Scarves and the coming PSL

photo


I sold a scarf!

I’m so excited, y’all. Every year I think “no one is going to want a Harry Potter scarf now,” and every autumn I continue to sell them. It doesn’t matter that it’s currently 85 degrees and climbing, nor that my hands are fried from simultaneously typing like a madwoman at work, slogging away on my new novel and spending much of an evening with a crochet hook in hand!

My Etsy business is still alive and helping to supplement my wedding budget (woo!). And I get to keep making scarves, which is my No. 1 favorite way to decompress (well, maybe No. 2 — I’d have to give the top spot to reading). I am happy.


PSL with leaves
Archived photo from 2012. Don’t get too excited.


In unrelated but also slightly related news, rumor has it the pumpkin spice latte will be returning to Starbucks on Sept. 2. Don’t ask how I know; let’s just say I have my sources (like, um, searching for the PSL on Twitter). After several fruitless Google searches, I found a few reasonably reputable sources who say Labor Day is the official kick-off. Not sure if that’s accurate, but I’m going to hold onto that belief like a beautiful dream.

If you think I’ve kicked my pumpkin habit, friends, you are sadly mistaken. It’s a little embarrassing how much I love anything gourd-inspired. Last year I completed my massive PSL taste test, a post of which I’m still rather proud, and I plan to continue my tastings this fall . . . though after losing 30 pounds, I might have to do it a little more sensibly.

Eh, well — maybe. I don’t have to wear that wedding dress for another two months . . .


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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}


Everybody go quilt tonight


I’m big on handmade. Owning something lovingly crafted by another human being — not a machine — greatly appeals to me, and that’s probably why I spend so much time perusing handcrafted items on Etsy.

Crocheting has been a hobby of mine since I was a kid, and I absolutely love making scarves. The repetition soothes my soul. When life has gone awry or I’m feeling anxious, just holding the crochet hook makes me feel better. There’s something to be said for the joy stemming from wearing something you’ve created. Taking two skeins of yarn and weaving them into something new — something I made — is a great feeling.

I wish I knew more, though. Of all the skills I envy, quilting is at the top of that list. Between Trish’s posts on quilting bees, Lexi’s skills and my boyfriend’s mom’s talents, I find myself surrounded by adorable quilted items and long to learn the skills myself.

If we lived closer, Alex could probably help me — but I’ll settle with admiring her wares, now up in my Etsy shop. Her latest creations are those adorable miniature baskets pictured above. I have one on my desk with the rest of — ahem — the Valentine’s Day candy I’ve been squirreling away. I’ll be using it for storing paperclips and other cute things when it’s empty. She has spring patterns and gorgeous pastels out now.

Further proof of her talent wasn’t needed after she made me a sock monkey quilt for last year’s birthday. I mean, sock monkeys — on a quilt.

I crocheted her a scarf for her birthday, but let’s be honest — not nearly as impressive.


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Any craft skills you covet? Are you a quilter? Or do you share my rampant obsession with sock monkeys? (I’m starting a support group. We can get through this . . . together.)


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?


The more I create, the more I keep creating

I measure my days in scarves.

As the weather gets cooler and Halloween approaches, I’m seeing the return of a fun time in my yearly schedule: scarf-makin’ time. Strangely enough, people aren’t too interested in cozy outerwear during the hot winter months, but October? Now is my time to shine.

I’ve been fortunate to see a boom in my Etsy business, which is where I sell my crocheted scarves. I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t know any stitch but the afghan stitch, so I’m not a very versatile crafter. But the one stitch I know? Well, I can do it well. And I’m putting it to use while making scarves I hope any Hogwarts student would be proud to wear.

I can’t say I set out to make Gryffindor and Slytherin scarves (with the odd Ravenclaw here and there) exclusively, but what started out as a hobby has quickly taken over my free time. I’m very thankful to have orders pouring in, no doubt about it, but I’m almost getting to the point of needing to outsource my work. Coupled with lifelong hand and wrist issues, I’m having myself quite the time.

But it’s a great way to keep the Potter love alive while still feeding my Etsy addiction. While others may see autumn as a time of pumpkins, apple picking and “Hocus Pocus” screenings, I see only crochet hooks and yarn in burgundy and gold. My supplies cover the couch and travel with me everywhere, just in case I have a moment to finish a few rows. The more I create, the more I want to keep creating.

Constantly running through my head? “I’ve finished a Gryffindor but have two more to make,” I think. “And I need to put tassels on the Slytherin. And the Ravenclaw. And one’s going to Canada, and one’s going to Virginia. Need to get them in the mail.”

Between all my Postcrossing cards and scarf packages, I’ve become quite chummy with the folks at my local post office. I’d say we’re almost on a first-name basis.

And considering how annoyed they usually seem, I consider that quite an accomplishment.

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.