Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale at my Etsy Store

Hop on over to my Etsy store and take advantage of 10% off of all items, now through midnight tomorrow night.  Sales are happening!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday Sale at my Etsy Store

Sleep in! Avoid crowds! - Shop Handmade and Local
Tomorrow only I am having a sale for my Facebook, Twitter and Book Blog friends.  If you buy something from my Etsy shop on Black Friday AND live in my local area, I will take 10% off the purchase total and refund your shipping costs when we arrange a delivery for your items.  If you are interested in a special order - certain color or type of fabric - just ask.  Visit my shop -

Or email me at my business address -

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

When your hairdresser recommends a book that made her laugh so hard on vacation that people wondered about her sanity - and then goes the extra mile and brings the book to the salon to loan - you have to read it.  I was unfamiliar with Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess: Like Mother Theresa Only Better).  The comparisons to Tina Fey and David Sedaris are correct - she is a hoot.  The book is purportedly a memoir of her twisted upbringing with parents who make Jeanette Walls' (The Glass Castle) parents look like the safe bet.  A tiny bit of the humor of her stories about her red neck father's hunting may have seemed a bit more believable because I read most of the book as I spend a luxurious night alone while my husband was overseeing the antics of his nephew's bachelor party taking place in an unfinished hunting cabin in Southern Ohio.  I have seen guys like her father, but never had them brought to life in such hilarious detail.  Every chapter - and they have titles like:“Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; and “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking” - is a crazed rant about a single episode of her life and most of them are illustrated with vintage black and white photographs captioned to document the events.  If you want a better introduction, check out the book trailer 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Sell Your Crafts Online by Derrick Sutton

This post is a bit overdue and may border on shame-less self promotion, but if you are following this book blog, then you are probably familiar with my other life as well (  As a retirement gift, I was given this how-to book by a dear friend who knew of my intention to open an Etsy shop.  I have spent a good bit of time this fall sewing and sewing and designing in preparation for the grand opening which took place on October 26th.

If you can't wait until the end of this post - you can hurry on over to  

I have been doing a lot of sewing with oilcloth and chalk cloth.  I'm particularly proud of the reversible chalk cloth table runners I've been making.
Label dishes, dips, drinks - let guests be creative!

I also had a brain storm and came up with these Dear Santa placemats with a chalk cloth slate for Christmas Eve milk-and-cookies notes to Santa or those ever-changing wish lists.

So - shameless self-promotion aside - this book is the best resource for anyone interested in opening an Etsy shop.  There are so many details I would not have thought of - having a separate email address for your shop, creating an appealing shop banner, wrapping and packaging hints.  I keep referencing it and so far, the ideas have been very beneficial.  

Friday, November 09, 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The title of this literary memoir almost scared me away as it seems the ending is clear from the beginning.  Schwalbe has recorded with detailed poignancy the conversations he and his mother, Mary Anne, had about books as they sat in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2007 when she was being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer.  His mother was a remarkable woman, having taken trips to war torn areas, and was dedicated, at the very end of her life, to building a library in Afghanistan.  The beauty of this book for me is in the book discussions.  I wish I were teaching The Kite Runner right now (as I would be right now had I not retired) so I could share the comments about characters and their choices in both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  So many of the texts in this book are texts I am deeply familiar with from teaching AP English, and very they are dear to me as well.  Later in the book, they discuss The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a post-9/11monologues of a young Princeton educated Wall Street employee who returns to Pakistan.  The ambiguity at the end of that novel is richly debated by Schwalbe and his mother.  Of course, this book reinforces my fundamental belief that we read, as human beings, to learn about the otherness that we may never experience first-hand - particularly the otherness of gender, race, birthright and suffering.  My favorite reflection in the book appears early: "Still, one of the things I learned from Mom is this: Reading isn't the opposite of doing; it's the opposite of dying."  Wow!