Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Sussie: Real Simple Christmas Gift Ideas

So I know that I've been pumping up the Handmade Holiday theme for a few weeks, and obviously I'm a big fan Etsy and shopping locally.  But....I realize that making all holiday gifts from scratch, or finding used items to repurpose or give as is, can be a little unrealistic sometimes.  The reason, after all, that big retail chains are so popular is because they are so convenient, and convenience--during a busy holiday season--can be priceless.  Far be it for me to judge people for choosing mental sanity over handmade shopping convictions!

In lieu of that, then, I was genuinely pleased with Real Simple's Christmas gift edition this year, and recommend it as this week's sussie if you haven't already thumbed through a copy.  Their pages of gift ideas are unique and fun, and I got all kinds of good ideas for family members (and myself).  A lot of things can be ordered online (less driving and errands!  yay!), and probably gift wrapped too--although the magazine does have a great "gift wrapping party" idea...  

My favorites included the iron-on images from Sukie.  I'm definitely getting some of those!  And of course the any-surface air hockey set--how fun!  And I loved the pop-up book, perfect for a certain little nephew I have in mind.  

My not-so-favorite: the "Any Name" in History book.  The claim is that you can order these books using your family name, and it will come complete with the history of your family name, demographics of your ancestors, etc.  But after reading the reviews of the book, I've determined that it is not all it's cracked up to be, and my money would be better spent on...well, anything else.  Bummer because it seemed like great gift for my hard-to-shop-for father-in-law.

Happy browsing!  And see you next week for more Handmade Holidays and another great Marketplace Maven!
note: Saturday Sussies are small finds I discover during the week that I like to share with you.  I call them "sussies" because it is a Texas term I learned from my family.  I swear I didn't make it up.
Previous Saturday Sussies:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tales of Black Friday holiday week didn't exactly go as planned.  All excited to work up some "embellishing" projects, and some DIY jewelry, plus my favorite pastime of musing on the handmade economy....I fear that the stomach flu (the day before Thanksgiving!  What timing!) and travel (we're headed up to the snowy Rockies) interfered with my plans.  So instead of creating and writing, I've been hunkered down in bed.

Such is life.   In any event, on this Black Friday, I thought I would venture a quick post, starting with a story.  The story begins last year, on the morning of said Black holiday (sounds kind of morbid, if you think about it).  Up until then, I was a Black Friday virgin, having never ventured into the stores on the King of all Shopping Days.  But there was a sale on flat screen tvs at Target, and my husband really wanted one for Christmas, so I thought--what the heck?--how busy can it be?  I'll just throw on some clothes, head out, and make it back in time to get ready for work (yes--I had to work.  It was a bummer.)  

Oh little naive one.  Against my husband's warnings of crowded streets and stores, I zoomed over to Target.  I was totally unprepared for what I saw.  I mean--I knew it was the biggest shopping day of the year, but I Had No Idea.  Of course there was not a single place to park.  People had obviously been camped out for days.  And there were even lines of cars strolling ever so slowly through the lot, hoping against hope that someone was actually leaving (good luck!).  I took one look and just kept on driving--back home, that is.  So much for starting a new tradition.  

Anyway, I share this story in case a) you, too, are a Black Friday virgin and think that maybe you'd like to try out all the fun.  Don't.  It's so not worth it, and b) to once again encourage a much easier and more sustainable way to shop for your holiday gifts--by purchasing them from local or online craftsman and women, or by buying used instead of new (and perhaps following through on some of that embellishing that I still haven't gotten to!).  

Needless to say, I can tell you where I'm Not going today--to the stores.  But I might just spend some time browsing on Etsy, or planning my homemade holiday gifts.  

And maybe finally eat some of that Turkey I've been too sick to enjoy! 

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Handmade Holidays: Making Jewelry

While tinkering with my embellishing project (click here to read more), I thought I would pass the time by talking about handmade jewelry as a great gift option for the holidays.  

I first started creating my own jewelry when I stumbled into a small bead boutique in my hometown.  I admit that I was like a kid in a candy shop, drawn to everything sparkly and pretty.  I was in college, and making my own jewelry was a fun and affordable way to create a unique look on a tight budget.  So I started with the basics: pendants for chokers and chains, and dangling earrings.  Years later, they are still my favorite.

Jewelry making is a great handmade hobby for a couple reasons.  First, because it does not require a lot of fancy equipment or training to get up and running.  A good pair of jewelry pliers (which you can find at any craft store), some stainless silver wire, and a handful of beads is about all you really need.  And a wire cutter (I still use nail clippers, which work like a charm).  Second, creating jewelry can be a very quick process--perfect for making gifts on the fly (like when you forget a coworker's birthday, for instance).  With a little bit of practice, whipping up a pendant or set of earrings can take just minutes.

And what about technique?  I learned mine in passing from the bead seller in the small boutique.  She showed me a few basics, what to buy, and I was happily on my way.  I'm sure that any dedicated bead staffer would do the same.  If not, jewelry classes are almost always easy to find and a great way to meet creative people and learn a new skill.

Of course, the talents of jewelry sellers on Etsy far surpass anything I can muster, so I'm thrilled to highlight a few pieces here.  And as with last week's oversize cowls, I'll be showcasing even more great jewelry finds for this week's Etsy mini mall, featured on the left.  Just click to visit the stores of these beautiful creations, and be inspired to buy or create your own.

Featured jewelry from top to bottom:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Marketplace Mavens: Laura of Uproar

note: Marketplace Mavens is a weekly series on entrepreneurial women with passion.  For an account of passion meets adoption and adorable accessories, read below.

You know those people in your life that just impress you the very first time you meet them?  Well, Laura of Uproar--this week's Marketplace Maven--is certainly one of those people for me!

I sat down with Laura over coffee because I had heard from a friend that she was a fellow Etsy seller living in town, and that her shop had a unique mission behind it.  Intrigued, I had to learn more.

You see, Laura decided to create "not so ordinary children's knitted wear" for her shop, Uproar, after noticing that there was a shortage of unique and special knitted items for kids.  But lack of cute knitwear was not her only reason for Uproar.  Visitors can catch a glimpse of her larger mission by reading her shop announcement--Laura and her husband are raising money for a very special mission: adoption.

Laura's journey into knitting was not uncommon for crafters around the world.  After moving to a new city, she was lonely and needed a hobby to keep her busy during that transitional season, so she picked up knitting and was hooked.  But it wasn't until she decided with her husband to adopt children from Asia that her knitting took on a new purpose.  "Finally," she said, "my passion for knitting and my passion for adopting came together."  The result: Uproar.

Here's what I like about Laura and Uproar:
* Her passion is contagious.  We talked at length about adoption (a long, expensive and complex process), about kids in need around the world, and about motherhood.  Like many mavens, Laura wants to use her work to support her family (in this case, her soon-to-be-family), and in turn, the passion she has for her future children fuels her work.

*  She is demonstrating "craftivism" at its best.  Craftivism, which is a catchy term used to describe social action through crafts, is one of my favorite hallmarks of mavenhood, and one of the best reasons I can think of to operate a small business.  Laura's Uproar is not just about selling neat accessories--it is about connecting children without families with parents who will raise them with love.  So dollars spent at Uproar are essentially a two-for-one: great knitwear Plus support for a great cause.

*Her faith is unwavering.  Laura has felt drawn to adoption for a long time, and is so excited to be advancing toward the finish line after years of prayers and hope.  But even at this stage she knows that there are a lot of hurdles left, money being one of them.  She believes strongly that her shop, plus other means, will pave the way for her family.

Please take a minute to visit Uproar, and to read Laura's brief account of her mission in her own words.  And consider supporting this unique mission of connecting children with families by purchasing some not so ordinary knitwear for the children in your life this winter season (I purchased a great hat, which arrived this weekend, and I love it!).  And if you remember, send Laura a quick note through her shop to say hello and encourage her on what will undoubtedly be an exciting and challenging journey into parenting.

Want to read other inspiring stories of Mavenhood?  See below:
Do you know a Marketplace Maven, or would you like to be featured as a maven?  Please Email Me your story today!

Handmade Holidays: Complete Embellishing

Welcome to week 2 of Handmade Holidays, where I'm devoting weeks during this season to talk up the greatness of making and purchasing handmade items for your friends and family this year (and maybe even for yourself).  I thought I'd kick this week off with a little embellishment...

But first, let me make a confession to you--I'm no handmade purist.  If I think that I can cut a corner, or modify something that I already have, I'll jump at the chance to do it!  This is why I am loving my new book, Complete Embellishing, by Kayte Terry, and may have to do a few embellishing projects myself this season.

The book lays out a pages of embellishing techniques, from applique to embroidery to adding ribbons and ruffles and beads.  These step-by-step instructions, complete with photos for the visual learner, are followed by more pages of actual project ideas.  Following Terry's guide, you can turn a bland sweater into something fabulous, or spruce up a plain accessory, or embellish your home decor.  And reading her ideas will definitely spark ideas of your own.

One of the things I like the best about the idea of embellishing is that it is a great way to repurpose things that you already own.  For instance, I can think of more than one neglected sweater in my closet that could use a makeover.  Now--I know that we might tend to feel a little sheepish about giving gifts that aren't brand new, but the common alternative--giving gifts that are mass-produced in factories across the ocean and sure to be in every shop window--isn't always best either.  I'm not saying that you should take your threadbare cardigan, throw some ribbon on it, and hand it off to a friend.  But I am saying that maybe the black silk fabric from those slacks that never really fit well could be used to recover a classic clutch (in a less than classic color) with some added sequins and beads to become the coolest couture handbag in your friend's collection.  And she would even appreciate the story!

Needless to say, I've rummaged through my closet to find a few garments worthy of the embellishing cause, and hope to bring you their story this week.  Stay tuned to hear more!  And please Email Me your embellishing ideas or post them here!

Missed last week's Handmade Holiday posts?  Catch a sample below:

Also--don't forget to check back in later today to read about another inspiring female entrepreneur, part of my ongoing Marketplace Maven series here on DD!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Sussie: Thanksgiving

In honor of the pending holiday, for this week's sussie I thought I would highlight some of the Thanksgiving recipes that caught my eye this year.  I hope to make them (if I can convince my traditionalist-family to surrender the green bean caserole!), and perhaps make some new traditions.

First--the turkey.  In the past few years I've been cooking my turkey upside down in a paper bag.  Don't laugh--it really works.  The first year was amazing, although admittedly last years was a bit dry.  But this year my husband and I are obsessed with the idea of Bbq-ing our turkey.  Since we live in Colorado, using our outdoor gas grill might be a challenge.  But, we might be able to pull off a covered charcoal grill (maybe we should have a back-up just in case....).  Here is a link to the recipes that got us excited about the grilling option from Sunset magazine.
Of course, we may decide to forego the grill and use a brine recipe from Guy Fieri.  He puts hickory chips into the oven with the turkey to give it a smoky flavor.  Here's the link for the how-to.

I also loved the sound of the artichoke parmesan stuffing, also from Sunset.  It won rave reviews from readers in holidays passed, and even though I don't like stuffing, this one might win me over.

Is anyone besides me tired of the traditional vegetable sides for Thanksgiving involving either butter or cream of mushroom soup?  This year I'm definitely serving up an arugula salad or shaved brussels (even if I am the only one who eats them!).

And to drink, last year I was really pleased with a sparkling Shiraz I bought (a little too pleased, meaning that I was tipsy) but can't remember the name (any will do, I think!).  I might do the same this time around, or go with a pinor noir, which is apparently the best all-around wine for the occasion.  

Previous Saturday Sussies:

Check back in next week for more Handmade Holidays.  In store this week is some embellishing (on fabric--not the telling fibs kind), more DIY ideas, and a great Marketplace Maven!  See you soon!

Friday, November 21, 2008

New this week at Hillberry Home!

Check out my new home items for Hillberry Home, added just this week!

The Anytime Brick Road pillow (I was watching the Wizard of Oz....).

The Anytime Stripe pillow matches perfectly with the Anytime Star!

And the Flock Pillow (which reminds me of the Canadian geese that fly around my home all winter).  

Check them out at Hillberry Home today!

Handmade Holidays: the Bigger Picture

I realize that upon first impressions of this site during the holiday season, new readers (you, perhaps?) might think that this is a blog about crafts and design.  And while certainly I LOVE crafts and design, there is a Bigger Picture behind my focus on the handmade this year.

On Deviantly Domesticated I write on a whole variety of topics, but always seem to come back to a few steady themes.  They are, in a nutshell: mindfulness and resourcefulness in living (and consuming), cultivating knowledge about the world, building community connections, and leadership.  Incidentally, these recent holiday posts (which are so fun to write!) channel these themes nicely.

For instance, purchasing something from a small business owner is an exercise in mindful consumption and economic leadership.  Dollars invested in small business (bonus if the business is local to where you live) multiply to benefit the community in ways that dollars spent at Target (God love them--I sure do) never will, because less profit is gobbled up in administrative/legal/security/finance costs, and therefore more is available for reinvestment into the community.

Likewise, making a gift for someone is a time-honored practice in resourcefulness and skill (not to mention that it's just so darn thoughtful!).  And many of those skills used to make gifts (sewing, knitting, cooking, etc.) can also be used, if they had to be, on mending and creating in times of need, urgency or utility.

Furthermore, joining in the handmade process as either creator or buyer affirms some of the things that our global capitalism has neglected, like customer service, quality work, and personal connection.  From start to finish, the whole process steadily supports a different kind of economy (one that is growing, by the way) that ideally balances out the excesses of the mainstream.

And last, but certainly not least, it's FUN!  The sense of accomplishment from making something is satisfying, as is purchasing something that was carefully made from someone else.  It's addicting!

From time to time this season you will hear me return to the Bigger Picture because I a) like to wax poetically about things, and b) think that even the small things we do are important.  What do you think? Email me your thoughts on the bigger picture today--

Also, check back in later to see what's new in Hillberry Home (my online store), and my project ideas for next week (hint: I think it will involve deconstructing a sweater into three cool new pieces).  And don't forget to sign up for the RSS feed for this blog to receive automatic updates! (click here to learn more)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DIY: Oversize Cowls

I posted yesterday about my favorite new fashion trend--oversize, chunky knit cowls.  If you look to the left, you'll notice an Etsy "mall" of sellers making these wonderful holiday (or any day) gifts.  Visit their shops to place an order for your friend, mom, or stylish sister.  They are sure to love the cowl, and will appreciate that it is a unique, handmade gift!

But, if you are a do-it-yourself type, here are a few ways that you can make your own cowl to give (or keep, if you prefer).  note: one of them doesn't even involve knitting!

Option #1:  if you knit, and are a member of (or want to be), check out this link for a FREE chunky knit cowl pattern by Sophia Sallas-Brookwell (note: membership is required to view the pattern).

Option #2:  if you knit, but do not belong to Ravelry, then visit Erica Knits, a blog chock full of design talk and knitting patterns.  This link will take you directly to a cowl pattern.  

Option #3:  don't knit?  Don't worry!  I have an option for you too!  I accidentally stumbled upon this clever way to craft your own cowl from an old sweater or Goodwill find.  For mine (right), I took apart a sweater that happened to have a cowl neck, but was too small for me.  I simply removed the neck with a seam ripper, and Voila!  Cowl created! 
Another option for doing this "no-knitting" project would be to find an old or used turtleneck sweater and simply cut off the top.  Using your sewing machine or fusible stitch witch & iron, apply some bias tape or your favorite funky ribbon to the raw edge to keep it from fraying.  Presto!  The neck of the sweater becomes your new cowl.  You can experiment with the size depending on which sweater you select and how short you cut it.  Pick a chunky, ribbed sweater or a floppy cowl neck, add some large, rustic buttons, wrap it up pretty, and give away!

Tell me about your handmade holiday plans!  What are you crafting, or buying, handmade this year?  Email Me!
Coming tomorrow: the latest at Hillberry Home and more thoughts on buying handmade

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Handmade Holidays: Chunky Knit Cowls

I confess that I might be a little late to the fashion game, but I am loving all of the oversize, chunky-knit cowls I'm seeing lately!  They have the look of a cozy scarf, but with a lot more bulk to them!  Like a giant turtleneck that you can snuggle up with, minus the sweater attached below--

So, here are some of my favorite cowls (all Etsy finds, of course) for your browsing pleasure.  Note that the shipping deadline for some sellers (especially those outside the US) is rapidly approaching if you want your items before the holidays, so don't tarry!

If you like what you see, and are handy with the needles, join me tomorrow as I post a DIY on how to craft your own chunky cowl.  Maybe you can whip one up yourself to give as the coolest handmade gift of the year (or at least that is what
your friends will say).

Or, support handmade artisans this year and shop from the stores shown here.  View the etsy "mini mall" in left sidebar for more ideas and links!
This post is part of the Handmade Holiday series here on DD.  Check in daily to read more of the same, now through December 20th!

Links from top left: 

Previous Handmade posts:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smarty Pants: striking my fancy...

We've almost reached the entry.  You know the one--the weird vortex of holiday festivities where every week is filled with office parties and potlucks and gift exchanges and shopping trips and travel.  During this hyper-social, super busy time of year, it is often easy to pay no mind to the events in the nation and around the world.  And who can blame us?  During the time of year to be jolly, who wants to listen to some decidedly un-jolly headlines? 

Well...okay, so maybe I do, but I'm weird like that.  Read ahead to be weird too...

The headlines that have captured my attention thus far this week are:

Somolian pirates successfully hijacked a GIANT Saudi oil tanker on its way to the US--the largest capture ever.  This is second time this week I've encountered stories on Somolian pirates, and it's forcing me to pay attention.  Though the headlines seem to be straight from a James Bond script, I regret that they are very real.  Please join with me as I learn more about the plight of the Somolis--

California staged one of the largest ever emergency drills in an attempt to prepare citizens and emergency workers alike for the possibility of a cataclysmic event (like an earthquake).  My first thought?  Way to go, Cali!  I hope that the prep is never put to the real test, but I sure admire the effort.  And I think we should all take a cue from the Golden State and do some preparation ourselves.  Click here to learn more.

I confess that prior to most recently, I've been tuning-out the food tainting scandals coming out of China.  But again this week I've run into a number of articles on the subject, and I think it deserves more of my thought.  My initial impressions are that these troubles are a symptom of a dysfunctional global food system, of which the US plays a large part.  This issue of food safety, security, and provision is actually on my list of top issues that I think every woman needs to be informed about.  How it took me so long to connect the melamine conflict with the larger picture is a mystery!  Duh!

Finally, I read this article on slumping retail sales, and the forecasts for lower holiday spending.  This will be, I'm sure, only the first of many times I address the issue of spending during this holiday season.  So, to kick off the discussion, for the record I think that an economy that is so heavily reliant on holiday consumer spending is imbalanced and unsustainable.  I'm not against spending during the season, but I think there has to be a better way to keep the economy afloat than to charge up the credit cards so that Junior can have the latest and greatest toy.  

What do you think?  Which headlines are jumping out to you today?  What are your thoughts on holiday spending?  And what perspective do you have on the global food chain?  I'd love to know.  Email Me today and share!

Coming up on Smarty Pants:  I think a bit of background might be in order.  After all, some of you might be wondering why a blog on domestic affairs and entrepreneurialism has a regular column on current events?  And why I choose to highlight some headlines and completely omit others?  Some explanations, I know, are in order.  Stick around this season to hear them!

Craftivist Invitations

I posted yesterday about hosting a fun holiday party making Oreo truffles and origami boxes, and helping out those in need in the community as well.
Obviously that is just one idea about how you can be a craftivist this season--there are hundreds of others! Teach your friends how to knit, or get together to make jewelry, or throw a stamping/scrapbooking party. Whatever suits your fancy!

If you like the idea of collecting canned goods for your community (a super easy way to reach out), choose a craft, fill in the blanks, and mail to your friends today! Or pick a date and create some invitations of your own. And please! send me a copy, or an Email about your craftivist party idea!.

Stick around for more handmade holidays later this week. I'm thinking knitted cowl necks will be my next handmade obsession. I keep seeing them all over the place!
And later today I'll be sharing another Smarty Pants posts, because even though the holidays are wonderfully distracting, there is still a lot going on in the news worth paying attention to!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marketplace Mavens: Lauren Bacon & Emira Mears from The Boss of You

note: every week I bring the story of an inspiring lady (in this case, two of them) who is venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, and inspiring us to follow.

I wasn't intending to select Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears for this week's maven post, but after picking up a copy of their new book, The Boss of You, to read this past weekend, I knew I had found my mavens.

I first ran into the duo from Emira's blog, Domicile (the domestic title was what hooked me), and from there found their business, book, and more.  Since then I've learned that Mears and Bacon are business partners of their web-design company, Raised Eyebrow,
they like crafty, do-it-yourself-ers, and Bacon has hot-pink bangs.

What I have also found in the pair is a great resource for aspiring mavens like myself.  Their book, The Boss of You, is currently becoming my go-to tool for growing my home-based business.  Here is what I like about it, and about them:

*  They are good at sharing--advice, that is.  Bacon and Mears have run the gauntlet of starting a small business from a spare bedroom, and they know the in's and out's of that process.  Their wisdom is both challenging (in a good way) and encouraging, and I am glad that they decided to share their knowledge with those of us who would like to follow in their footsteps.

*  They do not believe that growing Big and earning Money are the only two things a business should focus on.  Rather, they think that small, fulfilling and balanced are perfectly wonderful business goals, and encourage them if the shoe fits.

*  They have a decidedly feminine take on starting and operating a business, addressing some of the areas that women specifically might struggle with, like paying ourselves decent wages, taking care of our minds and bodies, and following our dreams.

*  They tackle the hard stuff.  I confess that I'm not terribly great at the money and legal aspects of running a business, or at planning ahead for the future.  But Mears and Bacon make it sound doable, and their personal stories of treading through those issues are relatable.

So, if you are even thinking of starting your own venture--be it a full time career, of a hobby on the side--you should pick up their book.  I promise that it will be a great addition to your library.  Also, check out Mears and Bacon's web-design business, Raised Eyebrow, for ideas on what a successful female start-up looks like, or maybe to solicit their services for your design needs.  Finally, check out their blogs (titled Raised Eyebrow and the Boss of You) to read their on-going and updated thoughts on women and small business.

After grabbing a copy of the Boss of You, tell me what you think!  Email me at  Also, receive Marketplace Maven updates sent directly to your email each week.  Click here to learn more!

Catch up on some previous mavens:

Handmade Holidays Kick-Off

The holiday season seems to be in full swing, tv advertisements and all.  Except for the weather here in Colorado (high of 73 tomorrow!), it is beginning to feel festive.  A procrastinator by nature, this is normally the time of year I think I should start shopping for presents, but never actually do.  Often I end up surfing for the one-size-fits-all gift card, the procrastinator's gift I hate giving but sometimes turn to anyway.

Anyway, this year I thought I'd spend a little more time thinking about gift-giving, and maybe avoid the plastic-card kiosk, by focusing on handmade gifts, and the wonderful people who sell them.  If you read my blog, you know that I'm a big fan of supporting micro-business, especially those that creative women operate, and I love challenging myself to consume in more mindful and resourceful ways.

So, to kick off "handmade holidays," I thought I'd start with a do-it-yourself project.  Now, I can't take credit for this idea--I stumbled across it on Jessica Jones fabulous blog, How About Orange.  The project is making Oreo truffles and packaging them in adorable handmade boxes.

I know, I know...I'm starting with junk food, the holiday nemesis of every waistline-conscious woman, but I couldn't resist.  Make the truffles for someone else if you're practicing junk food abstinence.  Or skip them altogether and just have fun with pretty boxes.

Here's my "craftivist" twist to the project: send out invitations or evites to invite your friends over and make a party out of it.  Tell them that the price of admission is canned food, which will be donated to your local food bank (they need all the stock they can get any time of the year!).

For links to the recipe and boxes, click here to read Jennifer's original post.

And let me know how it goes by emailing me at  Also, don't go too far!  Check back in later today to read about another Marketplace Maven!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Sussie: the Non-DIY Scrapbook

I'm terrible with pictures.  Always have been.  I think I still have a roll of undeveloped film from my high school graduation.  At all major events in my life, I assign the task of picture-taking to a friend because then at least I know I'll actually get photos!

Since I got a digital camera for my birthday last February, I have definitely improved in the picture department.  At least now I take them, and faithfully download them to my computer.  That, however, is where they remain.

Not one for scrapbooking (I have to draw the hobby line somewhere.  A girl really can have too many!), or for developing pictures for that matter (ahem...graduation roll), I am thrilled that there are some wonderful services out there these days that take all of you lovely photos, print them in a book, and then mail it to your house.  No glue or photo corners needed!

I, for one, will be using Apple's iPhoto software.  I just have to click and drag my photos into prefab templates, hit "order," and Presto! memorabilia will arrive on my doorstep in days.  Of course, Mac isn't the only one providing this clever service.  If you use Flickr, you can enlist the photo printing/scrapbook making wares of several vendors, like Moo for instance (small prints) and Blurb (books).

My goal?  To start working on my 2008 photobook now so that I can pop the last of the holiday photos into place, submit my order, and permanently graduate from "photo deviant" to "personal historian extraordinaire."  

Please enjoy your weekend, and come back on Monday for another Marketplace Maven, and the launch of Handmade Holidays!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Deviancy 101--Putting it all Together

For the past three weeks I've been writing about the basics of "domestically deviant" living--at least what they have been for me over the past 10 months.  And in my writing, I've noticed that three main themes have surfaced.  Call them the Pillars of Deviancy.  They are:

1.  Departing from the well-beaten path requires courage.  Finding your passion and then pursuing it is not always the easiest thing to do.  I mean, if it were, we'd all be doing it and having a great time and making lots of money!  The truth is that there are financial sacrifices at times, as well as obstacles (both personal and cultural) to overcome.  But the rewards are...well...rewarding.

2.  Grassroots jobs are worth the investment.  Flexible, often home-based, these occupations are good outlets for creativity, they can generate wealth, and they support the community.

3.  Don't Deviate Alone.  Wandering away from convention can be lonely sometimes, but friends, neighbors and family are the lifeline for deviant living.  Furthermore, a lifestyle that doesn't seek to help those in need is not one worth living.

Putting it all together:
Next week I'll be starting a new series called Handmade Holidays.  We'll talk about crafty projects and ooh and aah over handmade gifts.  It will be good-old-fashioned holiday fun.  But behind all of that you'll see the three main themes above weaved into every post.  You'll read about women who are currently nurturing their grassroots jobs, and about "craftivism" projects that you can host at home to help those in need.  We'll chatter about finance and budgeting and the value of investing in other women's passions.

And I hope that it will be a great way to make friends and create special handmade gifts, and showcase the talents of others.  But I also hope that you will get to see Deviancy 101 in action in the lives of women, and perhaps be inspired to deviate a bit yourself.

Missed previous Deviancy 101 posts?  Catch up with these:

Don't go too far!  Check back in tomorrow to read another Saturday Sussie!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deviancy and Compassion

When I was younger--nineteen, to be exact--I spent a year living in inner-city Philadelphia, volunteering in the community and at a local high school.  It was easy during that time to be mindful of the needs of others, especially in a neighborhood where provision for the basics wasn't always easy to come by.

Since returning home to Colorado, however, it has not been as easy to be so mindful.  I am fortunate to live in a community with good schools, safety, and relative wealth.  Those fortunes make it seem like everyone is blessed, when really I know that they are not.  Even if the people in my community are provided for (which I know some are not), there are millions around the world who struggle just to find the basics--food, shelter, water, health.

I mentioned earlier this week that I didn't want my new, flexible, work-from-home lifestyle to just benefit me.  I sincerely feel that if I can't help others, than what is the point?  And so I submit that one of the key tenets to Deviancy 101, in addition to working grassroots jobs and going off the grid, is to be a helper of those in need.  Now, I haven't figured out exactly how I personally want to do that through my life and business (there are so many options!), but I know that it is important to start.

Fortunately there are examples all around of women who are doing just what I'm talking about.  Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama for instance (one of this Fall's Marketplace Mavens) recently launched a project to provide caps and receiving blankets for new babies in Haiti.  Her project demonstrates well the notion that "Don't Deviate Alone" means that as women we take special care to care for others, and to reach out beyond the shelter of our own lives.  I admire the Mama to Mama project, and any woman who is using her creative talents and passions to help those in need.  Note: she also has links to other "craftivism" projects on her site ("craftivism"--isn't that a clever way to phrase it!?)

Maybe you know someone who also demonstrates the kind of creative compassion I'm talking about.  I'd love to hear more about them and their special project!  Please share by emailing me at or commenting here.  Or tell me your thoughts on how we busy, modern ladies can be more mindful of others and actively compassionate.  I'm open to any tips or ideas you might have!

A peek at what is to come:  I'm wrapping up Deviancy 101 at the end of this week, and am really excited to start a new series, Handmade Holidays, soon!  We'll talk about some great DIY projects, oogle over gift ideas, and I'll wax poetically about how supporting "grassroots jobs" is good for us as women, and good for the world.  Stay tuned next week for more!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Only the Lonely--fighting isolation

Have you ever had one of those days when you just needed to get out of the house?  Well, I'm having one right now.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, or work from home like me, I'm sure you can relate.  One of the things I miss most from the 9-5 (yes, I do miss some things) is the daily interaction with people.  Sure it was drag to get up and get to work some days, but being part of the active, adult world felt good.  And it was easy.

Well, it is not so easy anymore.  Being home more--which I think is a Great thing!--does have its down side.  Isolation is part of it.  All the more reason "Don't Deviate Alone" is important.  

I'm no expert at fighting isolation and loneliness, but here are some things I'm currently trying in order to keep connected:

*  get out.  I know it is a superficial fix, but sometimes just popping into the store and walking around for a bit helps me feel more connected.  In fact, when I finish this post, I'm heading to Target and the bookstore just to be among "the people."  Note: I'm setting a budget before I go, though.  Shopping-while-lonely is a bad combo on the pocketbook!

*  get involved.  Even though I don't always feel like attending meetings, I've tried to join some groups this year to fend off isolation and make new friends.  Some are purely social, and some are for business.  All of them make me feel better, even if I have to drag myself there!

*  volunteer.  Okay, so I'm not doing this yet, but I really want to.  It has the benefits of getting out and meeting people, with the bonus of doing good deeds and helping others.  

The truth is that sometimes my "grassroots job" and my "domestically deviant lifestyle" are lonely.  I love the flexibility of being home more, but miss the benefits of being home less.  Are you currently staying home?  Can you relate?  What do you do to stay connected?  Email your tips to me at  I'd love to read them...right after I get back from Target.   
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