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.

Enjoy.



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.

A to Z Book Survey

I'm borrowing this one from Alycia at Habitual Homebody.  Since we all love books, I thought it would be fun.  Feel free to grab it and answer them yourself.

Author you've read the most books from:

Overall this would probably have to be Ann M. Martin, because darn those Baby-Sitters Club books were addictive.  But as an adult, I've probably read the most Sandra Brown novels, although I am behind on her latest few.

Best sequel ever:

No idea.  (I'm starting this off with a bang!)

Currently reading:

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.  I just started it but it's supposed to be really good, a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant business.  I just finished Waiter Rant, based on a blog by the same name, that gives the perspective of a waiter, so I'm interested in checking out what happens in the kitchen.

Drink of choice while reading:

Tea.  Duh.

E-reader or physical book:

Physical book.  While I don't have an e-reader and can't really compare, I don't have an e-reader because I like holding a book.  It's fun to hunt down a book at the library- kind of like going on a search for a good pair of shoes.  I don't commute anywhere and I don't travel, so an e-reader just really isn't necessary to me right now.

Fictional character you would have actually dated in high school:

No clue.  I mean, I've read romance novels with some pretty wonderful chaps but can I cite a specific character that makes me swoon?  Not really.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

The Hunger Games.  Seriously, I didn't think I was going to get past the first chapter.  I think I read it twice, maybe three times.  It was really hard to get into.  Then I couldn't stop reading and devoured the other two in the series as fast as I could get my hands on them.

Hidden gem book:

About A Boy, or anything by Nick Hornby.  He comes out with such great characters.  Ooooo, or anything by Richard Russo.  Same reason.

Important moment in your reading life:

Hiding a flashlight and book under the covers, starting probably around the age of 8.  This marked the beginning of staying up reading until the book was finished, because sometimes it's really hard to stop.

Just finished:

Waiter Rant (see above, very good), Homeward Bound (about the handmade/homemaker movement currently happening, review coming soon), and Not Buying It: My Year Without Spending (very interesting).

Kinds of books you won't read:

Science-ficiton/paranormal/fantasy, historical/historical fiction

Longest book you've read:

??  I'm not one for hugely long books- it's just not what I tend to pick.  The later Harry Potter books were pretty long but the font wasn't that small so can you compare them to long adult books?  My husband read a book on Napoleon that was over 1000 pages long with tiny type.  It took us three library renewals for him to finally finish it.  Now that's a long book.  Me, not so much.  I tend to stick with books in the couple-hundred page arena.  I should probably branch out.

Major book hangover because of:

Any thought-provoking book I've just finished.  The ones where you feel like you're in the book and have a hard time returning to Earth because the story was just that good.  There are too many to just pick one.

Number of bookcases you own:

Five.  Not including shelving.  Though this hasn't stopped us from keeping books everywhere around the house.  (see here)  I want a library.


One book you have read multiple times:

I don't read a ton of books twice, but I will sometimes go back and re-read if I was trying to read fast to get to the end so I could find out what happens.  Then I find I've missed some of the details.

Preferred place to read:

In bed, with the couch and a blanket a close second.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:

It would be hard to pick on quote from one book, and frankly, my memory is not that good.  I read a book and absorb the story but don't generally focus on specific quotes.  But here's one that's suitable, and I'm sure we all know it:

 via

Reading regret:

I don't think I've really regret a book that I've finished.  If it was a lousy book I probably didn't finish it and therefore also forgot about it.  There have been some lousy little novels, like Debbie Macomber books that aren't very involved, but nothing I would see as a huge waste of time.

(edited before publishing: Sex and the City was a terrible book.  Candance Bushnell has some other decent books but I felt like SATC was trash.  The series turned out so much better.)

Series you started and need to finish (all books in series are out):

All caught up on all series I've been reading, though if you have a suggestion I'd love to hear it. 

Three of your all-time favorite books:

The Devil Wears Prada (I credit this for getting me back into books after years of not reading much), MWF Seeks BFF (reviewed here), and the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which we use all the time.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

Harry Potter.  I really need to re-read them.  Probably cliche, but as a reader and as a teacher, I think it's just such a fantastically done series.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:

I don't think I've actually gotten that excited for book releases, save for Harry Potter, of course, because I never know when new books are coming out.  I generally pick up the latest "it book" about 6 months later.

Worst bookish habit:

Dogearing the pages.

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

One Day by David Nicholls.  It's on the to-read shelf, though I have no idea what it's about.  Considering I brought two copies of it home from the dump, it must have looked interesting.

Your latest book purchase:

With the dump offering an endless supply of free books, we don't really buy books anymore.  However, I stopped in at the library book sale last spring (I think) and picked up a David Sedaris book that we didn't have- my husband was in the middle of reading them.  I think it was $1.

Zzzzz-snatcher (the last book that kept you up WAY late):

Probably The Hunger Games series.  I think I may have been reading one of those while my husband was away on a business trip.  There's not a whole bunch of really late-night reading going on around here anymore.

While my list is not full of epic authors, or all of those classic books you were supposed to read in high school, I'm proud of being a reader and enjoying books.  I'm currently on a non-fiction kick and feel like I'm gaining tons of information from that.  In fact, it's hard for me to get into a novel right now, though I've got a list lined up.

If you have good book/author suggestions, please leave the names in the comments below.  I've also started a group Good Reads board on Pinterest.  If you'd like an invite, let me know your e-mail or Pinterest name.

Friday Finds.

I hate to say it (ok, no I don't- I like to shop) but I've started Christmas shopping.  Or at least Christmas browsing and earmarking and note-making.  That and we've got several birthdays between now and then as well (Greta is going to be 2!!!).  I thought I'd share a few of the things I've found lately that may have been added to the list.  Or maybe I just want them for me.


This.  This artist will take special handwriting and make a pendant out of it.  Say what!?!?


I love this little porcelain bowl for anything from holding rings to holding food.


For him.  Personalize it with a special date, place, name, you name it.


Huge wall calendar.  This one is good for anyone, but this would look great in an office, yes?


Cold weather is coming for most of us.  How about a nice soap set to keep your skin in shape?

Have a great weekend!

Introvert, Part 2.

By now, most of you know that I have declared myself an introvert, and I'm not totally surprised to see that many of you identify with it, too.  I think a lot of us are great social-media-interactors because we have a hard time being face-to-face with people.  Being on the computer gives us a chance to think about what we're saying and also allows us to edit our thoughts.  And so, because I find infographics to be fun and generally informative and often humorous, I present to you:


Respect the hamster ball.

But really, I just love the way this is laid out to make it really easy to know how to deal with this type of personality.

This second one was actually e-mailed to me as a suggestion based off of my last post about being intoverted, and I just now scrolled to the bottom of my e-mail pile and found it there, forgotten.  It's so good, though, you have to read it.

Quiet: Introverts on the Job

Personally, I think most people would work well in a nice, quiet environment alone without distractions.  Think of how much work you get done when you are by yourself, without distraction.  Maybe a little music playing.  You are more likely to achieve flow, which is so good for you (see: Flow in the Workplace).  I think we introverts are onto something.

Grammar v.5

You know how much I love grammar, and how much it makes me cringe when someone spells something wrong or misuses punctuation, etc.  And so many times when I write these posts, I mention how, now that I've said something to criticize other people, I'm going to have something wrong in my own post.  Murphy's law.  Actually, it's Muphry's Law.  Thanks to Betsy, I've been made aware that this is an actual thing: "Muphry's law is an adage that states that "If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written." The name is a deliberate misspelling of Murphy's law. " (via Wikipedia)  The article goes more into detail and provides a fun read.

Regardless, here are some fun grammar-y things I've collected over the past few weeks:


More for your reading pleasure:

6 Common Punctuation Mistakes that Drive Us Crazy: this misused apostrophe, the ubiquitous exclamation mark, the crazy comma, the misplaced semicolon, the quotation mark, and the blurring of text talk with real writing.

And...


For detailed explanations of each of these (including one Seinfeld video), visit Lifehack.

I'm going to go re-read my post three or four times now, just in case.

Humans of New York

I have bookmarked so many sites over the past few weeks with every intention of sharing them with you and then things just got in the way of me sitting down and actually writing them out.  Fortunately a lot of that has been due me actually getting into my workroom and making myself make new stuff.  Finishing a new project is a great feeling.  Anyway, I decided that I needed to carve out a little bit of time and share some of the great things (at least I think so!) that I've been finding.

First up- Humans of New York.  I don't know if you've heard of this blog or seen the Facebook page- I may be way behind on this- but the project is incredible.  I first caught a post going through my FB feed and liked the page so I can keep up with the new postings.

From the site's about page:

"My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following. With nearly one million collective followers on Facebook and Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City."

So this guy and his team roam the city taking photos of interesting folks, and interview them, and then post a snippet to the site.  The raw human spirit that comes out is just amazing and you really feel for all the people you see.  Recent posts:

 "What are their superpowers?"

"This one can talk any enemy to death. And this one can knock her sister over."

(via

"The first cowboys were black. 
‘Cowboy’ was a derogatory term used to describe slaves that tended to the cows and horses." 

(via)

Honestly, you can just sit there and scroll through all the images and just get completely sucked in.  New York City is such a wide and varied place with so many people crammed in to such a small area, so to get to see all these individuals is really fun.  I hope you'll check it out.