Holiday Shopping on Etsy

Ahh, the long weekend.

Over the long weekend, I got involved in some “BNR”s on Etsy.  For those who don’t know the wonder of BNRs, here’s a little tutorial:

A ‘curator’ selects a BNR ‘Treasury’ which is a collection of images (listings) from different sellers on Etsy.  The listed sellers are then notified that they are part of a BNR and these sellers should then spread the word in various forums, blogs, on their Facebook page, etc.  BNR stands for “Buy and Replace” which means different sellers can purchase items from those listed in the treasury in order to take that previous seller’s spot.  The idea is hopefully someone will want your item and will want to buy out your spot!

I’m not totally sold on how viable a business model this is, but the exposure it creates and the networks it builds are invaluable.  In a BNR you end up watching a little obsessively, hoping your item will sell so you can buy another.  😉  So you end up ‘chatting’ with the other people in the BNR for quite some time.  I made a few internet-friends this weekend!

The other plus is that it enables my spending bug which, if all works out accordingly to plan, will break even if others replace my listing in the BNR.



Creatures of Habit Zine collection $3 from EastoftheSun on Etsy


Peppermint Pine Moose Sachet $5.95 from WSDreams on Etsy

I ended up purchasing a couple items, one from East of the Sun (Anna Simmons) and one from Winter Solstice Dreams.  One ended up in my car to freshen out all the bad smells (where do they come from, anyways?) and the other was gifted as coloring books for my super awesome niece!  While I was puttering around on Etsy, I found some other wish list items.  P.S.  Hands off my WSDreams lavender eye pillow for future purchase!


Vintage Holt Howard Cat S+P Shakers from twolittleowls on Etsy. Xmas present for my mother was a hit!


WANT WANT WANT Jewelry Organizer by BluebirdHeaven on Etsy.

NEED NEED NEED Figural Wood Hat Rack from Eden Cove Treasures on Etsy

Day 20 of Giving: Drive Carefully.

The gift we give today is pretty serious – it’s making sure that others are healthy, happy and safe to enjoy their holidays by making sure we responsibly enjoy our own.

Firstly. We are SO LUCKY to have a white blanket of snow covering Maine, even in the South!  Of course with your snow tires (or four season tires) your Maine car is equipped with the necessary precautions to prevent skidding, bumping, crashing.  But that guy coming down the straightaway that you’re turning on to…does he?  Tuesday evening brought a beautiful (heavy!) snowfall to the Portland area that resulted in a 17-car-pile-up near Deering Oaks and countless other accidents.  Personally, as I was driving home in my equipped, yet somewhat finicky sedan, a zippy motorist crossed the straightaway with only 15 or so feet between me and him – my antilock brakes take at least 20 feet to be effective!  And pedestrians, use CAUTION.  Just because someone could potentially brake from the distance you’re planning on crossing at, just assume that the car will slide and swerve and may not do what you’re thinking it will.  Remember snow?  It’s slippery.


In my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for excessive drinking and driving.  It’s taken way too big of a price for me to really, truly know this.  So if you’re going to parties between now and the New Year and want to enjoy beverages, here are a few ground rules your mother, teachers and friends probably already told you but if you don’t listen I will personally break your knee caps so you can’t get in your car.  (Not actually true, but I’ll definitely take your keys).

#1.  Designated driver.  I personally think this rule of thumb is a sham.  DDs always end up getting persuaded to ‘have a drink!’ by their increasingly sauced friends and, who wants to go to a party with a large group of people they may or may not know and not taste a little liquid courage?  Sometimes this works.  I have friends who don’t drink but like going to parties.  This works.  Couples who can actually stick to this plan have some success.  This works.  But if this seems like kind of a bummer, please see Rule #2 + #3.

#2.  Taxi cab!  Sure, you may have to wait awhile and hey, it may cost $20 to get across town but stop being such a miser, Scrooge, it’s Christmas!  Leave the house with cash so you are not in a bind later when you’re contemplating a hackney driver and also leave a nice tip for the fellow or lady working on the holiday.  Split the cab with people who live close so it’s not such a pain in the wallet.  $20 is totally worth avoiding thousands in lawyer fees, losing your license or killing yourself or, worse, one of your friends.

#3.  Stay awhile!  Eat something!  If you’re planning on leaving the party at 1am after the big toast and a little dancing, stop your intake and start your snacking a few hours before.  You’ll still have good bubbly champagne feelings but when it’s time to drive you’ll be in much better working order.

#4.  Be nice to the dry.  If someone doesn’t want a drink, don’t get all excited because you are and think it’s the best thing in the world.  Some people don’t!  As someone who ‘takes it easy’ at parties and usually switches to tea after 2 drinks, tops, I just want to let you all know that you *don’t* get more and more awesome as the night wears on…it’s actually the opposite.


Have fun, but above all, be safe!

Day 14 of Giving: Music in the home.

If your home is anything like my home, then there’s usually some kind of music playing while cooking dinner, doing the dishes, cleaning, even when Jason’s playing video games.  My young niece has a particular fondness for music.  Before the holiday really gets here, I’m picking up my guitar and learning a few easy songs that we can teach her to fill the cold winter air with sound.  Standards, carols and classics, they’re all welcome under my roof!


…Trying to catch up!  Entires #15 and #16 are on their way!

Day 6 of Giving: Gift of Thrift.

Sweet double-cabled wool tunic I've had for a billionty years.

For as long as I can remember, thrift stores, Goodwills, dollar-a-pounds, etc. have been a pastime of searching and finding, uncovering and exploring.  When we were little, Dad lived in the West End of Portland when that thrift shop was where Gorham Bike & Ski is now.  Whoa!  We went there almost every weekend and I tried my hand at collecting salt shakers, crocheted shirts, shot glasses, you name it.


Since then, I’ve honed my craft a little more.  I seek out sets either for use in my kitchen or to resell on Etsy or Ebay to equally discerning buyers.  I look for oddities among the trashpiles of crummy mass-produced dishes in the back of the store.  I’m a boatneck-seeking missile in the ladies’ department.

More sets!

For all that Goodwill (and Salvation Army, and countless others) have done for me, this year I decided to donate all my surplus to them.  I’ve made one run already and plan on making a few more before the end of the year.  You might be asking yourself, though:  Why?

Two reasons.

Reason #1 is that filling your apartment or your home with useless junk from Target may be fun while things are on sale, but eventually the weight of your material possessions will distract you from the person you actually are.  Giving the non-essentials that you’re willing to part with to others will not only be nice for them, but you’ll feel like a snake shedding your skin.

Reason #2 is that you can write all this good behavior off on your 2011 taxes.  Giving for giving’s sake is nice, but let’s be honest, folks, Audrey’s working two jobs, three if you count my brief shifts at the coffee shop here and there, and every little bit helps.  For three bags of books and clothes I got a $100 credit and all I had to do was tell the guy how much it was worth and he signed it for me!  P.S.  You might want to itemize your donations, in case of an audit.

Click here for details on how to figure out how much your clutter is worth and how to donate.  It’s easy.

Day 2 of Giving. Photographs and Small Drawings.

It’s day two of “25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying” and I’ve been thinking all day about what to write about.  After some deliberation, a drink and some fudge at Angela Adams‘ jewelry collaboration opening and an evening of clipping coupons (such a dork) I’ve finally decided:

Give photographs and/or small drawings to people.  Real ones.

little eye loves photography!

It’s no secret that I love photography.  If I didn’t, it wouldn’t make very much sense to come home from nine hours working in a photo studio to clip out 1″ diameter circles of photographs and found images to put in to jewelry.  That’d be psychotic if I really, really loved, say, football.  Then I’d spend my days coaching and my evenings at Sports Bars.  But that is someone else’s path, not mine.  So I’m sure you’re not shocked that I think it’s a nice way to give!

guaranteed sunshine when you send pictures of cute kids

The no-brainer is to send updated kid photos to family members who haven’t seen them in awhile.  Easy enough to do over email or Facebook, but why not go the extra mile and order a print, stuff it in an envelope and mail it out?  That way Aunt Emmie can put it on the bulletin board by her desk, on the fridge, or anywhere she might need a little brightening up throughout the course of the day.

What about the single and/or childless?  Seasonal pictures or just genuinely good photographs are always nice, too.

You'd be so pumped right now if this was yours.

When I was a bartender in Boston I worked with probably one of my favorite people in the world, Maryanne.  In addition to being just about the most sensible, forgiving and compassionate person I’ve ever met she’s also freaking hilarious.  She would draw ‘greeting cards’ made out of folded receipt tape with animals and slogans drawn on them.  I know I have some in boxes somewhere, and one day when I find them I will come back and post them here.  But how sweet to open up an envelope or folded piece of paper someone hands to you to find a drawing, personally scribed for you?  So good.

For prints, I’d suggest Photo Market’s really easy-to-use online ordering at

look out, little stick figure girl!

Pictures of Behbehs!

Becoming an aunt came with lots of fun extras:  recapturing hide-and-seek as a normal passtime, random (free) babysitting opportunities, and diaper changing poo-review.  All these and more were worth it to have a 24/7 built in baby girl to take pictures of.

she cannot stop me from snapping!

My lofty goals as a an ‘art photographer’ have dissolved in the mid-to-late 20’s overload of weddings, births and kids growing up.  Dreams of showing cerebral work in underground galleries made way for snapping portraits of thoughtful babies for family photo albums.

C. doing "Kisses"

But because I can do both of these simultaneously (lofty goals, humble portraits) I’m feeling pretty excellent about spending time with these vertically challenged, incredibly observant fresh little human people.


Portrait sessions, FYI, are $120, last about an hour to an hour and a half at a location of your choosing and include a CD of high resolution images that you can print to your heart’s delight.  I photograph using a Mamiya C330 twin lens camera ca. 1970s-80s. using medium format film.  Negatives are available for purchase, in addition to the CD, if you’d like.

With the holidays coming up these might be a really nice something to slip in with the the gifts to Grandma, Grampy and everyone else.

And for the DIY crowd out there, some simple tips for photographing kids:  get down low, be on their level.  Try not to overly engage the child you’re photographing – images taken when they’re ‘doing their own thing’ will be a lot more honest and less forced.  Lastly, bring some props that the little bean won’t mind using – i.e. a big lollipop, a bubble machine or a radio flyer:  the list goes on.  Keep the composition simple and focused on what’s important and you’re sure to make some winners.