Thursday, December 31, 2009

The end of 2009: Thoughts & plans

Wow. I can't believe this is the last day of both this year and this decade.

I know, I'm sure that sentiment is just so terribly original around this time. I still couldn't avoid starting my post with it though.

I don't have any New Year's resolutions as of yet - do you? I go back and forth on whether or not to make them every year. I'm also tempted to make a new decade resolution - you know, set some really big life goals, like finding a way to either balance my creative pursuits with my career ones or make my creative pursuits into my career. I'll finish my PhD in the Spring, if all goes as planned, and I don't want to follow the traditional professor route, but I'm not sure exactly what I want to do instead.

Anyway, just in a reflective mood I guess. Now I feel like I should be stretched out on a couch and you should be sitting with a pen and pad of paper in your han saying things like "so how does that make you feel?"

My plans for tonight include hanging out with friends, playing board games, snacking, and drinking a bit of wine. How about you all?

To make this tie into one of my more traditional topics, I'll throw in another link to my 2010 calendar (the first PurrPrints calendar ever - don't you feel special now? ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ribbons are Essential to a Cat's Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Sketchbook: Fishing for waves

I recommend clicking on it to see it slightly bigger - my blog layout doesn't handle panoramic style images like this too well ;)

I love the visual texture of grocery paper bags. I don't know why. Does this make me a total weirdo or what?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More new designs: Alette and George

These are more of the new designs from my recent creative spurt. I actually have Alette (above) with a few different facial expressions and colorful backgrounds, and her brother George (below) has the same kinds of options (open-eyed or close-eyed, 6 different background colors).

Like last week's piece, this one was done using digital painting techniques. I'm really happy with the textures this can produce. Look at this close-up from George for a better view of the texture.

I liked the close-up of George so much I made it into it's own card and postage stamp in my zazzle store (look under "More PurrPrints designs").

Full prints of Alette and George are up in that same folder on zazzle--but if you'd like something smaller, like the 8x10s or 5x7s or art cards I do in my etsy shop, let me know and I'll create a listing just for you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday sketchbook: Star gazing

I've been in a creative mood recently, so this is one of a few new designs - I'll post the others soon. This one is listed as a 15"x21" print and a 2"x3" pin in my zazzle store (look under "New Designs") but I'm also happy to make it into a listing for a smaller print in my etsy shop or put it on some other product on zazzle if you'd like--just say the word!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feature Friday: TheClayShoppe

So besides my obvious weakness for cats, I also have two less obvious weaknesses for adorable-ness from the animal world: owls and hedgehogs.

Don't ask me why, i don't get it either. But I do. I guess I just fall into some kind of weird indie stereotype, because I see cute owl and hedgehog stuff on etsy regularly, and it makes me whimper with joy.

Yes, I know, the idea of a 30 year old woman whimpering with joy over an embroidered hedgehog or polymer owl is pretty pitiful. Ah well. I'll take the little joys where I can get them.

Anyway, this month's featured EtsyBlogger is this hyperactive duo who have four (yes, four!) shops on etsy - and on one of them, TheClayShoppe, I found this adorable little owl mold. A mold that would allow one to make as many of these cute little owls as desired. I saw this, and a flash of a household strewn with little owls danging from the windows, the ceiling, the walls popped into my head.

And then the expression on my husband's face followed it, and I decided to shut that daydream down. But I still wanted to share this bit of adorable-ness with you all.

They also have a blog with a giveaway going on right now (for the next two days I think) for my fellow giveaway fanatics.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the winners of the Thanks-Giveaway are...

Whew - we had hundreds of entries - thanks so much to everyone who visited all our shops and left your lovely comments.

So now it's time for the fun part - announcing all 16 winners!

TwinStar winner:
Comment 373 - leftygirl said...
On Crocheted Little Things I adore the facial round scrubbers.

edited 12/12 to a new winner when leftygirl didn't respond - new winner: d said... 11/29/09 4:53 PM I love the Crocheted and beaded mini cupcake key chain in pink cotton - Strawberry at the Crocheted Little Things' shop! Thanks :-)

PurrPrints winner:
Comment 239 - Cindy said...
I really liked this print. I love the various circle colors and size.

EllaScottJewels winner:
Comment 222- windycindy said...
The "Something Blue Necklace" from
EllaScottJewel's is gorgeous!
Thanks for the fabulous prize giveaways!

Imgenuity winner:
Comment 344 - Jenny O said...
Purr Prints - Catnip Carolers. Cat Christmas Cards in red, green, and white.

Audrey's Country Crafts winner:
Comment 181 - mogrill said...
I like the Cupcake pin cushion. Thanks for the chance.

Crocheted Little Things winner:
Comment 310 - Angela said...
I also love the Crocheted fingerless gloves in off white and sage green with flower applique from Crocheted Little Things 2

And the 10 winners of advertising spots:

Comment 220 - the monkey's mama said...
I would advertise "Festive Frills" (my twin's etsy shop). I love promoting my sister!!!!
contact via blog profile page with blog sites and email

Comment 193 - Surge said...
my favorite twinstars item is gingerbread ornament knitting pattern

Comment 122 - memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...
I like this: Crocheted ginger bread man Christmas tree ornament from CrochetedLittleThings.

Comment 321 - squidart said...
I would just kill for that advertising spot!
I would use it to promote my Etsy photography business:

Comment 57 - Born to Dance said...
Love this!
And this is beautiful:

Comment 361: Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys said...
I'm a big fan of magnets so I would pick these from Purr Prints' shop:

Comment 201 - Deb K said...
My favorite item from TwinStarGifts' shop is Blessed Are The Peacemakers - Wall Hanging

Comment 364 - Ladytink_534 said...
My favorite item from EllaScottJewel is the Midnight Earrings Black Friday - Cyber Monday Special

Comment 167 - Melanie said...
The Welcome Sign at Audrey'sCountryCrafts is adorable.

Comment 25 - Emily said...
I also like theFloppy Cat Women's Light T on cafepress!

Winners should keep an eye out for their messages from either me or the other shopkeepers so you can claim your prize! Don't hesitate to contact me via the form on my blog here if you run into any troubles.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for all my wonderful blogging friends and fellow kitty lovers - how about you?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday Cats

I've brought my winter kitty cat designs back out of hiding since the holidays are just around the corner.

You can get cards (greeting cards and postcards) with your choice of background color and these designs at my zazzle shop (you can also find magnets, mugs, tees, stickers and other fun stuff with these designs on them there too--and you can change the colors on any of 'em).

My zazzle shop also has the caroling kitties design, "Deck the halls with boughs of catnip"

...or you can get note cards identical to the ones shown here from the card section of my etsy shop.

Great big thanks-giveaway (Ended 11/29)

(Note: This giveaway is now over)

To celebrate EtsyGiveaways reaching 1000 followers (and the soon to be new sleeker and more efficient site redesign - it's going to be so cool!) we're having a great big giveaway of free ads and goodies from the volunteers on EtsyGiveaways--otherwise known as the Thanks-giveaway.

There will be 16 winners (10 of ads, and 1 each for the different shop prizes).

What you can win:
  • One of ten free week-long ads at the soon-to-be-released newly redesigned EtsyGiveaways site (the name will be changing slightly too - but I don't want to give away the surprise). EG currently averages around 200 visitors a day, so these ads will get lots of exposure!
  • A custom made bracelet with the name or other word of your choice woven in from TwinStarGifts
  • A keychain and magnet combo in the kitty designs of your choice from PurrPrints
  • A beautiful set of ornaments from AudreyCountryCrafts
  • A custom crocheted cupcake - you get to pick the colors - from CrochetedLittleThings
  • A ring of your choice from EllaScottJewels
  • A decorative belt buckle from Ingemnuity
How to enter (Note: you can do just one or all of these - but visiting all our wonderful volunteer's hops is definitely encouraged [grin] - just make sure you leave a way to contact you if you win! Also, please leave a separate comment for each entry or else all your comments will only count as one entry in the techie eyes of!):
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from CrochetedLittleThings' shop (or from her other shop, PiccolaDonna)
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from EllaScottJewel's shop
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from AudreyCountryCrafts' shop
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from TwinStarGifts' shop
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from Ingemnuity's shop
  • Leave a comment here about your favorite item from the PurrPrints' etsy shop, zazzle shop, or cafepress shops
  • Visit AudreyCountryCraft's blog and then come back here and leave a comment about something on the blog you liked
  • Leave a comment about what you'd advertise on the new EtsyGiveaways once it goes live next month
  • Blog or Twitter about the giveaway with a link to the giveaway description on EtsyGiveaways and then post a comment with a link to your post/tweet here--a separate comment for each, if you do more than one (new note from 11/24: just found out that facebook's new terms of service prohibit promoting contests on there, so don't do that anymore).
  • Buy anything at any of the shops listed above and leave a comment about what you got here (note--if you win on one of these comments, you'll get more than one prize!).
The giveaway closes at midnight EST on Sunday November 29th. Winners will be chosen by and will be contacted by the shop-keeper who is sending them their prize--or by me if it's for one of the free ad spots. Open worldwide!

Have fun, and happy entering!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feature Friday: Crocheted Little Things

Crocheting is one of my favorite hobbies--I make amigurumi (mostly cats--like the one in this post) and blankets mostly. I've had the good fortune to work with Lu, of CrochetedLittleThings and PiccolaDonna, through EtsyGiveaways though, and I just have to share the adorable-ness that is in her shops with you all.

She's big into cupcake crochet. It's impressive--I'm starting to think the woman can turn darn near anything into a cupcake! Like this bath mitt, this little clutch, or even these earrings. Impressive, right?

She has what she calls more traditional crochet (i.e. not so much with the cupcakes) in her PiccolaDonna shop, such as the gloves shown here
(it's hard to find people making fully fingered gloves on etsy, so I was doubly impressed by these).

Check her shop out--and her blogs, IndieDiscounts (a sister site to EtsyGiveaways that features sales being offered by crafters) and CrochetedLittleThings

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday sketchbook: Cat silhouette and sky

I'm going to try to push myself to do a new sketch or design every week and post them on Sundays. Here's today's--too new to even have a title yet:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'd love some feedback on this PurrPrints Calendar

Hey--I've created a calendar for the first time this year, over in my zazzle store, and I'd love some feedback on it from any of you with a moment to spare for a not-so-random act of kindness :)

Mostly I'm just wondering if you like the cover, the choice of designs (would you have preferred to see different ones included than the ones that are there?), and the order of the designs. You'll see the thumbnail that links to it from the PurrPrints zazzle shop homepage.

If you have any feedback on my zazzle shop in general that's also welcome--I'm trying to establish more stuff over there because they (1) allow customers to customize things like colors, sizes, etc. and I'm all about customization and (2) offer large archival print options for people who want prints larger than what I sell in my etsy shop.

P.S. - Happy Halloween everyone! I'm planning on stealing Jim's costume (from The Office) for my own tonight--how about you all? Anyone else dressing up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Moon Cat

I can't recall if i showed you all this design a while back or not, but I finally have it up in my etsy shop, so here ya go...

Feedback/suggestions/etc., as always, are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday's Trade Tips: Giveaway marketing

As the founder of EtsyGiveaways, I'm (obviously) a big fan of the whole indie giveaway trend. My general take on them was that they were the most enjoyable way to advertise and get helpful feedback at the same time. Most of my giveaways have resulted in an increase in views and a better understanding of what items in my shop were most appealing, and I considered that a success, since I tend to have a pretty long-range view towards advertising and shop improvement.

The giveaway that just ended a few days ago on ModernCat, however, was a demonstration to me of the other potential of a well-placed giveaway: direct and immediate sales. This is the first time that's happened, and I'm very excited about it. I'm even more excited, however, about the fact that the giveaway got 406 individual respondents, the vast majority of whom were unfamiliar with my shop prior to encountering the giveaway. That's a lot of new potential customers being introduced to my work, and all of them are solid members of my target market since they're readers of moderncat.

Over the last year I've read a lot of debate over giveaways and whether they are a good marketing strategy. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all response to that question. If you can't have fun doing a giveaway for the excitement of it, then maybe you shouldn't do them. If you love entering giveaways though (I know I do), then you might consider creating your own a way of keeping the fun alive even if they don't directly result in sales.

That said, if you are doing a giveaway, there are definitely things that help and things that hurt. Because I'm contrary, and in a sassy mood, I'm puttiong together a list of

Things to do to make sure your giveaway fails spectacularly:
  1. Host it on a blog that has almost no readership or has a readership with no interest in what you sell. This is a great way to make sure your giveaway is like that proverbial tree in a forest that falls when no-one is around. Try posting your anti-gun t-shirt on a pro-NRA blog, your expensive and beautifully detailed pottery on a pro-Walmart blog, your "animals suck" poster on a pet lover's blog, and so on.
  2. Provide pictures that are fuzzy, out of focus, or look dirty. This way, no-one will be certain just what they'd win, or if they'd even want to win it.
  3. Give away an item that you don't want. After all, if you hate it, surely everyone else will too.
  4. Keep quiet about your giveaway. Don't post about it on twitter, or in the forums, or on sites like EtsyGiveaways. Don't share it in your newsletter or with your previous customers. Don't mention it in emails. In fact, generally just try to pretend it doesn't exist.
  5. Don't ask people to visit your shop and leave a comment about what they liked and why in order to enter the giveaway. This way, you'll learn nothing about what's most appealing in your shop and you won't get fresh eyes on your work. This is a particularly brilliant strategy if you want to have plenty to complain about later.
  6. Expect your giveaways to generate instant and overwhelming sales every time. This one is particularly important to combine with number five, so that you are sure to have nothing to show for your giveaway if no-one buys anything immediately. If you decide to maintain this expectation, you can increase your frustration by also not thinking of the giveaway as an opportunity to expose new people to your work who may become customers weeks or months down the line.
Alright, I guess that's enough smart-@$$ery for one day. I realize it probably sounds like I'm picking on people, but I'm really not--I was just trying to make the suggestions more entertaining than a traditional list would be. Hope I didn't tick anyone off in the process :)

Oh - one real tip (I couldn't think of how to frame this in a contrary way). Consider giving away a gift certificate to your shop. I'm fond of the $15 gift certificate--it's large enough to get a 5x7 print plus shipping, so that people don't have to spend any money (which is very important--no-one will enter a giveaway if they think it's just to win the equivalent of a discount), but I've had people decide to spend beyond the gift amount, which can't happen as easily if they're just winning a particular item.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Miscellany: Energy Awareness Month

Most people know October is Breast Cancer awareness month. This is a great cause, but since it's one most people are familiar with, I'm going to talk about a less common issue October is also an awareness month for: energy usage.

Now, if we're being totally honest, I find awareness month's kinda silly. I mean really, if it's important enough to be aware of for a month, isn't it worth talking about the whole year? Plus watching big burly football players running around in hot pink for a few weeks is just comical (the NFL is focusing on breast cancer awareness month this year, with some--imho--humorous results).

But as a self-proclaimed eco-nerd, I'll use any excuse to clamber up on my little soap box about environmental issues. Energy usage especially, since it saves so much money to pay attention to it--and I'm as frugal as I am eco-nerdy, so it's a fave combination :)

However, as a teacher I'm also aware lecturing does no good. So instead I figured I'd just talk in circles for a while, and hopefully leave you so confused that you find yourself accidentally buying compact flourescents (CFLs) or cold water laundry detergent the next time you're at the store without even realizing you're doing it ;)

And because I just love commenty goodness I'll leave off my ramblings with a question: what, if anything, do you do to try to keep your energy usage down in your home or office? I'm always looking for new ideas to try, so I'd love to hear yours.

(By the way, that pendant that provides the perfect illustration for this post comes from NoisyBirdStudio's shop and is on sale for 3.95 right now)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

PurrPrints Giveaway: $15 gift certificate

A while back, I sent an email to the author of the blog telling her that if she ever wanted to host a giveaway for my etsy shop I'd be happy to do it. I hadn't heard back from her, so I figured it was a no. Then suddenly my views to my etsy shop spiked, and I couldn't figure out why...until I opened my email and saw that the giveaway post went up yesterday. Woot!

Anyway, wanted to give all of you the chance to enter--she's drawing the name on Oct. the 14th. And you might just enjoy her blog in general too; even the ads have pretty cats in

(p.s. the print shown here is the purplicious version of my Genie Cat, for those of you who haven't seen it before)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Find Friday: Made by Melissa

This month's featured Etsy Blogger is Made by Melissa, and I'm personally fond of this gorgeous recycled silk scarf she has in her etsy shop. Isn't it lovely? She also blogs here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zorro auditions to be my keyboard (plus a new PurrPrints kitty)

Gosh, Mom, you're so lucky to have me to keep you company while you're on the computer.

Don't I make a great keyboard?

Yeah, yeah, so you designed a new cat for PurrPrints. Why should I share the spotlight?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halloween memories (and a Halloween cat)

I have rather unusual Halloween memories because my dad became a big health nut after finding out his cholesterol was really high when I was a kid. He wanted us to be healthy too, so he made a deal with us on Halloween--we could go out and trick or treat like everyone else, but we had to pick out our ten favorite treats and give the rest of the bag of candy to him when we got home--and in exchange we got to go to Toys R Us and pick out a board game or stuffed animal the next day.
Of course, my sister and I were kind of sneaky and we'd stuff our face with as many treats as we could snatch while trick or treating to break the ten treat rule... [chuckle].

What about you - what are your favorite Halloween memories?

(Also, a quick announcement - Dexter the Fat Black Cat is now finally available in my etsy shop. Since he's an all black cat I figured he fit the Halloween vibe, so I picked him to decorate this post :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun find Friday: Designs by Vanessa

Isn't that a gorgeous necklace? It's from this month's featured EtsyBlogger, DesignsbyVanessa. I've been coveting this necklace since I first saw it a while back. She also has a delightful blog (and is the type to comment back when you comment, which I always appreciate).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zorro comes back from the vet

Are we finally home? Oh thank goodness!

Ugh...I'm not feeling so well...What did they give me at that place anyway?

Will you hold me mom? I still can't walk straight...

(Zorro had to have a rotten tooth extracted, poor thing)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's miscellany: Whizzer and his "lightsaber"

I thought I'd post a little video of Whizzer, our African Gray parrot, since he only had a background role in the last video. He likes to wave pens around like he's fighting with them--to me it almost looks like a kid playing at Star Wars, except he's fighting himself. The funniest bit begins around the 40 second mark.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stubborn Snacker

We usually refer to our cat Snacker as a dog. He comes when you call him, begs, does tricks, like being pet like a dog (with those hard side-thwacking whaps, rather than light and smooth, like most cats), and is desperate for human affection while chasing the other cats around like prey. So we thought we'd get one of his favorite and most dog like tricks on camera, one I call meerkat manor because he stands up and balances on his hind legs.

But instead, as soon as the camera went on, he started acting like...well, a cat...generally refusing to follow directions, looking at me like he was perfectly innocent, investigating the camera, and rolling around on the floor. I guess there are some things genetics don't lie about, and refusing to be predictable--especially in front of a camera--is definitely a feline trait. (By the way, my parrot chimes in a couple times in the background calling out Snacker's name.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back on topic: Cute kitties

A friend of mine who's been living in Japan the last few years teaching english sent me a link to a silly little cat video that features two cats and a stuffed animal version of a popular Japanese animated figure, Domo-Kun. If you're in the mood for a bit of kitty fun, you can check it out here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday's miscellany: Anyone else like urban fantasy?

Okay, so a while back I warned I might start hitting more of the "randomness" part of my blog subtitle ("art, cats and randomness") more frequently. This post falls under that category.

I've always been a voracious reader. You'd think, what with my pursuing a Ph.D. in English, that my reading tastes would turn to the uber-literary, right? Nope. While I can certainly appreciate some of the literary classics (I'm a big fan of Dostoevsky, for instance), most of the time I'd rather be curled up with a good fantasy novel. For the last ten months, my particular focus has been urban fantasy, especially anything with werewolves, vampires, and/or plenty of irony (for the fellow ironically minded, I suggest The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar, by the way). Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison are currently my fave authors in this genre.

Anyway, earlier this summer I got the itch to write my own urban fantasy novel. So I did.

I say this like it was that matter of fact. Don't worry, it's an act. I paced, sweated, told myself I was being totally foolish to be writing about vampires when I had a perfectly serious dissertation I was being paid (albeit very poorly) to work on. I also ranted at myself about how unlikely it would be that I'd write anything publishable, find an agent, find readers, yadda yadda yadda. In other words, picture the stereotype of the neurotic writer, add curly hair, an ignored dissertation, a love of cats, a patient husband, and you'd come up with me. But last week, all mental self-inflicted torture aside, I managed to finish the final words of my first draft.


I danced an absurd jig of joy--you know, the one where you're glad it's only your cats watching your rhythm-less hopping and swinging-of-arms? Yeah, that one. Then my writing-instructor self jumped in to remind me that revision is often 9/10ths of writing, and my rhythm-less state faltered even further. (No, I've never been good at letting myself celebrate, in case you were wondering--fits in with that whole neurotic thing.)

Anyway, now I'm alternating my time between coding transcripts for my dissertation, doing PurrPrints things, and looking over my manuscript. I'm also combing through my friends to see if any of them also read urban fantasy--but so far, I haven't found a one. They either stick with the literary stuff, or they don't tend to read fiction at all. Some of them are still being extremely kind enough to read through it and give me feedback anyway--but I'm still hoping to find at least one fellow urban-fantasy reader to give me feedback.

Hence the question in my title--do any of you happen to be big-time urban-fantasy fanatics like me? And, if so, do you perhaps feel like reading a not-yet-published book in that genre and giving me some honest feedback about it? Unfortunately I can't offer any reward beyond a great big thank you (both immediately and, should it get published, in the acknowledgements page), so I completely understand if there are no takers. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Alright, this excessively long off-topic rant is now officially over :)

(p.s. - in a search on for interesting vampire posters, the above image came up--you can find it here if you want to know more about it. It seemed suited to my topic and mood, so I thought I'd share)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why I'm a giveaway kinda gal (or, Thank you, you rock)

I hadn't held a giveaway of my own stuff in a while--long enough to have forgotten that one of the major perks of doing them has nothing at all to do with marketing or sales and everything to do with being a far better (and significantly cheaper!) self-esteem booster than therapy or a bottle of wine.

I just went to check out the comments on the giveaway of my Kitty Love print on the Bluegrass Etsy Team blog (where there are, by the way, giveaways going on every month from different team members) in order to get an idea of what items are worth keeping in my shop and which may not be worth renewing. My practical purpose was quickly drowned by the butterflies that swarmed my insides when I read all the nice things y'all had to say about my art, however.

So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who enjoys my work--half the joy, maybe even more, of making it comes from other people enjoying it, and I just wanted everyone to know that.

Plus, you all may have inspired me to pick up on doing giveaways more often again--like I said, way cheaper than therapy, and I'm a practical person ;)

Monday, August 24, 2009

My fave food, turned into a new fave find

One of the possible topics for EtsyBloggers' blog carnival this month was to talk about your favorite food. Without a doubt, that food for me is sushi. Sushi ruined my budget and my vegetarianism, but I still can't help going back for more. (Especially for the Serendipity Roll at Maido, in case there are any fellow Louisvillians reading this post...mmm, just thinking of it makes me weak in the knees.)

Anyway, knowing it's always nice to have the pretty pictures to complement my posts, I went searching on etsy to find what's going on in the sushi-themed world of handmade super-cool-ness -- and I found this delightful card, from twinravenspress. It may have to come home with me, to pass onto a fellow-sushi-lover friend with whom I share an inside joke about this particular catch phrase.

Anyone else have any favorite sushi-inspired goodness to share? I found a lot of interesting things on that theme on etsy, including some unusual ones, like sushi slippers ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two new shops on cafepress

Talking about procrastination yesterday prompted me to get my you-know-what in gear and get up two more shops on CafePress--one for Syd and the Blueberry Tree and one for Ocean Cat. There's over a hundred items in each shop--everything from tees to wall clocks (or, as you can see from the pics, journals to notecards). My true love remains the handmade community, but with everything else I do I just don't have time to handmake everything, so I've found CafePress to be a good compromise.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coming Soon (or, Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow?)

Me, a fan of procrastination? Let me get back to you on that...

So a while back, the talented Sharon of HaberHeartwork contacted me about putting some of my designs on her awesome glass pendants. Since I used to make necklaces like this but stopped (I can't handle the smell of even the mildest of glues or sealants), I was delighted at the opportunity to partner up with her.

Of course, me being who I am, that delight transformed into sitting on my hands about the whole thing for a month. Finally today I sent her the necessary images.

If Sharon were like me, that would probably mean it would be another three months before anything actually got made. She doesn't strike me as that type, however, so hopefully sometime soon you'll see lovely necklaces like the one pictured here with my Kitty Love design on them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Multi-item giveaway on EtsyBloggers

Hey--for those of you who don't know already, there is a big giveaway going on at this week--tons of cool stuff to win from a lot of etsy shops I really like.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fun-find Friday: Star-shaped Scrapbook

This month's featured EtsyBlogger is Memoriesforlifesb's, and I found this 3-d scrapbook in her etsy shop to be especially cute, so I thought I'd share. It seems like the perfect way to display those holiday-related photos that are so much fun to look at over the winter but that seem kind of out of place laying around in the summertime, right?

If you're looking for a new active blog to visit, or to pick up scrapbooking ideas, you might want to check out her blog too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Kitty Love Giveaway is now open

The giveaway for a 5x5" signed print of my most popular peice, Kitty Love, is now up and running at the Bluegrass Etsy Street Team blog here. You can enter through August 31st.

If you're a fan of handmade giveaways generally, you might also enjoy my other blog, Etsy Giveaways--though etsy is in the name, it posts giveaways from anywhere in the handmade community, usually between 15-20 new ones a day.

Anybody else have some cool giveaways going on this month?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun-find Friday: Beat the heat with batik

One of this month's EtsyBlogger's carnivals is about picking a shop on etsy that we think has especially "hot" items for summer. I was already planning to write about one of my new fave clothing shops on etsy, SolunaCR, and since this shop fits the carnival theme perfectly it bumped me off my procrastinatory tendencies so I could get in on the carnival deadline :)

Anyway, I ordered a pair of pants from SolunaCR earlier this summer and I'm absolutely in love with them. They're light, comfy, and fit me perfectly, thanks to Juan (the man behind SolunaCR) working with me to make a pair that fit my measurements. His English isn't perfect (he's based out of Costa Rica so it's not his native language), but his customer service is impeccable. In fact, I've just ordered two more pairs of pants from him since I liked this first pair so much.

All his stuff is batiked by hand, and most, if not all, is handsewn too. Highly recommended if you're looking for some last-minute additions to your summer wardrobe--or some early additions for next summer :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Weds.: Zorro squared

Monday, July 27, 2009

I think I've finally recovered...

So, as expected, my sister's bachelorette party got a little crazy. Unfortunately for me, that included running-down-an-alley-while-slightly-intoxicated-crazy, which resulted in gravel embedded elbows, a knee that still looks more like a pear than a human joint, and a sprained neck (I didn't even know it was possible to sprain necks, so I guess it counts as a learning experience).

More amusing was the fellow-word-nerd I met at the booty-music-and-frat-boys dance club my sister and her friends decided was in order Saturday night. My favorite quote from my conversation with this gentleman was "yeah, I know I'm not likely to meet anyone I can really talk with at a club like this, but there are just so many honeys here."

Yes, that's right, a nerdy playwright from DePauw used the term "honeys." I think I would have fallen off my stool laughing if I hadn't 1) been trying to look sympathetic and 2) been too injured to move enough to fall anyway.

Now that you're all terribly sad at having missed out on that kinda fun (I know, I'm just so terribly cruel), I'll attempt to perk you up. In August I'll be having a giveaway over on my local team's blog of a 5x5 print of Kitty Love. I'll include details, links, etc. once it's actually up and running, but I wanted to give you all a heads-up now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun Find Friday: Miesmama's fern clutch

Miesmama is this month's featured EtsyBlogger, and she also happens to be the maker of an adorable clutch I spotted a while back and fell in love with. This is it here--cute, right?

She also has a really lovely blog filled with great pictures of handmade stuff and other fun things.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

[WW] This is the girl I'll be spending the next few days with...

...and she's my sister, and it will be for her weekend-long bacherlorette party. As you might guess from the pic, I'm sure it will turn out to be story-ful. (Okay, so it was an almost wordless weds.--what can I say, it's hard for word nerds to shut up completely )

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun-find Friday: When in rain, do as the rain does?

Due to some absolutely icky family drama that I will not drown anyone with here, I've been feeling fairly down the last few months. I'm not usually a big "retail therapy" kinda gal, but when I (re)discovered this necklace recently, I decided it was the perfect way to remind myself that if you're having a gray day you might as well flaunt it--or be pretty about it--or, I dunno, at least support handmade while indulging in your retail therapy? Anyway, I splurged, and got myself this lovely piece. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm planning on slapping it on the first chance I get, and wearing it to every ridiculous drama-laden family outing for the next year. If nothing else, it will give my fingers something to fidget with when I'm feeling the overwhelming urge to slap someone for being horrid :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A random tag seems in keeping with my mood these days...

A few minutes ago I discovered I was tagged by The Pink Crab; since I'm newly recommited to eclectic blogging I figured I'd go for it--only I'm not going to tag 10 people because I don't want anyone to feel obligated who doesn't like this kind of thing. So, if you'd like to participate, just leave the blog name and url in a comment and I'll edit this post to add your blog for others to visit :)

Anyway, the tag is just to list ten random things about yourself, so here we go:

1) I have a food intolerance to wheat and any kind of dairy product, and the only meat I eat is seafood, so going out to eat with me is always, shall we say, "interesting" (thank god for asian food or I'd never be able to eat out).

2) Every time people find out I have 4 cats and 1 parrot they ask if the parrot is afraid of the cats--and are always surprised to find it's actually the other way around (Whizzer, the parrot, has bit all the cat's tails at least once, so they tend to leave him alone).

3) My undergrad is in the Humanities, my MA is in Literature, and I'm currently working on a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition--but I may not get a job that relies on any of these when I'm finished.

4) Yes, I teach writing. No, I'm not a grammar nazi. Go ahead and end sentences with prepositions or split infinitives all you want around me :)

5) Despite my lit degree, you're more likely to find me reading urban fantasy than literary classics (I'm actually working on writing one of my own).

6) I was deathly allergic to cats (and almost every other animal and environmental allergen) as a child. I almost died 3 times before the age of 5 because of my allergies.

7) I'm both a fan and practicioner of holistic medicine--massage, acupuncture, Reiki, supplements, name it, I've probably tried it.

8) I first got involved in art when I was about 3, with my grandmother, who was a painter. Then my grandfather (on the other side) taught me to draw (he was an amateur cartoonist). Despite the family influence, no-one in my parents' or my generation (besides me) is really involved in art or crafting.

9) I actually do a lot more crafting and art that isn't cat-related--I just read stuff on etsy (and elsewhere) encouraging people to find a niche market, so I focused on my cat crafts for public consumption. But actually, my favorite piece of my art has no cats in it--it's this abstract black and white nude here. I also crochet, knit, embroider, and sew.

10) My husband is just as eclectic in his interests as I am (he's a teacher, research assistant, writer, photographer, wood-worker, antique-tool-restorer, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting right now), so our house is completely overfull with the byproducts of our various occupations (we don't have a garage, attic, or basement in our current home--but that's my main requirement for wherever we live next).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday sneak-peek (& a few questions): PurrPrints Keychains

The gal on etsy who has turned my designs into magnets in the past was having a big sale last month, so I added a new goodie to my order: keychains. I don't have them up in my shop yet because these pics aren't up to snuff, but I couldn't hold back my excitement at sharding them. They're 1.25" big (the roung part, that is) and just adorable (I know, there I go being modest again. Aren't I the charming one?)

What do you think? Should I sell these, or just give them out as promos? What price would you expect? (Between etsy's base 20 cent fee and PayPal's base 30 cent fee, plus the percentages each take, I'm trying to decide if a low price-point item like this is actually cost-effective to sell or not)

Friday, July 3, 2009

You've all gone and ruined my mascara now

ActuallyWoman Wearing Flowered Bathing Cap and Applying Mascara as Water Showers Around Her, that would be impossible since I never wear the stuff, but if I did there would be the slight possibility of it being ruined by all the incredibly cool comments you all left on my last post. I feel like a twist on a Jack Handy mantra "I'm crafty enough, I'm catsy enough, and gosh darnit, people like (snarky, topic-schizo) me!"

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. Realizing I don't actually have to be completely thematic to keep y'all coming back (okay, so I'm going overkill on the folksiness, but I do live in Kentucky after all) seems to have broken my writer's block and given me a few new ideas to chatter on about.

Consider yourselves forewarned! I'll still keep to cats and crafts more often than most topics, but you may find a bit more about all my other distractions, like reading urban fantasy, being in a PhD program, and having a parrot (poor thing is getting a complex that I only ever talk about my cats). That, or maybe I'll open up different blogs for each of my themes...hmm, no, I don't think I'm there yet...but if I seem like I'm headed in that direction and need to create some other blogs, don't hesitate to let me know :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How can I be at a loss for words when I teach writing?

I feel silly admitting this, but I've been paralyzed by (I'm sure excessive) indecisiveness over what the heck to actually post about these last few months, leading to pitiful posting stats, I know.

Here's my dilemma--it seems like everything I read on building and maintaining a successful blog indicates you should have a theme--and that makes sense, because most people probably return to blogs for a reason, wanting to see more of whatever was there that first got their attention.

The thing is, I feel waaay too scattered to stick with a theme these days, and it's left me wondering whether to post on the stuff I'm really thinking about, which has absolutely nothing to do with cats, crafts, or even (my personal favorite) snarkiness, or whether to try to generate some cat and/or craft themed posts.

As a writing instructor, the biggest thing I tell my students is that they have to write a bridge between their purpose and their audience--but in order to take my own advice, I feel like I need to know a bit more about who my audience is. So...age, weight, height, mother's maiden name, social security number? You don't mind leaving that in public, right? ;)

Ha ha--yes, I know, I'm just so hilarious you can hardly hold your sides in. Actually, what I really want to know is: why are you here (not on the planet, on my blog--though if you can answer the first question, color me impressed!) and what do you like reading? Do you like it when I dig up photos from etsy or artfire to show off fun handmade finds? Do you like it when I post videos or photos of my cats? What about random cat info, like the last post? Or pictures of my cat designs? How about miscellaneous stories from my life (and, with those, do you prefer the funny ones, or is somber stuff interesting too)?

Don't worry about hurting my feelings here--I want the real, nitty gritty stuff. I didn't start this blog to pour out my feelings, after all (I have a honest-to-goodness paper and pen journal for that), but to connect with people. So what I'd really like to know is how best to do that. Lay it on me, full force.

Oh--and if you have any pointers on how you get yourself posting when you get stuck in a rut, I'd welcome those too

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More reasons to love cats...

On the radio today (my favorite local independent radio station, incidentally, - they stream online and have great music for anyone looking) I heard the DJ talking with someone from the local animal shelter about all the ways cats can help improve your health. I'd already heard about how they reduce your risk of heart attacks and stress in general, but I hadn't heard that the vibrational frequency of a cat's purr can apparently help heal and strengthen bones--both theirs and yours. How cool is that?

Of course, when I first heard it on the radio I thought they were saying that a cat's fur can help strengthen your bones, and I thought hurray, now I can finally justify the fur tumbleweeds that seem to collect in the corners on an hourly basis. I was all prepped to rub that one in my neat-freak sister's face. Alas, my fantasies were dashed when I realized they said purr, not fur, but I'm still pretty jazzed about it.

Anyone else know other wonderful science-y things about why cats rock so much?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The big three (uh-)oh

So I've been dreading turning 30, which I just did this past week (June 1st), but a card someone sent me recently made some really good points that flipped me from dreading my 30s to having something to look forward to.

See, I was dreading 30 because I always thought of it as the time by which I should really know what I'm "doing" with my life--i.e. be on a career path that satisfied me. You'd think, given that I'm working on my dissertation, that fear would be baseless...but I guess I'm just difficult ;) Most people who get PhDs in Rhet Comp go on to be tenure-track professors, but I'm no longer very sure that's what I want to do--while also feeling like I'm too far into my program now to quit without that lovely P(iled) h(igher &) D(eeper) in my grubby little ink-stained hand. But once I finish, I'm not decided on what I'll do with it--and hence, dreading turning 30, with all my attendant imagined expectations of needing to be "mature" and "decisive" by then.

Einstein - Tongue

But then one of my uncle's gave me a funny card that said something like "aging is inevitable, but maturity is optional" as the tagline (hurray for optional maturity!). (I included the Einstein pic because it seemed to fit that sentiment perfectly). He also reminded me that, compared to my 20s (during which time both my parents died unexpectedly), my 30s had plenty of room for improvement.

So my new goal is to stop seeing my 30s as a cause for the dreaded side of growing up, and instead as an opportunity: to be as immature as I want (in that fun, dance on the table way, rather than the stupid teenage boy kind of way, that is). On that note, I went to Dave & Buster's to play lots of skee-ball and other ridiculous games on my 30th--and enjoyed myself more than I have in ages.

Has anyone else found stereotypical stiff-upper-lip maturity to be terribly over-rated?