Taking Stock  December 5, 2014

Sienna being judgemental during my workout yesterday.

Sienna being judgemental during my workout yesterday.

Taking a page from Pip’s book and using this list to do a life snapshot.

Making: a list of errands I need to run today now that a big paycheck came in.
Cooking: monkey bread tomorrow for our brunch group. And one version will be drunken monkey bread (just add liquor!).
Drinking: french vanilla cappucino.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed for book club.
Wanting: sunny, warmer weather.
Looking: out the window at the grey, rainy weather.
Playing: Words with Friends.
Deciding: what to wear today (I’m still in PJs).
Wishing: that I could just curl up and sleep all day like Sienna.
Enjoying: being done with craft shows for the year. That’s some crazy stuff.
Waiting: on packages in the mail.
Liking: Graze Box. Just got a new one the other day.
Wondering: how to tackle certain things on my to-do list.
Loving: that I’m close to 100 sales in the shop!
Pondering: possibly branching out to some new products next year.
Considering: the last few Christmas gifts I need to buy.
Watching: Reckless on Netflix.
Hoping: that weather in Arizona/at the Grand Canyon when we go is nice.
Marvelling: at the level of messy my desk has achieved.
Needing: to clean my office.
Smelling: my cappucino.
Wearing: PJs.
Following: a new podcast, The Cerrone Show.
Noticing: that I still have the headache I woke up with.
Knowing: that today is Friday and I’m relieved.
Thinking: about all of the house-cleany stuff I have to do before brunch tomorrow.
Admiring: pretty things on Etsy.
Sorting: through thoughts and priorities in my head.
Buying: Christmas gifts, a new hard water filter for the shower, dog food.
Getting: excited for Christmas. Ian has apparently had my gift picked out for awhile and already shipped it to his folks’ house in AZ. (We’re flying).
Bookmarking: things for next week’s Tuesday Treasure Trove.
Disliking: how tired winter makes me feel.
Opening: up design files I need to work on today.
Giggling: nope. Not really giggling at anything right now.
Feeling: relieved that my little sister is safely back from her deployment in the Middle East.
 

What’s your day look like so far?


Book Review: Stonehill Downs  December 4, 2014

Stonehill Downs

by Sarah Remy.

Stonehill Downs I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately (thanks, book club) and let me just say that it was so good to get back to my regular fantasy wheelhouse. And this book in particular was a good step back into it. Stonehill Downs is the story of Malachi, the king’s vocent (talks to spirits) and last magus in the kingdom, sent to the remote village of Stonehill Downs to investigate the very weird and bloody murders of a local lord and some Kingsmen. It is also the story of Avani, a foreign weaver, who has settled in Stonehill Downs and is the one to find the bodies. Unfortunately, soon after he arrives to investigate, things escalate, and Malachi and Avani are thrown together for survival. He’s haunted by his dead wife, she has a raven familiar and gets sporadic visions, and together they have to work to solve the mystery of what is happening on the Downs, before whatever-it-is spreads and destroys the kingdom.

I liked this book. It had a good mix of elements: magic, mystery, good characters with layers, a good pace, enjoyable writing. The central mystery of the book is handled well – Remy keeps it interesting enough to hold up as the main plot line, while not making the solution to the puzzle super obvious, and still leaving room for other side things to be going on. That’s a fine balance to walk. The relationship between Malachi and Avani is intriguing; you can see it change and grow through the book. I do wish the author had gone a bit more into the history of the world. I feel like I know the characters, but not that I really know too much about the world, especially in regards to Avani’s original home and certain legends that come up whose significance I feel like I’m missing because we don’t have that history.

However, the author has said this is book #1 of a 2-book series, so I’m excited to see what she has in store for book #2 – it might address some of those points. Overall, definitely a good read, and I will be picking up that second book. :)

I give it 4/5 stars.

Buy From Amazon

Stonehill Downs

I was given a promotional copy of this book by Harper Voyager U.S. for review.


Tuesday Treasure Trove  December 2, 2014

Tuesday Treasure Trove: this week's round-up of read-worthy links.


Things of Note:

First thing’s first: brining the turkey is going to happen EVERY YEAR from now on, because oh my gosh it turned out amazing. So juicy and full of flavor. We used this recipe (just skipped the gravy part), and probably will again next year. Nom. Nom nom nom.

Second, my craft show this past Sunday went… ok. Not great, but I sold more than one thing so it was already better than the last show. Bonus: I also didn’t get sick, woohoo! It did confirm that I’m going to change up my focus next year, and focus on wholesale and maybe some more geek-centric selling venues (Austin Comic Con is the top of the list of possibilities) because these smaller craft shows just haven’t proved worth the time/effort/booth fees. But my shop is steadily creeping towards the 100 sales mark, which is exciting and hopefully a tipping point.

How did your Thanksgiving go? What are you up to this week?
 


December Shop Charity  December 1, 2014

Safe Horizon

In case you missed it at the start of the year, one of the things I’ve decided to do with my shops this year is donate a portion of all sales to charities or causes that I support.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas (and being stuck inside because its too cold to go anywhere), this time of year is all about spending time with family. Sadly, some people do not have loving or safe home environments. The idea of spending a happy holiday with family, or at least not spending it in the hospital from injury, is a foreign idea to some. So this month, the beneficiary from my shop sales is going to be Safe Horizon. They are the nation’s leading victim assistance group. While they help people suffering from all kinds of crime and abuse, helping the victims of domestic abuse and child abuse is their main focus. They help people and families get out of unsafe situations and rebuild their lives. If you have something extra in your holiday budget this year and want to help pass along a safe holiday for someone else, you can support the cause by a direct donation on the Safe Horizon site, or by shopping in either of my shops (screen printing or digital) this month.

At the beginning of this month $20 was donated to the November shop charity. Thank you!


Recipe: No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake  November 28, 2014

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a fall twist on one of my favorite easy desserts. I saw the pumpkin spice cream cheese in the grocery store and decided to do a pumpkin cheesecake instead of a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year. The boy approved. I love this recipe because it is so quick and easy and requires absolutely no baking. Take a gander:

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

ingredients
Ingredients

  • 2 8ox. packages of pumpkin & spice cream cheese*
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Juice from 2 lemons (or two generous squeezes from the packaged lemon juice)
  • 1 ready made graham cracker crust

*This works perfectly well with regular, non-flavored cream cheese, too – in fact, that’s the original recipe. I make it that way, and top with a can of cherry pie filling – equally yummy!

Directions

  1. Leave cream cheese on counter to soften for ~30 minutes.
  2. Mix together cream cheese, milk and lemon juice until well blended. I just do this by hand, no mixer necessary.
  3. Pour into graham cracker crust.
  4. Set in freezer for for a few hours, then enjoy! Store in refrigerator afterwards.

steps

What’s your favorite throw-together easy recipe?


Being Thankful  November 27, 2014

Being Thankful

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those long, sappy, quoting from a greeting card type of posts. I thought about it. I thought about doing a big list of all of the things and people that I’m thankful for. But if you know me at all, you know that’s not my style. Not that I’m not thankful for those things, I’m just not one to gush in public. My style is more straightforward, though just as sincere. So here it is:

Thank you. Whether you are family, friend, blog reader, shop customer, or some combination of the above, thank you. Your support is what helps keep my blog/shop/life/world going. You know who you are, and I hope you know you are appreciated. If not, I will work to remedy that. :)

Wherever you are in the world today, whether that’s here in the US or not, I hope your weekend is full of good food, friends, and family.

Happy Thanksgiving!