Monday, December 19, 2016

Bookworm Pencil Bags

As many of you know, in addition to writing, I also sew. This past year I've had to step back from costume commissions because my health problems have not allowed me to do big projects. However I have been doing small pieces for my little Etsy store, Whimsical Kitchen.

Up until now, this has mainly been flour sack towels. But last week I was in Hobby Lobby and found the new line of "Fairy Tale" jewelry supplies...

...they had book charms! Jane Austen and Shakespeare! OH MAN. Immediately my creative juices started flowing and I decided I had to develop a line of pencil/project bags to sell in my store!

I wanted them to have a clear window, because I love transparencies on bags! Makes it so much easier to find whatever I'm looking for. However, I also wanted to incorporate embroidery, because I have so much fun doing embroidered designs, and it is sort of a trademark of my little shop. "Pride and Prejudice" was my first one, but it ended up a little too square for a pencil bag, so I made the next ones a bit narrower.

I also decided to do a few zipper pulls with some pretty crystal charms and little inspirational words, to serve the crafty crowd. 

 I mean, look at that awesome design from Urban Threads!

The little leather detail sprung out of an accident - I accidentally melted some plastic on an early prototype bag, and put the leather over it to cover it. It looked so cool, that my husband encouraged me to include it as an official detail in the design!

I couldn't really make the leather strip work for "Emma" though, it just didn't fit with those delicate parasols! So I put some pretty braid in there.

See the awesome vintage metal zipper in there?

Only one Shakespeare bag ready now - I need to buy new embroidery designs to work with the other two plays ("Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing") and I want to make sure I can sell project bags before I invest more money in them.

The design is embroidered on faux leather! I thought it worked well for this theme!

I had a hard time figuring out a good design to pair with "Sense and Sensibility." In the end, I used two!

The interiors of all the bags are finished off with serged seams, so there will be no fraying!

Two other bits of exciting shop news -

#1 - final sale of 2016! Use code 'PROCRASTINATE16' to save 10% off your order through Tuesday. Orders placed before 10:00am on Tuesday should reach continental US locations by Christmas, orders placed by Midnight on Tuesday may reach continental US locations by Christmas.

#2 - Up until now, I've only shipped to the US. Now I am opening up international orders to Canada and Europe to test out how much of a hassle it is to ship internationally via ETSY. If that works well, I'll expand.

Anyhow, that's it! I'm super excited about these bags and can't wait for them to find good homes with fellow bookworms and crafters! $12.00 at Whimsical Kitchen.

Friday, December 16, 2016

"The Professor and the Siren" Update

I love my alpha readers. They are great. So generous with their time and their story appreciation talents.

But, man. They just shook up my plans for 2017. 

"The Professor and the Siren" was 40k words when it was sent off to Alpha readers, and I knew I needed to add about two more chapters. This would be a very long novella, but still, just a novella. Hitting the February 14, 2017 deadline was always a push, but we were still on track for it.

The good news is that the Alpha readers loooooved the draft. 

The bad news is, there were a couple specific critiques that made me realize the only way to truly do the story justice was to push past the 50k mark and send the story into novel-length territory. 

The good news is that y'all are going to get a much deeper, more fleshed out story, and I think it is going to be well worth waiting for. 

The bad news is, it's not coming in February. (I don't have a release date yet, I need to get the second draft done first.)

This also means that "The Professor and the Siren" will officially become book #2 in "The Song of the Fay" even though the story takes place chronologically prior to the events of "The Mermaid and the Unicorn." In the end, I think this will be a good thing because it will ensure that most readers don't even think of picking up this one first (it would spoil "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" almost completely if they did). It'll be a little unorthodox, but I think it should work out from a narrative standpoint.

It's been a difficult decision to make, in large part because I am so excited about the Scotland book ("The Selkie and the Queen") and I'm dying to work on that, but there is some really important stuff I am writing about in "The Professor and the Siren" and it is worth taking the time to do it right. 

"The Professor and the Siren" will probably still be much shorter than "The Mermaid and the Unicorn", which I hope means that you won't be waiting too long for it.

(Hoping to give "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" as a Christmas gift? The Amazon page features a helpful notice on their product pages, indicating if it will arrive before Christmas. "Mermaid" is printed on demand, which means that it should be safe to order up until Wednesday, depending on how weather affects mail routes.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Gifts for Fairy Tale Lovers

Christmas is coming, and the hunt is on to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. I thought that this year I would put together a list of gifts for the fairy tale fan in your life (and maybe inspire your list too!)

(None of these are affiliate links. A few products listed below are sold by my friends or myself, which I clearly state in the product review. Although I of course earn money by selling my own products, I gain nothing from promoting anyone else's, and only do so because I believe they are worth purchasing.)


The Goose Girl by Marguerite de Angeli 
This beautifully illustrated book is a treasure for any fairy tale lover, young or old. The gorgeous illustrations captivated both my sister and I from a young age, inspiring us to a life long devotion for this story. (My sister has our copy. I need to ask for it myself one of these days...)
$3.49 and upAmazon, used, 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
If your fairy tale fan has not yet discovered the Lunar chronicles, it is high time to add this series to their Christmas list! A futuristic retelling of Cinderella, followed up with Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. I have yet to meet a friend who read this series and didn't like it! (my review here)

Enchanted, Inc by Shanna Swendson
For the fairy tale fan who enjoys their magic with some sweet romantic comedy (and adventure!) This is an adult series, but appropriate for most older teens. (See more details at my review here!)

$9.38 - Amazon
$8.99 Amazon

If you are looking for a more straightforwards retelling of a traditional fairy tale, I recommend either "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow" by Jessica Day George (my review), or "ICE" by Sarah Beth Durst (my review). Both books are unique, YA takes on the tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", which I greatly enjoyed and would recommend for any fan of the fairy tales. Check out my reviews for age appropriateness.

$16.00 - Chesterton Press

$18.00 - Chesterton Press
My very favorite Fairy Tale retellings are the Fairy Tale Novels by Regina Doman. Featuring modern day, Catholic heroes and heroines, her tales play out without magic, relying instead on creative contemporary substitutions. The charm of Doman's books lies in her endearing characters, who shine on in your heart long after the books are done. Intelligent, funny, romantic, and sometimes dark, I cannot recommend the books highly enough (indeed, "Waking Rose" remains one of my very favorite novels, and my copy is falling to pieces!) Chesterton Press's website includes a "Picky Parent's Guide" for each of the books, which I recommend reading before purchasing for younger readers.

 Due to being a small press, their prices are higher than you may be used to seeing, but I promise the books are well worth the extra cost! If in doubt, you can always start off with the Kindle versions. OR you can take advantage of Chesterton Press's Christmas sale today, which offers the complete set of all five books for $79.00.

$13.99 - Amazon

 I would be a poor self-promoter indeed if I didn't mention my own fairy-tale inspired novel, "The Mermaid and the Unicorn." It may not be a direct retelling, but it imagines a world in which the fairy tale creatures we know and love truly exist. Don't take my word for it, though - check out what my reviewers have to say over at Amazon! (The book should be appropriate for ages 13 and up, but younger readers might not connect as much with the college aspects of the story - or they might find it really cool!)

$9.19 - Amazon

$9.57 - Amazon

And for the fairy tale lover who also loves to color, you can't beat the adult coloring books by Joanna Basford! And don't forget the author recommend markers (which I've personally tested and love!)

Stuff to Wear

Etsy is full of gorgeous fairy tale jewelry. Here are a few of my favorites to inspire your searches!

Cinderella Necklace $18

Beauty and the Beast Key Necklace $12.60

Alice in Wonderland Necklace $12.00

Little Mermaid Necklace $21.00

If you are looking for something more general fantasy and less specific fairy tale, my friend Shealynn has a wide range of beautiful, high quality jewelry pieces.





If your recipient is less of a jewelry person, and more of a t-shirt fan, they might find the delightful Doctor Who/Disney collection by Karen Hallion to be just the present for them! (TeeFury offers 15% off your first order from them)

Kitchen and Table

But of course, many die-hard fairy tale fans already have books and jewelry coming out of their ears. So what else can you give them? 

Mug - $18.50
Beauty and the Beast Wine Glasses - $20
Snow White Mug - $12.74
Coasters - $35

And of course, I also carry a line of Fairy Tale flour sack dishtowels in my Etsy Store ($4.65 - $6.75 each)

...or Make it Yourself!

Are you more of a crafter than a buyer? Here are some fairy tale craft ideas that you can put to good use!

Mermaid blankets are all the rage right now, and I know one of my friends was really excited to receive one from another friend last year! There are tons of patterns out there, for any range of experience. Check out this round up post for free instructions to suit your style!

Or you could make a miniature fairy garden! Using a real flower (Trader Joes has inexpensive miniature rosebushes) or fake, fill up a globe or flowerpot with miniature baskets, stones, moss, fairies, keys, bridges, benches, wishing wells, and whatever else you can find at your local craft store! Pinterest is full of inspirational photos - here are some of my favorites!

$15.99 - JoAnn's

$10.77 - JoAnn's

Or, if you're more of a seamstress, you could whip up a cute apron in a fairy-tale themed fabric! (This idea also works for tote bags and purses!)

And of course, if you're into jewelry making, most craft stores carry a wide range of charms that you can use to add a bit of the fantastical and magical to any bracelet, necklace, or pair of earrings. OR you could glue these same charms to a picture frame or wooden treasure box to create another unique type of gift for the fairy tale fan in your life!

Monday, December 5, 2016

OUAT 6.10 "Wish you were here"

Mid-season finale time! hold on tight folks, cuz we're in for a very spoilerific ride in this review!


First up, let's talk alternative universes. I LOVE alternative universe episodes! It's so fun to see a different twist on characters (and costumes). We've been waiting six seasons to really see what Emma's life would have been like if they'd stayed in the Enchanted Forest and it was SO FUN to see it at long last!

Snow and Charming as old folks was hilarious. Oh man. I feel like I could sense the fun the actors were having the whole time.

Henry as a dashing knight in golden armor was crazy. He's really a young man now! Love that moment when Regina glimpsed him at the knighting ceremony. Adorable. Just too bad the real Henry didn't get to experience it!

Emma "la la la-ing" in the forest and generally being a sheltered flower-princess because she hadn't had to face any hardship ever. I don't know if that's really how she would have turned out, but for the purposes of this being a wish-created bubble universe, it worked (just like we're not going to look too hard at the fact that Neal was still Henry's father, because how did he get there and...yeah. Bubble Universe.)

Rumple's complete self-awareness was great "on behalf of all Rumplestiltskins everywhere..." "I'm off to raze non-existent villages!" Perfection.

To wrap things up on the AU end - ROBIN. Wow. We knew he would be back somehow this season, but I was expecting a flashback. To have him here in the AU, keeping Regina from jumping in the portal... wowza.

The hijinks of the AU contrasted sharply with the realities of the real world. Here, Gold is deathly serious, working to gain Belle's trust to save their son.

And here's where it gets really delicious, folks! Dark Fairy is back and relevant (although we didn't see her, I assume she'll be around for the next half of the season). I definitely thought that it was her behind the dark cloak as soon as we learned she'd kidnapped baby Gideon.

BUT THEN IT GOT BETTER. And I got my other wish! Grown-up Gideon is back! And... good or evil? Not sure. He certainly appears menacing, and is definitely set up to be the person who kills Emma...but... all we have actually seen him do is turn Evil Queen into a snake and cage her up, which is pretty helpful.

Which begs another question - is Gideon here because of the Dark Fairy, OR was the Dark Fairy able to kidnap him in the first place because of David's wish that the Evil Queen get what she deserved (i.e. becoming caged snake).

I don't know, folks. This season may have had the lamest opening, but the mid-season finale was amazing and I can't wait to see what happens next!

P.s. I loved Aladdin's new costume and hope he and Jasmine will be back soon!