Etsy find Fridays: Lovely bookish finds

As a friend has helpfully pointed out, there are six Fridays until Christmas. Three pay days. Seven weekends.

I’m someone who has, in recent years, relied on the Internet for most of my shopping needs — but I’m already struggling this year. With limited time and a limited budget, how do we find gifts that impress? Everyone loves the look of delight on friends’ faces when they open something tailor-made for them, but getting there — that magical moment with gift wrap shredded — is the hard part.

I’m something of a gift lover. Presenting presents means more to me than receiving them, even, and I’ve been spoiled by thoughtful parents who always seemed to find “the right thing.” The right thing does not mean “the expensive thing,” of course — just the perfect little something you never knew you’ve always wanted.

And that’s a lot of pressure.

Everyone knows I’m a reader. Despite my awful track record in 2014 (let’s not speak of it), books will always be my solace. Many of my friends are readers, too, but we all know the perils of trying to buy novels for the readers who have everything.

The odds of me picking out a paperback that a devoted reader has not read are pretty slim, honestly — so I rely upon Etsy for inspiration to wow literary pals. When I was working on the library at home, I drew inspiration from many of these items, too, and may hope Santa has a few hiding under the tree for me.

You never know when he’s listening . . .


Books are the quietest print

Books print, $20, by ladypoppins


Jane Eyre book scarf

Jane Eyre book scarf, $42, by storiarts


Book lover clock

Book lover clock, $49, by the accessory corner


Jane Austen bookmarks

Jane Austen bookmarks (set of 6), $9.50, by CastleOnTheHill


Library card shirt

Library card shirt, $22, by GrammaticalArt


This post was not sponsored in any way;
I just love Etsy and sharing cool finds with you!


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A few of my Etsy favorite things

Now that it’s November, I’m getting into that slightly-stressed, spreadsheet-making phase of my year I like to call Christmas shopping.

I love buying people presents — sometimes too much — and genuinely enjoy the process of choosing just the right gift for everyone. I consider about their likes and dislikes, the items they discuss, the colors they usually wear. Things they might want or need, and which of those I can actually afford. I dig around a bit, do some research. Shop carefully. Add everything to my spreadsheet.

It’s all quite time-consuming.

Maybe you’re already starting to shop — or maybe you’re waiting until Christmas Eve. Regardless, I’m here to offer a few of Meg’s Favorite Etsy Things as the official kick-off to the holiday season. These are all items I’ve purchased with my own dough-re-mi, and no one is paying for promotion. I just thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Etsy finds — and maybe help get your gift-giving juices flowing.

They’re all Meg tested and approved. If I had a Meg Seal of Approval, it would be slapped on all of these. And pink, of course.


Holiday lip butters from
Baby Duck Soap Co.

In scents like sugar cookie, gingerbread house and pumpkin cheesecake, these lip butters are delicious — and only $6 for three! I mean, really. I’m a lip product addict who has, at this very moment, everything pictured at right in one purse. And I don’t even feel guilty about it, because my lips are soft and lightly scented at any moment. You’re welcome, Spencer.

But anyway. Back to Baby Duck Soap Co. Their products are fabulous, the lip butters are crazy moisturizing without feeling sticky or greasy and I absolutely love the scents/flavors. I get tired of everyone shouting, “Makes a great stocking stuffer!” come the holidays, but really . . . um, these would make a great stocking stuffer.


• Handstamped copper jewelry
from bama + ry

I first discovered Jasmine, a fellow blogger, a few years back — and I’ve loved watching the evolution of her jewelry company. These miniature heart-stamped earrings ($12) are a new favorite addition to my wardrobe, and Jasmine has about a billion other lovely pieces — many of which can be personalized for you and/or your family. I like this one. And this. (Photo by bama + ry)


• Cute pottery from Darielle’s Clay Art

This little heart-shaped ring dish catches my jewelry at the end of the day, and I just think it is adorable. At $9 each, they make great gifts — and you can choose all sorts of colors. Paired with a bauble for your sister, friend or grandma? Perfect.


• Gourmet spice kits from Purpose Design

What do you get the cook who has everything? Why, a gourmet spice kit, of course! My boyfriend the culinary adventurer loves to try new things, so I picked up a kit of French spices back around Valentine’s Day. We’ve added all sorts of new items to dishes — tarragon, herbes de provence, edible blue lavender — and I highly recommend these kits. You’ve got plenty of options. (Photo by Purpose Design)


• Inspirational, colorful prints from The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy

If you’ve spent any time around Etsy, you’ve likely run into some of the lovely Katie Daisy’s work. Her beautiful, original artwork earned a spot on my bookcase with the very helpful reminder to be here now ($18). I love “Let Go,” too — and I’m pretty sure a browse-around will produce a little something for everyone. (Photo by Katie Daisy)


Etsy Find Fridays: Rock the chevron

As the keeper of all things trendy (cough), I’m not sure if the chevron and chevron-patterned things are recently cool, or a longstanding pillar of cool. I still regularly rock scuffed $10 sandals and have disheveled hair one step away from having me committed. You know what I’m saying? I’m not terribly fashionable. I don’t embarrass myself, but I’m not hip. Not even when I’m trying to be. (And I guess that makes it worse.)

But chevron. So classy. So retro and fun. After I began seeing it pop up on blogs and magazines, I am coveting it. I really want a chevron-patterned skirt, but my search has been (almost) fruitless so far. Still, the joy is in the journey . . . and I definitely enjoy paging through endless shopping sites in search of just the right piece. And these are the pieces I’m lusting after right now.


{Chevron stripe lucite table by tillymaison, $80}


{Vintage chevron skirt from coolvintageplus, $18}


{Chevron thank you cards from Snail Mail Designs, set of 8, $10}


{Black chevron long zipper pouch by MadameCupcake, $11}


Etsy Find Fridays: Spot of tea for you?

We have a really awesome water cooler at work. Maybe you do, too, which means we both work for stellar employers. Because this baby? The literal water cooler around which we often perch, chatting and quenching our thirst? It has hot water.

This might not seem all that exciting at first. I mean, hot water? We can get hot water from a tap. We can get hot water in the shower. But having hot water right from the water cooler means I can quickly, conveniently make myself a cup of hot tea in the afternoons.

No less than six types of tea bags take up residence in my desk drawer. Choosing which to sample in the afternoon is a special treat, and it’s these little luxuries — simple things — that can spice up a long afternoon. And I’m no tea monogamist. Black tea, green tea, white tea — all are welcome here. (In my mug.)

As such, my interest in tea extends beyond merely drinking the lovely elixir. To avid tea drinkers, tea is a way of life. It’s synonymous with comfort. When someone I know is sick, that’s the first thing flying out of my mouth: “Want me to make you some tea?” And when I myself am ill, that’s what I would like to be offered: “Meg, shall I make you a spot of tea?” (In this scenario, you are British. I like that about you.)

In a favorite song by The Script, the chaps sing, “They’ll be a smile on my face and the kettle on, and it’ll be just like you were never gone — if you ever come back, if you ever come back . . .” The lovely image of a handsome guy sitting there with a cup of tea desperately hoping to see my face again? Ready to pass me a mug of tea and listen to my stories, all while apologizing profusely for his wrongdoing? Yes, please. With sugar.

If you’re a tea-swilling crazywoman like me — or just need some holiday gift ideas for someone who is — I invite you to peruse my favorite beverage-related items from Etsy this week. Click on each image to be taken to the item’s listing.



Are you a tea drinker?
What’s your favorite kind?


Etsy Find Fridays: Pumpkin for you, pumpkin for me

Since September is here and I’ve already had the pleasure of partaking in my first pumpkin spice latte of fall, I figured it’s high time to enjoy the scents of the season.

As time goes on, simply drinking my pumpkin isn’t enough; now I want to decorate with it, too. And if you think I can resist the allure of an embroidery hoop emblazoned with a piece of pumpkin pie, friends? Well, you’re wrong.

Nothing screams autumn and seasonal joy quite like pumpkin (and dessert), and just looking at these items makes me happy! I’m definitely guilty of owning pumpkin-scented lotions, soaps and more, and the lip balm below is one of my favorites. Click through to visit or purchase these lovelies.


Etsy Find Fridays: Jazzing up the new workspace

In early April, I walked into work to find an ominous truth hovering around my office: we were being relocated.

Okay — not relocated. I’m being dramatic. Our office was combining with another office, etc., and so forth, and my own individual workspace was being moved . . . across the hall.

I’m super close with my officemates, Sandy and Brandon, and we work together closely — so my first reaction was pure fear. I shifted my gaze between them, absorbing the news.

“They’re not going to separate us, are they?”

It was like waking up in sixth grade to the news of your best friend in the world moving across the country, where there’s no email or phone service or ability to accept courier pigeons. Even though I knew, logically, that I was going to lose my “own” office — the small, windowless cell I’d called “home” for eight hours a day since 2009 — I was less concerned with that than being stuck in . . . isolation.

As we all know, leaving high school and college behind usually means one thing: your social circle dwindles. We all have friends we love no matter what — people who will be there for us through thick, thin, ugly, silly — but as we get older, it becomes difficult to meet new people. My work friends aren’t just “work friends.” They’re my friends, pure and simple.

And if I got moved away from them, I was going to flip out.

The good news is this: my new office isn’t an office so much as my desk, telephone booth/bookcase and miniature refrigerator wedged into the corner of a much bigger room, but I’m still with Brandon and Sandy and — bonus! — we have a huge, gorgeous and glorious window. Where I can, like, see sunshine and trees in bloom and people in the parking lot. Where, occasionally, a bird flits past and reminds me that there’s life out there.

If you’ve never had to work in a windowless room, you probably think I’m crazy.

And if, like me, you’ve been working like a mole in a cave for years at a stretch, you realize how this is awesome.

So here’s the thing: I’m in this new space and have a blank wall behind me. A white, scuffed wall, but an empty one. One where I can put up pretty pictures and make it comfortable. In my old office, I was famous for having a London-themed space; photos of Big Ben adorned every surface. I brought many of those with me, too, but I don’t think I want to just hang all the old stuff up in the new place. I’m ready for a fresh start.

So I’ve taken to Etsy, that devilish and angelic mistress, for items to spice up my new work area. I’ve fallen in love with several prints but really want to take my time in making a big decision . . . this artwork will be with me for a while, I’m sure. And once I convince a coworker to help me hang stuff, I’m not going to turn around and ask them to help me redecorate again.

These are items I’m kicking around for the ol’ desk and wall, which is just begging for adornment. I love feeling like I can step right out of work and into another place if I so choose, so many are travel-themed! Also, quotes help me stay grounded and remind me to focus . . . and that’s important, too.

Shout out if you have favorites. Or tell me if I’m missing something. Or join in the lamentation regarding a lack of windows in your office.

I understand, my friends. Boy, do I understand.


Be Here Now print by thewheatfield, $15

Books print by sixthandmain, $14

Make Voyages print by maechevrette, $20

The Columnist print by janethillstudio, $26

The Best Is Yet To Come print by theloveshop, $20

Etsy Find Fridays: Writerly inspiration

The first thing I can ever remember writing was a poem about rain. I was 6, in the first grade, and I’d just begun to make the connection that letters formed words . . . and words? Well, words formed everything. In the living room on a rainy day, I took a small pink (pink!) notebook and scribbled down a few phrases. Then I proudly showed my handiwork off to my baby sister and parents.

I don’t remember their reactions, but I’m sure they were struck dumb by my brilliance. I mean, rain? Who has ever written a poem about nature’s beauty — or that wet stuff falling from the sky? I was a prodigy. A revolutionary. I was changing the world!

Ahem.

Aside from a stint in the creative writing program in college, I haven’t crafted many poems — but have diversified my subject matter. Twice a week, I write about my life and adventures for the newspapers where I work. Only 450 words and focused on whatever pops into my brain, the columns come easily. It’s like blogging . . . just in print. Where 50,000 people read it.

Sometimes that scares me.

But that’s another blog post.

No, the columns don’t cause me any trouble, friends. Sometimes the stress of trying to be consistently witty is a little daunting, but that’s totally a #firstworldproblem and not something I would ever complain about. (You know, not in public.) I know how lucky I am.

It’s everything else that’s tricky.

The short format of my articles and these here blog posts have ruined me. After failing to complete a novel for National Novel Writing Month for the second year in a row, I’m beginning to worry that I don’t have the stamina to sustain a single plotline over the course of a 200-page manuscript. Am I now only capable of writing short non-fiction? Am I — gasp — A SHORTY?

Well, yes; I’m short (5’2″). But I don’t want to be known only for the little thoughts I scribble down. I do want to finish another novel, and I do want to seek publication for my works. So unless I’m scooped up and asked to pen a hilarious memoir about cupcakes, online dating and pumpkin spice lattes, I need to get my act together. I’d love to be the next Laurie Notaro or Jen Lancaster, but I have to be realistic. I have yet to be informed that someone soiled themselves while reading something I’ve shared, so I have plenty of work to do. And have to get back to pluggin’ away on ye old book.

But first? I need a little inspiration. And leave it to Etsy to deliver it.