Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
1. I definitely get to see new, edgy stuff.
5. Dexter. For one thing, Michael C. Hall is brilliant. He needs so little dialogue to convey such complicated emotions. I love him for that. I just plain love him.
3. Big Love. What I like best about this show is that I really really am rooting for Bill. I believe that he loves all of his wives and I want him to succeed in making his polygamist lifestyle work
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Stay tuned for more great products in the next couple of days!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Our ACL experience started out with a bang (and a lot of smoke) as one of the beer trailers caught fire. It ended with Bob Dylan and even now, his voice is no whimper.
- Joss Stone
- Kaiser Chiefs
- Queens of the Stone Age
- The Killers
- Indigo Girls
- The Decemberists
- Blue October
- Damien Rice
- Amos Lee
- Lucinda Williams
- Ghostland Observatory
- LOTS of friends we hadn't seen in ages. Isn't it funny that in a crowd of 60,000 we managed to run into people we know and love?
Things we didn't see:
- Fire ants (Richard was particularly happy about this)
- Arctic jackets--cooler festival than usual, but still on the warm and humid side
- The aforementioned Pete Yorn
And KATIE!! Even though we were at many of the same concerts.
Thus, I am left to believe that sometimes you find things you didn't know you missed when you aren't looking and sometimes, you miss the things you like the most even when they are right in front of you.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Now the woman was old. And she had a daughter who grew up speaking only English and swallowing more Coca-Cola than sorrow. For a long time now the woman had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her, "This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions." And she waited, year after year, for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English.
Monday, September 10, 2007
But I hate the first day of school. No matter how old I get--or how many years of schooling I put behind me--the first day makes me seven years old again. I'm the new kid, the one who gets tripped at the door by a mean girl whose scabby knees are not hidden by the folds of her smocked lilac dress. I'm the one who has to sneak in during the pledge of allegiance because her parents are not morning people. I'm the one who doesn't know where the bathrooms are and is too afraid to ask.
The first day makes me sick.
When I was in college, I mentioned this to a friend. My exact words were something like this: "No I don't drink orange juice on the first day of school because it makes me puke. You know what I mean?"
My friend suggested I just might have an anxiety problem. Ahh...perhaps.
Here are the things I am worried about (in no particular order):
- I will be unmasked as a fraud. This will be the day/the class/the year that people will find out that I have been pretending to be smart or interesting or informed. I will be totally unprepared.
- I won't make any friends. I was the new kid--several times. Once, my teacher pointed out to the class that she wanted them to be quiet like me. She didn't understand that was quiet because I had no one to talk to.
- I won't know where the bathroom is and I will be too afraid to ask.
Tomorrow evening, I am starting an informal class at the university extention school--four weeks of photography lessons. This is something I have wanted to do for some time. I only hope that I can force myself through the door.
Oh, I also hope the girl in the smocked lilac dress doesn't show up. I can't stand that kid.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I believe that I may indeed be in love with James McAvoy now.
I know that I am in love with Jane Austen.
Several years ago, I visited her adult home at Chawton. The house was a postcard idyll. The seventeenth century cottage had sash windows and creaking wooden floors and wide door ways and ancient trees. It was romance and tradition at once. It was also drafty and rather small.
And the smallest thing in the whole place was Jane Austen's writing desk. No oaken behemoth, the desk instead resembled one of those desks (antiques by a Texan's standards) from my elementary school which was basically a chair with a tray attached, a tray about one inch wider and longer than a ledger sized piece of paper--the kind of desk on which you can't write and rest your elbow at the same time.
On this cramped desk, in this rather ordinary home, Jane Austen wrote some of the best novels ever written in the English language. And she wrote those novels when the form was just that--novel.
If Jane could change literature forever, if Jane could change expectation forever (after all, she was a woman who could write as well as a man...gasp) while writing on this tiny little desk (and answering the door and serving tea), why should I ever feel discouraged?
Comparatively, my pursuits are small and my resources are vast. My opportunities would be unfathomable to Jane. I never, ever have to serve tea. (Good thing, too, my british inlaws would probably tell you.)
This week, Katie and I made some elaborate plans about the future of our store. I was exhilarated by the brainstorming as it happened, and then immediately wracked with worry and doubt. But the dreams we have are within our means and the space we have to maneuver in is vast enough for all our visions. At least at the moment.
This is what I learned tonight: when I grow up, when I really grow up, I want to write like Jane Austen--and look like Anne Hathaway.
Friday, September 7, 2007
The treasury has a bunch of great items that are either related to my love of Britain or made by British crafters. See the world. See my treasury. (For those who don't make it over before the treasury expires, I will be posting some of the great items so that you can admire those sellers as much as I do.)
Here are ten things that I love about Britain:
1. The accents...and yes, there are many. Everyone seems to have a different one there and they all sound like music to me--especially Welsh ones. Usually, I can't understand what Welsh people say, but I find myself smiling and nodding in genuine agreement as their words up and down and dance all around.
My favorite accent of all time, though is, of course, my husband's. I love the way he says puuh-fect in stead of perfect and s-ree lan-ka for sri lanka and when he's annoyed with me, I'm Ray-chuw and not Rachel. His words make me melt. (They make a lot of other Texans melt too. He gets lots of free food--and a job offer--because of it.)
2. Tea time. Is there any cozier daily ritual? I always feel renewed after having "a cuppa" with my British friends.
3. British people have the best coats. Think about it. They have to wear them all the time. If it was nighttime starting at 2 in the afternoon for half the year AND it rained every single day AND the temp never EVER seemed to top 65--I'd have a great coat, too!
4. They have huge working vocabularies. When Richard and I have children, I think I'm only going to let him talk to them. That way they will learn words like whilst and hegemonic and they will actually use them. All the time. If I teach my kids to speak, they'll say things like yeah, mom and dad, i'm fixin' to do what y'all asked. Which would you choose?
5. Hats. Lots of amazing hats, especially at weddings and when they go to the races. (Sigh...they go to the races.)
6. There are vending machines devoted to selling cadbury's chocolate in most train stations.
7. Last time we visited, my husband had to go to the emergency room. No one ever asked how he was going to pay for the visit.
8. Shakespeare was British. And so was Dylan Thomas. Everyone in Monte Python was British. Nigel from Top Model is British, too. And Twiggy. So are the Beatles. Prince Harry is British. And my two beautiful nephews are British. And so is Winnie the Pooh. (Personally I think the oldest bears a striking resemblence to Winnie--only my nephew is cuter and prefers yogurt to honey.) And Beatrix Potter. And Harry Potter. And Mary Poppins. And Julie Andrews for that matter. I think I've proven my point.
9. I lived in the Forest of Dean, England for the year that I was two. I have few memories of it, except for the taste of cherry yogurt, and a daisy chain that my "child minder" made with me, and the sheep that ate our grass. But I think that it imprinted England on my heart forever.
A few pics from that first year:
And drum roll, please...
10. Did I mention that I have the most darling British husband in the whole world? back then...playing the good english boy
I guess he's always the beginning and the end of it for me.
P.S. here are some screen shots of the treasury as it is about to expire. I think that these great sellers will still be around even if you read this next month or next year. Check them out at www.etsy.com today.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Last weekend, I committed myself to taking better pictures of our products. They're great, but the photos we have don't do them justice.
Some of them are just too messy. My dining room chairs are on display behind the photo mats. The pink wallpaper is a feature--we've never been in love with that pink wallpaper. Our lives are on display a little and our lives are just a little bit too much for a promotional shot.
I took a second set of promotional pics a couple of weeks ago. My husband built a light box. Thank god I married a man with an inate sense of geometry and an uncanny skill with scissors. Katie has an engineering background--so she does fine when called upon to build light boxes and french memory boards (coming soon!) and homes. Okay. She hasn't built a home yet--that I know of--but I wouldn't put it past her. Meanwhile, I can print instructions. That's it, the extent of my expertise.
So Richard built a light box. But somehow, we couldn't find the light. My second set of promotional shots were too dark.
I know it's not the camera. I took these great pictures with no available light a few days ago while on vacation in Chicago:
I am left to think that outdoor shots of our indoor products are best. Now I have to get the weather to cooperate. Can I blame global warming for this?
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I have spent a great deal of time in the etsy forums recently. Lots of posts talk about needing a sale. I believe these people--mostly because I need a sale too. I would love to make enough in my store to pay for my monthly electricity bill or to make my student loan payment or to build a nestegg so that my new family doesn't live month to month. In these ways, I need all the sales I can get.
And yet, I know very little of need.
The etsy venture that Katie and I began planning for in May was financed relatively easily. We work hard because we want to make our money back and more. But neither of us actually depends on this income and I doubt that we are alone in that in the chatrooms and forums of etsy.
We began because we wanted a different quality of life. Not because our lives depended on it.
There are people in this country and around the world who will be laboring on Monday. Most of them won't even be aware of the holiday. It won't really matter for the ones that do know about it.
There are so many people who work to live. To survive.
Because we aren't in that position, because we feel lucky to have abundance, because we were able to choose to change the quality of our lives, because we don't worry about survival, because we have a world class education (that's what those loans were for), because we have so many options, because we have etsy, because we have each other--we want our products to help others have options too.
When you buy from us, 10% of the purchase price will go to organizations that make microloans to people in the developing world. Microloans are very small amounts of money (to us)--often as little as $25--loaned with manageable repayment terms to start up a very very small business.
Most of the recipients of microloans are women. We kind of like that--women still have a way to go in the world and one more helping hand isn't going to hurt.
The amounts are small. We like that too--our small donations make a difference to someone somewhere.
These are loans, not charity. We are happy to give to charities too and we believe in the great work that they do as well as the deep need for nations and multinational corporations to do their part on the grand scale to make whole countries better. We want more of that, not less. But we also understand that a loan can be equally empowering--when the terms are fair.
When we help change the world (with your help, of course), we want it to be transformed into a world where women everywhere feel the same sense of pleasure at having had the opportunity to earn just a little bit of money, a little bit of respect for the hard work that they do. That has been our greatest pleasure since starting our venture--our adventure.
Learn more about microloans here.
And please do check in on a regular basis to see how much you have contributed to the lives of women whom you've never met. (I guess that is us too!)