Thursday, December 18, 2008

An issue of great importance to much of the indie crafting community

I just recently became a member of, and yesterday I was made aware of a huge issue concerning legislation on the manufacturing of toys that will really affect the business of many crafters who make items for children. For more info, visit the Handmade Toy Alliance's proposal on, found here.

This may seem like a small thing, but it will have a huge effect on the economy, not to mention the lives of individuals who use their talents to create childrens' products. Get the word out if you can!

Also, check out these and other great kids' items on Etsy.

1. "Buzz" by TandCATE 2. "Christmas Crayons" by monsterbugblankets 3. "Timmy" by giraffina 4. "Pick Your Own Vegis" by gingerblossoms

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crazy Days

So life up here has been a bit nutty lately! The craft shows are now over, so I have a little bit more time to do what I want, but we had an ice storm that began on Thursday. School was closed early that afternoon, and what ensued was not a happy little snow day. My friend Sarah described the typical experience very well on her blog. My birthday was on Friday, which was sort of uneventful as far as birthday things go (no dinner out, or anything like that); but it was still pretty nice. My parents have always heated the house with wood (we only turn the furnace on when we need hot water for dishes or bathing) so we had both a heat source and a way of cooking food there. Other than not playing Rock Band or having lights, the day was pretty much like our normal life. There was a bit of mad scramble to get the food out of the refrigerator and freezer and out into the snow. But by Saturday around noon, we were back on the grid, and all was well.

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that my brother and Tom have not really gotten along all that great since last January after a little scuffle they had. Tom has been wanting to make things up with Cam and let the past be past, but Cam hasn't been all that receptive to Tom's overtures of friendship. However, on Saturday night, we all had a lot of fun together, and the two boys talked FINALLY, and everything is all right now. So I'm pretty darn happy.

House-buying plans are at a standstill these days; I have been given the opportunity to keep living at home, and I think that's going to be a better idea. I think maybe buying a house and having a baby with no money saved behind us might be a stressful amount of responsibility all of a sudden, especially for Tom. Ah, all seems to be right with the world! Now I just need to get a time to take pictures of all the things I've been making with my extra time! :)Link

Monday, December 1, 2008

I have been naughty

and neglected my poor blog! I've been outrageously busy lately; I'm doing craft shows and trying to get the yearbook in order and looking at a house to buy with my sweet husband. . . And some of my time lately has been sucked up by my brother and this plaguing, outrageously fun time-suck.

I promise that soon I will be a good girl and post something more than a passing update! :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

I have a paying gig as a writer!

Well, so it doesn't pay much. But I have signed a contract with Suite101 to be a contributing writer. It's sort of on the idea of, where there are articles on just about anything you could imagine to want to know about. As I said, the pay isn't stellar or anything, but we all have to start somewhere, right? Right. So I'm starting. It will at least be good to get me writing and generating article ideas (I have to write 10 articles every three months), plus I'll have those articles for clips in the event I want to apply for any other writing position. AND it's still a publishing credit. From the articles I've read on there, there is a definite quality standard, and they seem to have some great "celebrity" and feature writers. It's my goal of course, to get to Feature Writer status. I wrote my first article yesterday: 'Suggested Reading for Poets." It's a mini review of three books I've found really helpful in my writing efforts. I got some feedback from my editor about it, and I fixed the things she pointed out; hopefully it'll be live by the end of the day!

I'm working on some new items for the shop-- bigger, different types of things from what I have now. Hoping to have an update over the weekend, provided there's some good photography light! :) I just love Fridays, don't you? Even dark, late-fall-type rainy ones.

Oh, perhaps you noticed-- I actually know how to do an embedded link now! Whoopeeee!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I couldn't wait any longer

I decided just to take some darn pictures today! I just added 10 new items to my shop, where I always offer free shipping in the US! I tried some colored backgrounds using canvases I painted; I think they came out nice. Here is one of my favorite things I added today:

This is the Violet and Forget-Me-Not Collar, with lovely crochet flower, little aqua lucite flower, and tons of seed beads! I can't even tell you how many of those little things are stitched on there! :)

Check out my shop for the other 9 items I've posted today!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

The weather in this neck of the woods has been absolutely abysmal for photography of new items! I want to do this big shop update, but wouldn't you know that every day has been ugly and gray for the past couple. I just hate using a flash; the colors seem to get so distorted. So I'll just wait for half-way decent day.

Meanwhile, I have actually done some writing, and other than working constantly on the yearbook as well, I have been re-reading some old favorites.

The first one, which I've read SO MANY times, is Cintra Wilson's Colors Insulting to Nature. It is one of very few books that can make me truly laugh out loud. I think I can safely say this is my favorite book ever. It chronicles the life of Liza Normal, a girl born in the 70s and raised on the mega-glitz fairy tales of television and movies who, understandably, has a hard time reconciling these fantasies and her un-fabulous life. The novel follows her from birth to her late 20s-- through all the embarrassments of high school, the earnest and drug-addled questioning of self, and tons of other events of humor and sadness. The writing is just stellar; Cintra Wilson is a savagely hilarious critic of pop culture and how it can screw us up if we believe in its sparkly technicolor facade. Considering that she is a playwright and screenwriter, I can't believe this book isn't a movie. I would love to see this on the screen. It should absolutely not get into the hands of a big studio-- a smaller indie company would have to do it. I also can't think of an actress that would do this part justice.

The second one is Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. I was in seventh grade the first time I ever read anything by Joyce Carol Oates; it was a short story called "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" I was haunted by it-- I read the photocopied, stapled-corner pages of it over and over. I had just never read anything so dark and mysterious before. It left me hanging in a way no other writing ever had. At the story's close, you just can't say with certainty what will happen and if it's bad or good. That kind of ending is not something you find in writing geared toward young people; it's actually not a kind of writing that receives a lot of attention in the US in general. Last night I was just reading an article by Scott Elliott in an old issue of the AWP magazine, The Writer's Chronicle. He discusses magical realism, which is a genre I love: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Innocent Erendira, almost any of Robert Coover's writing (the collection Pricksongs and Descants is my favorite). I mean, I'm a poet, so I appreciate the fantastic, the stretch of the imagination. But that's not a commonly-favored style in this country. Other cultures, like in South America and Asia, aren't as uncomfortable with a conclusion that actually doesn't conclude much, or with a story line that requires some suspension of disbelief. Just look at French film compared to the majority of US films. Michel Gondry's work is amazing (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep), but I don't think it's as respected or appreciated by the majority of people in this country. They are often movies where "nothing happens" (i.e. no explosions, infidelity, or high-speed chases) and a lot of what does happen is highly questionable in its reality; these films are cerebral. A lot of what we see is on the fine line between the "real" world and the imagination.

Whew! I didn't plan on launching into that, just from talking about Joyce Carol Oates! Anyway, Foxfire is a great novel that delves into a lot of interesting feminist issues, and that's another one that I would never bring in a crate to the used bookstore!

Wild Mind, by Natalie Goldberg, is another of her books on writing; the pieces in it are excellent to give you a little push in the "write" direction. Most are only a page or two, and they can be really helpful for a quick focus-- I read these until I hit on something that helps me feel "ready" to write. While I prefer one of her other books, Writing Down the Bones, (and both get a little heavy on the "I'm a Buddhist, and all these Buddhist tenets apply to writing-- don't forget I'm a Buddhist who studied with a Zen master" patter) this one is still a good one. It gets the job done!

So that's where I am these days: crocheting, cogitating theoretically, and creating a high school yearbook. I hope to have an update to the shop in the next few days. When I do, you'll be the first to know!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Monday

I just had an eventful, tiring weekend! I hate when I feel more tired on Monday than I did on Friday! It all started on Friday afternoon, helping my mother with her junior class fund-raiser. The kids transformed some of the school's hallways to create "Spook Alley." It was actually a fun event, scaring little kids and high schoolers alike, and the kids raised some pretty good money for their class. My day on Friday starting with waking at 6 AM, going to work at the high school, making cotton candy for 2 hours after school, then beginning the hallway set-up, doing makeup for the ghouls, goblins, and zombies, doing my own makeup, maintaining order in the halls, and leading tour groups through. Then we had to tear down the event at 11 PM, pack cars, and eat cotton candy. Well, I had to. . . So I didn't get to bed until 3 AM. It was a LONG day.

Saturday Tom and I had another stay at the York Harbor Inn, courtesy of my parents. They even told us to charge dinner and brunch to the room! It was wonderful. The L.L. Bean room, where we stayed, has a deck that faces the ocean-- it's right over the dining room, on the front of the building. Tom liked how rustic the decor was; it even smelled like a camp!

The innkeeper Paul was just wonderful-- in fact, everyone was so friendly and showed us such hospitality! Dinner was amazing. I had the most delicious Filet Mignon with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes! Breakfast was delicious too. The French Toast was made of French bread, and it was so wonderfully seasoned, with powdered sugar. And the bacon! Oh, yum. I wish I could eat there all the time! I would really recommend eating at YHI anytime, in the dining room or the pub. Both have great atmosphere, and they offer the same menu, so it just depends on if you feel like a more casual environment or one that is a little more refined.

Yesterday we were going to go to Haunted Acres in Epping (Tom's boss gave us tickets), but we were just too tired to go there last night! That'll have to be next weekend. I'm really not looking forward to it-- spooky hauntings are not my thing! But Tom wants to go, and I guess that's what being married is all about-- getting the pants scared offa you if that's what your husband likes!

I'm gearing up for another update to my shop-- I think today will be a good day to take photos. I should have at least five new items up by Wednesday! If anyone can give me some pointers on how to get the word out on my shop, I would really appreciate it! I read the Etsy Storque articles, but I would love some help from anyone who has ideas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My New Shop is Populated!

I have spent yesterday and today in a combination of photographing and measuring products, editing photos, writing witty descriptions, and listing my 17 new items in my shop! I am a little giddy over all of this.

Here's just one of the items that went up for sale in my shop today!

Check it out and let me know what you think; of the photos, the descriptions, everything! I needed some feedback!

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Post from Mrs. Rials!

Yes, that's me, as of about 4 o'clock yesterday! I only have a few photos today, but when I get the rest from my aunt's camera, I will put them on my Flickr and post a link. But it was a lovely day. The weather was a bit brisk, but it was still nice out, and actually, I think this season suits me more than summer. But our ceremony was across from the York Harbor Inn, down in a little clearing of trees looking out over the ocean. Tom was so nervous his legs were shaking! Julie did a beautiful job, our readings and vows were beautiful, and it was everything I hoped for!

After the ceremony, we headed over to the York Harbor Inn for a fantastic pub dinner, drinks for everyone else (yummy hot cider for me), and lots of laughs, family, and fun. Tom and my mother had a hopeful, positive conversation, which was huge for me. I wasn't sure up till about Saturday if my mother would even be there, but she ended up helping me with my dress, making my gorgeous bouquet, making my veil, buying delicious chocolates for favors, and buying us a beautiful box of tasty treats to share later. My parents treated all of us for dinner, and they also booked us a room for the night in the Inn. Not only that, when we got to the lovely ocean view room with its big comfy jacuzzi, there was an envelope with my name on it on the nightstand. Inside was a gift certificate for a stay at the Inn next Saturday night, in a different room. Tom and I both had to work this morning, so they wanted us to be able to really enjoy a night and the next day there. I was so overwhelmed by my parents' generosity! And my mother's willingness to allow herself to be close to Tom, and start over anew. It was just a beautiful, perfect day! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Goin' to the Chapel

has been stuck in my head since yesterday. I blame it on Etsy. I was looking at bridal items and there was a shrug with that name, and it just kept over and over in my head. And not even the whole song, which is one thing. Just that stupid chorus. So perhaps now I have plagued you with the curse, and we can all be miserable together.

Yesterday afternoon Tom and I went to Eliot to meet Julie and she was a SWEETIE! So warm and lovely; she hugged us when we got there! I'm so happy that such a nice woman will be performing our wedding for us. We planned the ceremony all out, and I had an outline and everything all ready for her when we got there. When she heard I was a poet, we talked a little about incorporating a poem of my own. . . I'll have to see about that! I think most of my poems just aren't the right tone for a wedding ceremony.

This is the only one that may be deemed even remotely appropriate, and I think that's quite a stretch.

Like X-Rays

You in your physical body never appeared
in the dream—you were a concept hovering
at the edge of everything that happened: something about you
in the strange blue poppies that bloomed in charmingly rapid
photosynthesis, the perfect desk
with cubbyholes and secret drawers—backdrop shot
through with a tinge of everything I have ever wished.

I sewed crow wings
to my shoulder blades. More accurately, asked
you to, with your steady hand, not to mention
the unease I feel at the sight, the needle
gleaming dull
under a layer of pulled skin. I opened
my new wings out in two arches
from my shoulders—they were like mountains
in the dark.

In the morning I was a reckless brightness,
soul alone in whisperland, you a silent
something elsewhere, in a place of packages
and barcodes,
an exact world.

I think of the people around you, filing
by in heavy thick-soled boots, gleaming black
against the dirty thirsty snow. Who are they?
Not the soul-saving brigade. But forget
about them. I’m trying to, writing you
this letter in the sky over this house, so cloud-wispy
and real. You see the shapes
of my close-mouth words? I will try to make a sound
for you.

My poems are just too complicated a lot of the time. Yes, a lot are about love, but it's not just blinding happiness. And a lot of the ones that are like that, it's not completely obvious they're about love. So I think we'll just let Allen Ginsberg and e.e. cummings do their thing with the readings we've chosen. I'll put the full text on here in the next day or so. And then we'll have pictures! I'm actually really happy that this week has just been a mad rush. I'm terrible when anticipating things for a long time. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve. So the less time I have to look forward to something, the happier I am! :) Yay yay yay! Wedding in 2 days!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wedding on the FastTrack!

So Tom and I have decided to stop moving the wedding date around, and stop trying to have a big family thing. We got our marriage license last weekend, and we're getting married this Sunday, if all goes according to plan. The weather looks good for it, so hopefully that's something we can count on!

I found an excellent JP named Julie Draper; we're going to meet with her tomorrow afternoon! I've only invited some sweet friends, and not many of them at that! It looks as though it'll be about 10 guests, all right around our age. No family, as I'm sure you can tell from that. I'm sick of being upset over it, so I've just decided to be happy about who IS going to be there and let everything else just be.

But now I'm in the peculiar position of trying to figure out a wedding ensemble in the next 3 days! Not that I haven't made clothes in less time. . . and anyway, it'll be fun! :) I'll keep you posted on how that goes, and after Sunday, I'll post some pics. Yay for us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Day of my new blog

This is my first post of my new blog.  I've had one on Blogspot that has been sporadically updated, but this is my chance to turn over a new leaf!  I have started a new Etsy shop as well, which as yet has nothing in it, but these two new sites I have commandeered are a sisterhood, so I thought it only made sense to begin anew in the blogosphere.

Since this is technically a new blog, I feel it is only right to introduce myself and explain my intentions.  I am a Southern Maine resident, a fiance, an expectant mother, and a creator.  The first things I remember creating were doll clothes.  But I branched out from that to begin making jewelry around the age of 11.  Polymer clay beads were my big thing for a few years, but then my mother was moving her small business in the jewelry direction, so we soon had Swarovski crystal, sterling silver, and semi-precious beads to work with.   Needless to say, Sculpey clay didn't fare well against those sparkly new competitors. 

I learned to crochet around 16 or 17, and for a while I just did my little double or single crochet scarves.  That got dull quick, and I obtained some books and taught myself lots of prettier stitches.  Over the past summer, I started wet and needle felting, and to further expand my fiber skills, I just taught myself to knit using the Stitch n' Bitch book.  I think Debbie Stoller is about the only person who could've taught me to knit.  Now I have my eye on learning to spin my own yarn, to really complete the fiber madness.  

So that's my crafting history in a nutshell, minus the ATC mania that overtook me from 2006-2007.  I've always loved paper crafts too.  And sewing is something I've done over the whole course of my creative life, both by hand and on my mother's Bernina.

I think that's been enough excitement for today.  I won't post a link to my shop until I get something in it, which will hopefully happen in the next couple days or so!