How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Apparently this quiz from the New York Times (titled How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk) is the new, hot thing making the rounds on the Internet, and so I'm sure I am totally behind on it, but it is amazingly accurate, guessing both the husband and I correctly, so I had to share just in case you missed it.  (originally found on this Hot Air site)

The survey is supposed to be able to predict where you are from by the way you speak.  If you look at the map above, the spot where the darkest red is is supposed to be where I'm from (I've lived in Connecticut my whole life- did I mention that it was accurate?), gathered from 25 questions asking how you pronounce things like "crayon" (for me, "cran"), or what terms you use for things like carbonated beverages and sub sandwiches (for me, soda and grinders).  The questions are funny- because on a few of them I didn't even know what they were talking about, which I suppose helped pin me down.  At the very least, it's entertainment for a few minutes.

If you decide to take it I'd love to hear how it turned out for you- did it nail you down accurately too?

The First Issuu.

If you're new-ish around here you may not have met my friend Pam from Bates Mercantile Co. in New Hampshire.  Pam is an amazing creative who runs her own company, has an Etsy shop, blogs, and is an all-around fun-loving person who loves to promote creativity and handmade.  She's been working so hard on a new endeavor- her own magazine, and thanks to Issuu, she's been able to make her dream come true.  I'm so proud to be a sponsor in her first issue, and I also have a tutorial within its pages.  So fun to see myself in "print".  I hope you'll give The Muse a read, and then maybe stop by and say hi to Pam and tell her what a nice job she did.  And for those interested, you could create your own at Issuu!

A Few Things on Friday.

TGIF!  Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I just realized that I need to get on with wrapping the gifts, along with preparing the house for company.  Since I'm sure you're going in as many different directions as I am, I have just a few quick things to mention:

1. If you're planning on ordering anything from my shop, today is the last day to "guarantee" delivery in time for the holidays using First Class Mail.  After that I strongly suggest upgrading shipping.  I am so thankful for having been kept busy this holiday season (and I recently hit 800 sales!) but I am looking forward to having some time to work on some new projects.  (Read 20 Things to Do When Business Is Slow)

2. If you haven't been by, you can enter to win a $20 credit to Milo and Molly over at Back East Blonde.  You may want to stick around and read some of Nadine's posts, too- her blog is on my must-read list.

3. THIS is the best thing ever. "Layaway Santas" paying off Christmas gifts for people.  Today (December 13) is Walmart's last day for layaway, if anyone's feeling charitable.

4. Before you attend a holiday party, read this.  Save yourself some embarrassment and heartache.  (See, even almost 3 years later it still plagues me.)

Have a great weekend!  Let me know if you have something fun planned!

Handmade Holidays: Etsy for Everyone

I'm over at Little Nostalgia today to share some fabulous handmade finds with you, perfect for some holiday gifting.  There's really something for everyone, including these beauties:

Informal Poll.

The other day I got in these gorgeous organic cotton fabrics and organic cotton thread.  They are GOTS certified- meaning they have the approval of the Global Organic Textile Standard.  The aim of GOTS (from their site) is as follows:

"The aim of the standard is to define world-wide recognised requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Textile processors and manufacturers are enabled to export their organic fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets."

The ctireria:

"The consensus of the International Working Group was that a clear and unambiguous understanding of the content required that the Global Standard itself focuses on compulsory criteria only. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The final products may include, but are not limited to fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products."

My question to you, my readers: Is it counter-intuitive to pair these organic cottons with leather?  As in, if I made something like this:

...does that then go against the whole point of using organic cotton?  Would doing that alienate the group I may be trying to reach by using organics?


Links on Friday: Crafty Business Edition

It's Friday! As you know, the holidays are now fast approaching.  You can't go into a store without seeing ornaments, wrapping paper, and glittered evergreens everywhere.  Blogs are gearing up their gift guides, recipes, and DIY finery.  (I'm not trying to be cynical- I love the season.)  When I started through my bookmarks today to find some things to post, I noticed I had saved up a lot of crafy-biz things, especially prepping for the holidays, so I figured now might be an apropos time to post this tips and websites, plus a handful of silliness as well.  Have a great weekend!

Productivity Tips for the Self-Employed

Etsy Holiday Boot Camp

Shop Talk: Prepping for the Holidays

Create an online store with Shopify

Create a website with Squarespace

Sell locally through Amazon 

9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People


Folksy (for those of you in the UK)

And just for fun:

15 Things to Never Say to a Crafter

16 Unhelpful Life Lessons from Pinterest

8 Celebrities You Never Knew Had Their Own Craft Empire

All the crafty someecards you'll ever need

Change all the images on a webpage to Ryan Gosling

And the original Handmade Ryan Gosling (you know you can look at them all again)


If you have a good crafty resource / source of humor, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Holiday Gift Guide: For Him.

Last year I picked out some finds for holiday gift giving, but I posted them throughout December, which, by then seemed a little late, so I'm starting early!  I roamed Etsy and found some things for the man in your life.  Mine is impossibly hard to buy for and ends up getting a lot of clothes, which he hates to go out and shop for, so that's why I decided to start here. This is a collection with lots of natural elements, bordering on hipster.  (Okay, it's totally hipster, but I love it.)  See something you like?  You can find clickable links here.

Beard Oil TOBACCO Scented Be...

Men's bow tie - ivory ch...

Leather iPhone 5, 5s/5c Case...

Personalized Mens Stationery...

SALE Colorful Brown Wood Sun...

Men's Wedding Band, 4.5m...

Personalized Shaving Mug: Cu...

Beer Can Glasses, Set of Per...

Personalize a Leather Keycha...

Wooden fence hip flask - Coo...

Hand knitted Men Socks. 100%...

Dopp Kit, Gift for Him, Pers...

Simple Brown Canvas Bicycle ...

Macbook Air 11" Light ...

Pale Ale Beer Soap -- Men ...

Vintage leather brown pencil...

Which is your favorite?  What do you buy for the guy in your life?  Is he also hard to shop for? 

Pizza Party: White Pizza with Ricotta and Spinach.

It's time for another blogger food party!  After covering tacos and chili, we're moving on to pizza.  I love pizza recipes because you can pretty much put any myriad of things on top of a crust and it comes out tasting yummy.

Pizza night around here is never that simple, though.  My husband requires some meat on his pizza and the kids will only eat plain cheese.  So that leaves me with this:

We make a lot of pizza, completely from scratch.  The crust is done in the food processor, and I love how it turns out because it's so much less sticky than what you buy at the grocery store.  And since it's made in the food processor, there's no stirring or kneading and takes just a few minutes.  The sauce is also made from scratch because it tastes better than the sweet jarred pizza sauce.  So the kids get red sauce and a cheese blend, my husband in this case got hamburger, bacon, and tomato with red sauce, and I made myself a favorite: white pizza with ricotta and spinach. 

Spinach Ricotta Pizza

Pizza crust*
Olive oil
1 small container part skim ricotta cheese
3 T dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp Emeril's essence seasoning.
Fresh baby spinach
Shredded mozzarella cheese / Italian cheese blend

Roll out the crust to the desired shape, brush with olive oil.  Mix the ricotta cheese with the dried seasonings and spread an even layer on the crust.  Top with the baby spinach and then the shredded cheese.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until top cheese is browned.

*For those who want the crust recipe:

Combine one package active dry yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 2/3 cup warm water.  Wait 10 minutes for yeast to foam.  In a food processor, combine 1 2/3 cup of flour and 1 1/2 tsp of salt.  With the processor running, add the yeast mixture and 2 tsp. olive oil.  Blend until dough forms.


I hope you'll give it a try!  And make sure to check out the other bloggers/food partiers:

Paige from Little Nostalgia
Heidi from Rowhouse14
Marilyn from Pulp Sushi
Meg from 18 Preston
Kelsey from Be Like the Fox

Dog People are Good People.

A few days ago I was talking with Heidi about how it's hard to find a good place to sponsor your shop or blog and know that you are going to get results (aka traffic) to your site.  It's kind of a crap shoot, unless you have gotten a recommendation from a friend who had a good experience, and even then, what worked for them may not work for you.  Anyway, as I got to thinking about the blogs I follow along with most steadily, a theme emerged: people who have dogs and who talk about how much they love their dog and show photos of their dog (not that this is the only thing they write about, of course, but you know they are a dog person).  Is this a coincidence?  Does this mean that people who are devoted to their dog are more consistent, honest, and trustworthy than others?  Are they more open and friendly?  (I searched for a study, but didn't find anything conclusive.)

I don't know the answer to this, but I thought it would be a good excuse to show off some photos of Casey because, I mean, look at that face.

Warm Up.

It's Friday!  It's freezing!  Literally.  It's exactly 32 degrees here as I write this and the grass is frosted.  I know a lot of you have been trying to hold out on putting the heat on.  We've been doing that, too, although we have ours programmed to cycle on if it gets down past 66 during the day and 60 at night.  I actually "turned the heat on" a few weeks ago (in quotes because it didn't actually come on- it's been too warm) just in case we needed it.  It gets cold really quickly upstairs where the kids sleep, and Greta still isn't fantastic about staying under the covers.  Gus is old enough to stay put and cocoon himself in but his sister hasn't quite learned that yet.  Anyway, the past few mornings it's been kicking on, and for the first time in months we hear the radiators clicking and can smell the heat wafting out.  Winter is quickly on its way.  Let's take a look at some nice cuddly stuff to keep us warm.

Chunky mittens are a must.

A chunky cowl is too.

Or an extremely chunky cowl.  This doubles as a capelet, too.  In 9 colors.  I want them all.

Felted slippers for babies and adults alike.

This blanket. This is actually a pattern listing, so I need someone to make me one.  Please?

Of course, there's always hot chocolate....

Feeling warmer already, how about you?


In other news, the shop has gotten an update.  I've been trying to get some new stuff up and did a bunch of listing yesterday.  I've been working on my photos, trying to get them uniform and pretty, and I rearranged the items so it has a better flow to it.  I've got new scarves, tote bags, and ornaments, plus hoop art is making a comeback, with 84 colors to choose from.  I'm hoping to get a few more things photographed and listed this weekend, so I hope you'll check in with me.  I made it up to 86 items (finally) with a goal of somewhere between 100-150 by holiday shopping time.  See something you like?  Use NEW15 for 15% off at checkout for the next few days.

Have a great weekend!

Just Dance.

This reminds me that I should put some music on when I need to clean.

When I shared an apartment with my best friend right after college, we used to do this all the time.  And while it was a dance party for two and not one, that just made it all the more entertaining.  This isn't to say that I didn't have dance parties for one when I lived in an apartment with my boyfriend-now-husband.  I totally did when he was gone out to sea.

General music choice? 80s pop hits.


What do you listen to when you clean/study/work?

Homeward Bound.

A few weeks ago I lucked upon a find at the library: Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar.  I first read about this book through an Etsy Blog post reviewing it and discussing the claims the author makes in the book regarding the handmade and homemaker trend we see all over the place now (here).  Etsy should respond- they pretty much got a whole chapter in the book.  Not only did Etsy write a post, there were tons of comments and there ended up being a second post regarding everyone's reaction to it (here).  This was all I knew of the book at the time, and quite frankly I forgot about it after that, until I saw it sitting on the library shelf, at which point, of course, I had to nab it.

Honestly, I was excited to read it.  I thought it was going to be completely pro women embracing being at home, doing "traditional" women's crafts- cooking, canning, knitting, etc.; really enjoying taking care of the home.  I was looking forward to that, I guess, because that is what I do.  Okay, I don't can or knit (though I'd like to do both) but I stay home and take care of the house and craft and run a handmade business, so I embrace the idea of woman-as-home-based role model.  To an extent this book does indeed cover all those facets.

You will get a history lesson of women's roles through the ages and get a look at feminism and what it has and has not done for women.  You will get a chapter on Etsy and how women at home can make money selling their wares.  You will learn about food culture, homeschooling, vaccinating, homesteading, and societal structure of who is embracing this.  There's definitely a lot to take in and I admit that I really blasted through this book because it was indeed interesting.

However.  For every point Matchar makes embracing the handmade/homemade movement, she shoots it down with an opposing point.  While this is great in a "here's all the facts" unbiased style of writing, it makes for a confusing book.  Are you for it or against it?  Usually when you read a book of this nature, it's trying to make a point in one direction or the other.  But this one is trying to make two points- it's good and it's bad- so I struggled with that.

Also.  Repetitive.  So repetitive.  You will hear quips regarding homemade bread, canning, soap-making, and raising goats in Vermont so many times you will wonder if Matchar ran out of material.  You will hear the same few sources referenced in several chapters.  While I understand that she interviewed several sources who can attest to different topics in the book, you still get the sense that her research was limited.

Despite that, I would definitely give this a read.  Matchar does a good job of speaking with women who have forgone the career path to stay home with their families.  She talks to people trying to get off the grid and be self-sufficient, at least to a degree (and some more extreme).  She has a great discussion on homeschooling and the impact on the rest of the community when children are pulled out of school to stay at home.  It definitely gives you some meat to chew on, especially the last chapter, which is a wrap-up of her thoughts.  This was the one chapter where I was thinking, "She finally took a stand" after whisy-washing through the entire book, even though it's more of a do-what-you-think-is-best mentality.

All in all, I don't think that it has to be a choice and I don't think society needs to worry that women are dropping out of careers to stay home.  The corporate workplace isn't always the most fun environment.  Sometimes you need a break.  This isn't to say that women will never go back to work after their kids get older.  A lot of people do that- my mom is an example.  She went back to work when I was in second grade and worked in a school so we would have a similar schedule.  I plan on doing the same, though I have no idea whether or not I will teach again.  Anyway, like I said before, I like my job right now.  I embrace a lot of the ideals that are talked about in the book- cooking from scratch with whole ingredients, crafting and DIY, gardening and home maintenance, even homeschooling, which I might attempt if I thought I could do a really good job (I'm still not sure about that).  There's nothing wrong with taking on traditional roles and honoring long-standing traditions.  It's not old-fashioned to want to DIY, learn a skill, and save money.  That's just smart thinking.