE Worldwide Shipping. Mention "Etsybloggers" when checking out and shipping costs will be refunded through Paypal after payment is received.
Handmade handbags and accessories


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Bath and Beauty
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Spotted Cow Soaps
http://spottedcowsoaps.etsy.com
20% off all product orders over $50.00 (before shipping & excludes Special Buys Section)
Special Buys throughout the Sale
We offer handcrafted soaps and toiletries all lovingly made with our own hands.

SweetSallysSoaps
http://sweetsallyssoaps.etsy.com
FREE SHIPPING on anything in my shop!
Fine Handcrafted Soaps and Bath Accessories

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Books and Zines
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UberArt
http://uberart.etsy.com
Many items will be discounted in my SALE section of my shop. All other items (excluding custom orders) will be 10% off. Write "etsybloggers" in the comment box at checkout and I will send your refund via PayPal.
Unique journals and guest books. Great for the holidays -- gifts for teacher, secret santa, hostess gifts, or holiday party guest books!


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Children
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Joey & Aleethea
http://joeyandaleethea.etsy.com
20% OFF EVERYTHING!!!
Super cool custom-made Monster Shirts, Monster Jeans, Monster Onesies, Monster Dresses, Ankle Biters Lounge Pants and more awesome goodness!! Joey & Aleethea™ is a super cutesie boutique for baby boys, baby girls and their peeps! Just say "EtsyBloggers" upon checkout, and I'll send your refund via Paypal!

Splendid Little Stars
http://SplendidLittleStars.etsy.com
30% off short sleeve T shirts (children and adults) in the HOLIDAY SALE section of my shop! This includes custom orders for all "traditional style" tie dye short sleeve T shirts. Some surprises may pop up in this section as well! 10% off all silk scarves! Prices already marked down!
Unique hand dyed and hand painted (with dye) clothing for children--T shirts, dresses, baby outfits, knotted hats. Some adult items as well! beautiful silk scarves!


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Crochet
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Beautiful Bridget Designs
http://www.etsy.com/shop/beautifulbridget
FREE Worldwide Shipping PLUS and additional 10% off of orders of $100 or more (10% refund to be given through Paypal at end of transaction).
Indie handmade knit, crochet & fabric scarves, cowls, hats, fingerless gloves, fashion accessories, jewelry, bags & purses.

DipYourToes
http://dipyourtoes.etsy.com
15% OFF Everything In Stock. Refund given through Paypal after payment is received.
Awesomely cute and practical gifts and accessories. Handbags, Hair Accessories, Keyfobs, Laptop/Ipod Sleeves, Spa Items, Mug Cozies, Ornaments..etc!
Dolls and Miniatures


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Everything Else
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Simply Digital Designs
http://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyBannersnAds
10% off EVERYTHING in my shop (refund by paypal)

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Geekery
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AthenaWorkman
Miss Millificent's World
http://www.athenaworkman.etsy.com
15% off all items! Refund will be issued through PayPal after payment is received.
Polymer clay miniature "bakery sweets", discarded dollie charms, 1:12 dollhouse miniatures, photography and associated jewelry.

Lostmitten
http://lostmitten.etsy.com
10% off everything! Just write "etsy bloggers" in comments box at checkout and I will send you a refund back via Paypal for 10% off all handmade goodies!


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Housewares
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Peacoxcreations
http://peacoxcreations.etsy.com
15% off every shop item
Exquisite original design pine needle baskets, each OOAK. Tons of scrubbies perfect for stocking stuffers.


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Jewelry
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A Keepers Jackpot
http://akeepersjackpot.etsy.com
*Handmade Pendant Sale: BOGO! Buy one full priced pendant, get another for HALF OFF!*
See "Handmade Pendants" section
Discount applied to the lesser priced items, you MAY mix and match, you will receive a complimentary ball chain with each pendant unless specified otherwise. Limit to three half off pendants per customer. Your refund will be sent via PayPal after payment is received.

Charitable Creations Jewelry
http://charitablecreations.etsy.com
15% off everything in my shop!!! Refund given after payment received.
Personalized Hand Stamped and Sterling Silver Hand Made Jewelry - 10% donated to charity of your choice!! Gifts for Everyone!

Fabulous Chic Designs
http://www.fabulouschic.etsy.com
Up to 30% off select items- see shop Sale section for great deals.
Stylish handcrafted jewelry!

Faerie Garden Fancies
http://bunnykissd.etsy.com
10% OFF EVERYTHING! Discount already applied...
Magical polymer clay jewelry and figurines, fanciful art, and more!

Jack & Ella Designs
http://jackandella.etsy.com
Handcrafted Jewelry and Custom Designs
ALL TWILIGHT AND TRUE BLOOD MERCHANDISE WILL BE ON SALE - SEE SHOP'S SALE SECTION FOR DISCOUNTED ITEMS

Linda B's Beaded Jewelry
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lindab142
Free shipping to US & Canada - please put EtsyBlog in Notes to Seller and I'll refund your money via PayPal or Convo me prior to payment.

Made By Melissa
http://www.etsy.com/shop/madebymelissa
FREE GIFT with every purchase
Beaded jewelry and crochet toys and accessories

MagdaleneJewels
http://www.etsy.com/shop/magdalenejewels
Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings all made with Swarovski Crystals - 15% off + free shipping during our Holiday Sale. Please convo me if you are interested in any item, so that I can adjust the price and Reserve it for you!

Mama's Magic Studio
http://mamasmagicstudio.etsy.com
Free shipping, free gift wrap for jewelry items (on request), and for orders over $50 buyer chooses a free gift! Mention "Etsybloggers" when checking out and shipping costs will be refunded to Paypal. See shop announcement for more details.
Unique jewelry, handcrafted knitting needles (as seen in Interweave Knits!), baubles, and bird's nest pendants customized for the Mama in your life.

Mystic Wynd
http://etsy.com/shop/mysticwynd
Up to 50% off selected items - see shop sale section for great buys! Pricing will be marked down, so no waiting for a Refund!
Great Jewelry and accessories - something for everyone!
Free standard shipping World wide too!

Punky Jane Jewelry
http://PunkyJane.etsy.com
FREE WORLDWIDE STANDARD SHIPPING on everything in my shop! Use 'EtsyBlogger' in the message to seller box and shipping will be refunded via PayPal.
Handcrafted and personalized jewelry perfect for everyone on your list!

Sparkly Park
http://SparklyPark.etsy.com
20% off all jewelry! Free shipping in USA for all shop orders over $50 (after discount)! Refund given after payment received.
Lovely hand crafted sterling silver and beaded jewelry makes great gifts and stocking stuffers! Paper products, too--cards, tags, die cuts.

storybeader
http://storybeader.etsy.com
15% off all necklaces and sets in the shop, refund sent after payment received.
Ethnic jewelry with a personal haiku!

Sumikoshop
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Sumikoshop
FREE SHIPPING WORLWIDE
on all items in my shop,
Shipping has been adjusted to zero already!
Handmade Jewelry and Accessories !!

SunshineDaydreamz
http://SunshineDaydreamz.etsy.com
Buy one get one of equal or lesser value 50% off! Your savings will be refunded via PayPal, or contact me before checking out for a revised invoice.
One of a kind hand crafted jewelry for men and women, with a California touch. Plus vintage and supplies. Store wide holiday sale!


Sykin's One Stop Twilight Shop
http://sykin.etsy.com
2 FREE 4x6 photos from La Push or Forks, Washington with every purchase!
Twilight inspired jewelry & fanfare

The Grand Design
http://www.etsy.com/shop/cjgrand
10% off all regular price items plus check out the Sale section for 20% off a variety of items.
Steampunk, Healing Stones and other unique handcrafted jewelry by CJGrand.

Tokyo Vogue Designs
http://tokyovogue.etsy.com
15% Off ALL ITEMS (refund by paypal)
Pretty Handmade Resin Items & Genuine Gemstone Jewelry

Tulips Treasure Box
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TulipsTreasureBox
$100 off everything over $300, fast refund through paypal after payment received. No prices have been raised to make this "sale". Beautiful artisan designed and created jewelry, most one-of-a-kind.


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Knitting
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DizzyDragonflies
http://DizzyDragonflies.etsy.com
Hand Dyed Yarns
Free shipping! Refund will be sent via PayPal after payment is received.

foxygknits
http://foxygknits.etsy.com
10% off all items in shop (excluding shipping) including those items that are currently on sale. Refund will be sent via PayPal after payment is received.
Hand knit scarves, shawls and wraps for today's women

Miesmama
http://miesmama.etsy.com
Free Shipping to anywhere in the World!
Felted bags, bowls, garlands and goodies!

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Paper Goods
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CHRISTINA STUDIO DESIGNS
http://chrissywatson.etsy.com
Everything in my shop is 10% off. Just write "etsy blogger" in comments box at checkout and I will send you a refund back via Paypal for 10% off all handmade goodies. PLUS : Order two of any card set and get FREE matching return address labels, Just send me the address you want on them in the convo.

CREATEaTHOUGHT
http://createathought.etsy.com
20% off!
Journals, Rings, Magnets, Things!

Memories for Life Scrapbooks
http://memoriesforlifesb.etsy.com
20% off everything in my S*A*L*E* section...prices will already be marked down...no need to wait for a revised invoice
Memories for Life Scrapbooks...Scrapbooks and More

OUR SCRAPBOOK MEMORIES
http://ourscrapbookmemories.etsy.com
20% off All Paper Piecings-Singles or Sets!
Paper Piecings, Mini Albums, Premade Pages & Cards


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Patterns
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A Vision to Remember
http://avisiontoremember.etsy.com
bogo sale on all patterns Buy 1 Get 1 Free nov 25-30


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Pets
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NanjoDogz
http://nanjodogz.etsy.com
10% off all items in shop excluding shipping. Mention Etsy Bloggers Sale in the Notes to Seller and the refund will be sent after payment is received.
Polymer Clay Dog Collectibles including ornaments, sculpture, beads and more.


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Vintage
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Indulge Your Shelf
http://indulgeyourshelf.etsy.com
25% OFF EVERYTHING EXCEPT BUTTONS! Write "ETSY BLOGGERS SALE" in the Notes to Seller and discount refund will be refunded to your PayPal account.
Fabulous and Funky Vintage and Antique Finds -- Decor, Linens, Artwork


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Weddings
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Patch First Shop
http://patchfirstshop.etsy.com
10% OFF IN EVERY ITEMS + FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING via Registered Airmail
Please mark "EtsyBloggers Holiday Sale" with order comment, discount refund will be turned to your PayPal account.
Bridal Custom Jewelry and Handmade Swarovski Jewelry




The EtsyBloggers are the official Etsy team for those who love to blog about their craft, the creative process, and other Etsians!

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Got a blog?
Love Etsy?
Check us out! http://etsybloggers.com
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☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:*¨¨*:★:*¨¨*:☆:

H a p p y H o l i d a y s ! !

H a p p y S h o p p i n g ! !

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Also: you can search the Etsy site for ETSYHOLIDAYSALE and receive a listing of other, non-Etsy Street Team shops that are offering Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions!

HAVE JUST SO MUCH FUN SHOPPING!

The Day Before Turkey and Pumpkin Pie

It's Wednesday and all I have on my plate, so to speak, for today is to bake two pumpkin pies, clear my crafts off the dining room table so we can eat there tomorrow, and continue writing my novel.

I have ~14k words to go and we're counting down with 5 more days -- yikes! Today, NaNoWriMo winners around the globe are uploading their novels into the work counter and sporting lovely "winner" icon/bars on their profiles. But not me. Not yet.

I'm a little worried.

This morning, I'd received a pep talk email from NaNoWriMo, and I particularly enjoyed it. It's by an author named Robin McKinley, and part of it went like this:

I have always been a write-each-draft-straight-through-and-don’t-look-back storyteller; it’s the way I develop a feel for the pacing, for where the high and low, careening and meditative, places of each story are—and how I discover where and how it's going to end. Consistency and clarity (and spelling) begin to emerge in the second draft; there are a lot of complete re-rewrites and outtakes during the second draft, and probably the most-per-page screams of frustration: the first draft has told me that the story is there but now I have to make it work on the page. The third draft should mainly be giving the story a really good brushing and plaiting its mane and tail—but there are hazards even here (ask anyone who has ever plaited a mane or a tail), nor is it likely to stand quietly for this operation.

It cheered me, because right now my novel is definitely a first draft as she describes, and though I try not to go back and re-read too much when I'm writing in November, when I do it's...kind of scary. It's distracting to begin to wonder and plan for the next step when you're supposed to just be getting it down on paper.

So, this has helped me and, I hope, anyone else who's still needing to come up with, ahem, just under 30% of their novel in the next 5 days.

If my fingers are falling off from noveling and I don't pop in later, I wish you all, dear friends, a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Fab Miss B

This month's Etsy Bloggers Street Team featured blogger is a regular read of mine: Becky Kazana, aka The Fab Miss B. Her Etsy shop can be found here.

I love visiting Becky's blog because it's colorful, in so many ways. In fact, if I were to try to find a word to characterize her blog, shop, and style, the best I could come up with is "fanciful." In the best of ways! Becky recently moved to Hawaii (life's rough) and I have enjoyed her posts from that tropical paradise.

Here are some of my favorite items from her shop:


Mimi, the Chenille French Poodle

Lena, the Burlesque Pipette

I told ya: fanciful! Be sure to stop by and see Becky at her blog!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scrapping the Past

I promised to show some of the layouts I created during my all day scrap a couple of weeks ago. If you're just tuning in, after the death of my parents 10 and 5 years ago, respectively, I inherited all of my family's photos and am scanning them for posterity and also planning to scrapbook many of them.

All of the papers, stamps, inks, etc. are from Close to My Heart. I'm using their That's Amore collection. I love the papers for their vintage look, and their warm and sort of dusty colors.

As you can see, on most pages I have inserted the journaling pieces but haven't begun to write in it, yet. In fact, I'm not sure any of these pages are finished as far as embellishments!

So, here's a photo of my paternal great grandparents when they immigrated with their children to America in the 1900s. My grandmother is the beautiful young woman on the far left:

And here's the only photo I have of my father as a child:

Here's his high school photo, graduation year; in the group photo, he's the guy on the far right, next to the flag, looking pretty pleased with himself. He didn't know yet that he'd be leaving school to join the Navy in WWII.

And here he is as a young man, wooing his first wife, I think:

It's just a beginning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Novel Progress


I just made the mistake of looking at the NaNoWriMo website and I saw that there are only 9 more days and some hours until I have to be at 50,000 words. As of this moment, I'm on track with more than 33,000 words but still means I need to get 17,000 or so in the next 9 days. This makes me feel a bit panicked -- especially with the holiday coming up, and my son being off school all next week...

However, within the last few days, I've become very pleased with the plot and the story overall. I never expected this to happen; rather, I was approaching the month of writing as an exercise of sorts. Imagine my surprise when the novel fleshed itself out and took on depth! I truly think this rough draft is going to amount to something special. This makes me very, very happy.

And those crazy things that writers talk about happening that sound pretty unbelievable? Well, I've had some of that, too. One example: I'm telling the story from the point of view of three people, and I'm switching between them as I move the plot forward. Well, as of a couple of days ago one of my minor characters has decided that her voice needs to be heard in first person, too. I didn't agree and ignored her for a while, but she's persistent. So I'm going to add her viewpoint, and maybe another person, as well. This is always good for the word count, too.

My novel still has no title, though, and usually by now one has surfaced. So I'm on the lookout for that as well.

I'll surely be around in the next 9 days but probably less than usual, so please bear with me until I finish this book!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fab-u-lous


Sweet and saucy Joy from Joy to the Blog has bestowed an award upon me and now I must blog about five of my obsessions! That's not hard; here are five of them, in no particular order:

(1) Vintage Wallpaper

I am completely and utterly besotted with vintage wallpaper, like the kind that Karla Nathan uses in her creations, and sells, too!


(2) Glass Cloches

Like this one, from Fringe Studio. Actually...I'm obsessed with just about anything from Fringe Studio!


(3) Jane Austen books and movie adaptations

I never tire of the books. Also: I've had a lot of sad days lately...and when I'm sad, you can always find me watching a DVD or video of one of my favorite Jane Austen stories. They are like medicine.

(4) Music from the 1980's

Last year for my birthday, my husband had Sirius radio installed in my car; I keep it almost exclusively on the '80's on 8 or 1st Wave stations...although sometimes I will also listen to the Pulse station. I never tire of '80's music.












...sorry, getting a little carried away!

(5) Project Runway

It's the only show on television that I make a point to watch! Did you catch the Season 6 Finale? Season 7 begins in January!

So, those are my obsessions. I'm passing this award along to any of you who wish to take it and take a turn telling me about your OBSESSIONS!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Heads Up: There's a Sale Coming!

I just wanted to give you a heads up that I'm going to be participating in the Etsy Bloggers Street Team sale coming up next week from the day after Thanksgiving through "Cyber Monday," or, November 27 - 30.
I'm marking down everything* in my vintage Etsy shop, Indulge Your Shelf, 25%!

And it's not just me -- there are many participating shops! I'll post a list of where to find these when the list is finalized.

Whee! Get ready for some shopping!

*(... except button packs which are already very inexpensive, starting at $2.25!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Artist Class Autumn Banner

I'm so pleased to have finished my second project in Artist Class: this wonderful Autumn Banner by Sandy Babb,the artist and blogger at Quill Cottage. Here it is hanging in my sunny kitchen bay window:

I loved this project...

you wouldn't believe how many steps it had!

(above - here's the reverse...)


I'm so pleased with the results! Where shall I hang it?


By the way, you may remember Sandy as the generous bestower of this wonderful gift I blogged about!

Friday, November 13, 2009

How Did It Get to Be Friday?

I can't believe this week is almost over! By the time it is, I will have been to the dentist twice, a chiropractor once, and been to a final audition for Wheel of Fortune. I guess that's part of the reason the week flew by...all those extra appointments!

My Wheel of Fortune audition went very well, in that I got as far as one could get and was chosen to stay and go further along with 12 other folks. We played some additional mock games and when it was all said and done they told us we'd know within 2 weeks if we'd made it on the show. Squeal!

The chiropractor thinks he can help my achin' feet within 6-8 visits, so here's hoping!

Here are some more vintage thrift store finds to help you get started on your weekend:

Antique redwork! I am in love with this stuff!


Blue's not so bad either; this will go in my blue, white and yellow bedroom.

I found the prettiest song book...

it makes me wish I could read music!

This yellow floral tablecloth was only $1, and then I found a box of wonderful seam binding in a variety of colors!

Here's a pretty and very delicate (eggshell) Haviland Limoges, France tea cup...

an old transferware plate...

...and a few more odd pieces in Autumn colors! China like this makes me swoon.

I hope you liked looking at all of this as much as I liked showing you. What's on your plate for the weekend?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Crazy Quilt" Christmas Stocking

Here's the finished stocking I was working on:

I think my favorite element is these little snowmen charms that I interspersed with red swirled, clear glass beads.

I also sewed on some tiny Christmas lights!

I backed it with red velvet and lined the inside with red satin. It didn' t go as well as expected, though, when it came time to sew all those layers together. (I really am a novice machine sewer!)

Peace on Earth

Thank you Melissa!

I was so pleased to be the lucky winner of these wonderful gift tags that were handmade by Melissa who writes a blog called The Handwork Chronicles.

She is celebrating the restoration of her lovely letterpress by giving away beautiful cards every week. You must go see!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Writing, and Procrastinating Writing

November is already flying by for me as I work hard each day to do all the usual stuff, prepare for the holidays, and write my novel, too. So far, I'm right on track and if I keep up this pace, I'll be a 30 day novelist!

My story this time has become very emotionally-taxing for me to write; this is so unexpected! It has elements of a family's generational differences, and the changing attitudes about that family's ethnicity across those generations; then, those elements swirl around a poignant coming-of-age experience that is at the center of the story. There have been times over the last 9 days that I've felt like putting the novel aside altogether, because it touches something tender in me and causes such pain. But of course I recognize that stories like that, the ones you write in blood, are the ones most worth telling...so I carry on.

On Saturday I took six hours and went to an all day crop hosted by my Close to Your Heart scrapbooking consultant. Here I am beginning my huge project of scrapping the family photos I've scanned so far. (That's my buddy who came along, too, on the right.)

It will take me years to finish this project. But it's wonderful to have begun! I'll take pictures and show you some of the layouts I did another time.

Then, I spent some time this morning photographing fabulous funky vintage finds for my Etsy shop:

Do you remember when I blogged about that lovely covered glass dish that I used to display a bird's nest? Well, I was so surprised to find this one at the thrift store; I think I might even like it better because of the ornate metal fob on top!

Would you look at this little shabby bunny?

He's worked into this baby blanket which is vintage Pepperell -- I know this will make some little someone (or their mom or grandma) very happy! I love the peachy pinks in it -- they are so '50's!

I didn't need this, but I loved the colors on this scale and it is in such good condition!

I also picked up this grab bag of cake decorations.

I think maybe my favorite thing about them is the label, but these little flags are cool.

I love this little pink elephant that comes with 3 champagne bottles...

And these solemn wedding attendants; the girls seem to be sighing, "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride."

I just got a phone call from that sister of my friend whose mother's house I helped clean out for them; she had offered me a wonderful antique desk that I turned down for lack of space and have regretted ever since. This was a call to say, "Are you sure you don't want it?" What do you think I said this time? ;)

Now, I must go and finish the last 100 pages or so of a book I've been reading; it's overdue but I can't renew it because there's a waiting list! It's going back to the library tomorrow!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Etsy Blogger Blog Carnival!








Welcome to the November 9th edition of the EtsyBloggers
blog carnival!





Heather presents Surviving the Holidays posted at Heather's Custom Sewing.





Sumiko Shop presents is just the beginning ... posted at Sumiko*Handmade Creations*.





Laurie Jackson presents Christmas in My Etsy Shops posted at Indulge Your Shelf.





Two Zany Zebras presents Monster Mania! posted at Two Zany Zebras.





Jannifer Long presents My Dream Show posted at EtsyBloggers Carnival Theme = irony posted at Punky Jane.





Erika presents Examining Sales posted at NICO* Designs.





Melissa Sinisgalli presents A Pat on the Back! posted at Made By Melissa.





storybeader presents Etsybloggers Carnival - November 6, 2009 posted at Stroll Through Storyland.


And Melissa of Rainy Day Art presents Successful Items at Rainy Day Art.

Thank you to the above teammates who participated in this edition.




Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas in My Etsy Shops

NaNoWriMo update: it's Day 5 and I'm on track (and a smidge over) with 8452 words.

I've put a few more Christmas items in my Etsy shop, Twice Shy Restored:

This little snowman trio;

Baby Jesus candy cane ornaments;

and, salt shaker snow scenes.

In answer to the question, "What is your best advice for juggling the holidays, your business, and family commitments", I'd have to say, START EARLY.

Everyone's different. Some people thrive on doing things at the last minute. I'm not one of those people. I am a listmaker. I'm an organizer. Nothing stresses me out more than having to rush to meet a deadline. So, when it comes to my business, I'll start planning for the holidays well ahead of time -- at least by July. By then I know if I'm doing any shows or have any products I'm reproducing in quantity. By August I've bought supplies. By September I'm in production. By the end of October, I'm finished with major preparation and have a plan for implementation. I'm also in the thick of saying "no" to anything extra and setting boundaries with other commitments in my life. That's the only way I know how to do it. That way, the business doesn't impact my family life except for a few set days when I've asked my husband and sometimes even my son to chip in.

How about you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Would Anyone Want to Write a Novel in a Month?

I've had a few people ask me about my participation in National Novel Writing Month, which I wrote a little about here. Officially, the best place to get your questions answered is to read through the tongue-in-cheek FAQs on the official site.

Unofficially, as a five year veteran of NaNoWriMo, I have some thoughts of my own to share with you.

One question I always get is, "Can you really write a whole novel in a month?" The unspoken part of that question is, "And if you can, how good could it possibly be?" Well, here's the thing: the beauty of NaNoWriMo is that it gives every writer, and every wannabe writer, a way to just start writing.

NaNoWriMo is a challenge. When you sign up on the website you are effectively putting a goal in writing -- and everyone knows how important it is to do that, and how much more successful people who write down their goals are than those who don't.

You "win" NaNoWriMo by meeting the goal to write 50,000 words in one 30 day period. If within those 50k words your story has a beginning, middle, and end then it is, indeed, a complete novelette. Is it perfect, and ready for publication? No, it's a first draft.

In order to reach 50,000 in 30 days, you need to write 1667 words a day. That's about 3 typewritten pages. Looked at that way, it's not such a big scary goal, is it? The key is in the doing it for 30 days in a row.

I love Anne LaMott's book on writing, Bird by Bird. In one chapter, she describes an exercise where she started writing about her days in the schoolyard; she described the sights and sounds, and wrote about the games she liked and how it felt to be sprung from class and able to run around at recess. Then, in all that writing, pages and pages of it, she began to write about that kid who used to stand next to the fence and kick it; that boy who was always left standing when choosing teams. When her exercise was all said and done, the best thing about the pages of writing was that last bit about that little boy. But, all the rest wasn't wasted. It took all of that writing, you see, to find the little boy.

That's how I feel about doing NaNoWriMo. During my first year participating in 2002, I thought I had a great story. It was a story I'd wanted to write for years and years. It was based on something that I'd experienced in high school, a tragedy that happened within my circle of friends during one school year. (As an aside, I should mention that often the first story amateur novelists will write is semi-autobiographical -- it's sort of a rite of passage for writers!) Anyway -- I wrote the story and I found out at the end that it wasn't very exciting or interesting, after all. At least, not the way I wrote it in that first draft. It lacked some of the elements that make a story good, and I hadn't yet learned how to inject those in.

So, yes, I'd quickly written a novel, but it wasn't a very good one. But I'd gotten that nagging story out of my head, and "made room" to imagine something different. In that way, it was an invaluable experience.

I also learned that I could really handle the writing life. It was exhilarating, and fun, and satisfying to get the chance to sit down at the computer every day and face a blank page. It was where the rubber meets the road. Some wise writer once said, "Talking about writing isn't writing. Thinking about writing isn't writing. Neither are outlining, researching, or making notes. Only writing is writing." And not everyone can do it.

Something else happened, too: I'd often heard from published authors is that at some point in your writing, your characters might "take over" the plot and you'd begin to write things that weren't your idea -- they came from your characters. I thought those authors were kidding themselves, or me, or else that they were very out of touch with reality, or took themselves way too seriously, or all of the above. I was sure I'd never have an experience like that.

Well, you know what's coming next, don't you? When I was writing that first novel, there was a point where a group of my characters "decided" they wanted to take a road trip to go to a concert. It came out of nowhere, and wasn't part of my plot. I had the distinct sense that it wasn't my idea, it was theirs, and that there was nothing I could do to stop it except to go along for the ride and write it down. I. Am. Not. Kidding. It was the most incredible experience! It was pure creative joy.

During my second year of NaNoWriMo I wrote a story that was completely fiction. It started out being the story of a woman and her mother. But very early into the novel it became obvious that the antagonist, a guy, "wanted" to be the main character. And about a week into the writing, the focus of the novel changed from the woman to the guy, and the story was so improved. Not only that, it was crazy interesting getting to know that male character in depth. Again: pure creative joy!

The other thing that happened as a result of doing NaNoWriMo is that I trained myself to sit and write everyday. That first year I finished my novel early, had nothing left to write, and really missed it! So, I looked around for writing projects and found one in a magazine I received which was having a writing contest. I sat down the next day and wrote a short story for the contest. I finished it literally in about an hour. I edited it, sent it off, and darn if I didn't win! It was published a few months later, and became my first "clipping" for my portfolio.

I never would have entered, much less won, that contest had I not just finished NaNoWriMo. My writing muscles were bulging. I was in "the zone." Here's that story; if you click on the photo it should become big enough for you to read it.


Why would anyone want to write a novel in a month? Maybe I need to write 50,000 words to find the few thousand that really matter. Or, tell one of the stories inside of me and listen for the voice that most needs to be heard. Or, perhaps I just need to get into that "writing zone" and get my writing muscles back into shape.

It's day 3 of NaNoWriMo and so far I'm on track with just over 5k words.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Next Week's Blog Carnival!

Friends, a week from today on Monday I'll be hostessing the Etsy Bloggers Street Team Blog Carnival! That means that I'll be posting links to the blogs of other Team members who have written about one of two topics I suggested:

1) What was your most successful sales event or product, and why do you think it was?
2) Give us your best hints or advice for juggling the holidays, your business, and your family commitments.

If you're interested, you can click on the first little box below to see our archives of previous Blog Carnivals.

The second box below is for Etsy Street Team Bloggers to use to easily submit their links.




Blog Carnival archive - etsybloggers






Blog Carnival submission form - etsybloggers




Happy Monday! Is anyone else feeling that full moon as much as me? Sheesh!