2013, You Sucked Rotten Eggs

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:55 AM

We all have ups and downs. Good times, bad times, blah blah blah. Well, trust me when I say that 2013 was firmly ensconced in the 'low' category. Death, taxes, insurance debacles leading to abject poverty. You name it, we probably dealt with it. But here's the thing - I would like to think about the bright spots that made the year tolerable.

So here goes.

My novel! I finished and went through the editing process and it was amazing. I learned as much as I had hoped and then some. I got publishing advice and finally came to the decision that self-publishing is the direction I want to go. It will be hard, but I know it is the right thing for me.

And the other thing that came out of the editing process and my discussion of it with those around me is that I learned exactly how much support I have for the project. When you are doing something creative you become accustomed to people thinking you are a bit of a flake. I was amazed with the outpouring of support I received when people realized I was serious! Amazed and incredibly grateful.

The shop was also a bright spot this year. Our sales more than doubled! We have so many fantastic things planned and are excited beyond words for the year to come. Melina has become such a wonderful sewer (is that a word?) that the sky is the limit when it comes to ideas. Trust me, things are about to be shaken up.

Finally, the best thing that happened this year. When you hit bottom you find out who the people are that have your back, and we are surrounded by an AMAZING group of family and friends. Someday we hope to be able to repay them for everything they have done for us. And we will. I know it!

2014, you sexy bitch. You will be our year!

~ Denise

Five Years

Posted by Melina and Denise , Thursday, November 21, 2013 5:30 PM

It's weird, how time truly flies. At the same time, it seems like I've been doing what I've been doing all my life.

It's been five years since Denise and I opened our Etsy shop, and we are celebrating with a 15% off all regular priced items sale (coupon code 'anniversary'). I can't believe it's been that long, and it feels like it should have always been there. Props must be given at this point, if it wasn't for our good friend Kerry, we aren't sure we would have considered Etsy at all. She has the store, Effiehandmade. Thank Kerry. You are a gem.

I think it was 4 years ago I bought my beautiful Viking emerald 115 sewing machine. It is a trooper, poor thing. Also, I love now making all the patterns and product designs. Denise gives me ideas and has her input in my pattern/designs too.

Denise is a writer, but I've loved seeing her use her obvious visual artistry skills and watch her confidence grow. She never makes anything less than fab.

Pleased to say that our store has continuously gotten busier.  We will keep adding new products. And keep working harder to make our shop more successful.

Hmmm, I wonder were we will be in 10 years?

-Melina. :D

Learning Stuff ... About Zombies

Posted by Melina and Denise , Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:01 AM

When we started the shop it was with the sole purpose of making money to help us reach our goals. Melina loves sewing and I love jewellery so it seemed like a worthwhile effort. It has helped more then we ever thought it could have and taught us tons of things that we will use in other areas of our lives. For instance, in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, chainmail armour will be at a premium. And a knitting needle roll doubles nicely as container for a weapons kit.

There are other things we have learned since starting the shop that some would argue are more important. I will say they might be of more immediate concern, but not MORE important than zombies. Nothing is more important than zombies.

I am now conscious of the importance of buying handmade. People complain all the time about box stores taking over, the alternative is the wave of handmade items available at the click of a mouse. Let's face it, there is no avoiding shopping at the corporate giants entirely, but I feel great when I buy a gift from a crafter or artist. Maybe in my small way I am contributing to a shift in the world towards supporting the little guy. Wouldn't that be a great world to live in?

In the meantime, I will continue to to plan my zombie strategy.

Computer is Back and It's Time for Samhain!

Posted by Melina and Denise , Friday, November 1, 2013 12:52 PM

I had to go a few days without my laptop because the adapter was fried. A few days - no big deal, right? Hells yeah it was a big deal! I felt downright Amish! OK, I did have modern plumbing, but you get the idea. Now that I have back I am a blogging, Tweeting, Etsy-working fool!

I had my computer back in time for the Witchy New Year of Samhain. People often ask what we do that is different than most people's celebration of Halloween. It is always one of the best nights of the year. This year we worked our goals into a brand new ceremony / spell that we will work until next Samhain to help us with our goals.

Let's start with the beginning of our night. This is consistent from year to year. We always take out photos of loved ones who have passed and arrange them in a nice display. Yes, we include our pets in these photos. They are family. Samhain is a time to remember those that have passed on and tradition is to set a place at the table for them. We don't have a lot of space here, so me make do with one place and consider that all of loved ones get along enough to share. lol! It sounds sad, but it really isn't. It is an amazing thing to feel close to the spirits of those who have gone before us.

This year we did a few other things. The past year has been ... challenging. We wanted to focus on positive change and on what we will have happen in the coming year.

We carved spell candles marking our intentions for the year. Melina made a lovely beeswax candle for the season with appropriate herbs and oils, again, for the coming year's intentions. The truly new thing was our spell jar. We cut out strips of paper and wrote one of our intentions for the coming year on each one. We added appropriate herbs to the jar. This will be used throughout the year in our workings.

It was a wonderful night. Today truly feels fresh and new and wonderful. 


Family Break

Posted by Melina and Denise , Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:21 AM

As we are struggling and managing to bounce back from the insurance drama, we are especially grateful for happy moments along the way. We had a big one a few weeks ago with a wonderful family  wedding. My sister Donna got married!!!

Donna and Jean
Honestly, their story is a bit redonkulous. They have been friends since high school and after many years of close friendship, Donna being married and having two beautiful daughters, they found their way to each other. And to quote Donna directly, "I married the man who makes my heart smile".

It was a small ceremony at a beautiful restaurant here in Halifax. Very posh. AND they made us yummy vegan food, which was a plus. Melina and I sat next to a wonderful couple who lived in the UK at one point, so we talked British TV all night. Delightful.

And living a few hours away from home and not owning a car, it is rare that all five sisters and my parents can get together. It was such a wonderful blessing to be able to spend time with all of them. Diane was so thoughtful and bought Donna a bouquet which she didn't know she wanted. Darlene wore this blue dress and looked SLAMMIN'. Seriously, she looked awesome. We may all be slightly jelly, and I speak for myself here. 

We got to spend a little extra time with my sister, Debbie and her husband David. Growing up they were a little like my second parents. They took me on amazing camping trips every summer and these are some of my very best memories. Melina has grown to love them as much as I do. Any time spent with them is extra special.

It was especially wonderful to see my parents. The look on my dad's face brought tears to my eyes as he was thrilled to see Donna blissful. My mother was glowing with joy at seeing her daughter so happy. Beautiful.

The other night we drank the wine that was the wedding favour. It was a particular vintage put out in homage of my people, the Acadians. Or as Melina put it, "It is the wine of pain and suffering?". lol Well, it was yummy! And it was so nice to remember such a beautiful day.

~ Denise

Sherlock, In His Own Words

Posted by Melina and Denise , Friday, September 13, 2013 5:06 PM

In His Own Words, Sherlock in the Valley

Well, I guess my Mamas are talking about relocating to the country. Pip pip. I have always wanted a country estate. Might I play polo? I must have country pursuits, and I certainly shall not hunt. I will need to order new stationary.

There are so many decisions to make, oh my.

Sherlock's Mama asks, "Sherly, how will you spend your days when you live in the country?"
"Oh, Mama. I shall write letters."

Ummm, is that all?
"I suspect I also will watch the birdies and make odd crying/spitting noises."

Is that entirely appropriate, Sherlock?
"Well, I am a cat. I cannot be something I am not."

But you are always trying to be a proper British gentleman, not a cat. 
"Mama, what are you saying? I will not sit here and be insulted!"

Sherlock? Sherly, come back!

-Melina :D

Best House Ever

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:07 AM

Yesterday was the best day we have had in a long long time.  Why?  Because we got to visit the BEST HOUSE EVER!

Our friend, Mary, came to pick us up and we went to her house for the very first time. Her gorgeous house outside of the city. YAY! The simple fact of being surrounded by trees was almost enough to qualify this for the BHE title. It has been so long since I have had anything but concrete and loud neighbours around me that I had forgotten what silence was like.

Well, almost-silence, because guess what else there was in the house. ANIMALS AND A BABY!!!! And not just any baby but a baby so adorable that every time a new photo is posted on Facebook, Melina and I both yell "Liiilllyyyyyy" with glee. Dainty little 10 month old girl with the bluest eyes and having of the longest lashes you have ever seen. I will admit that I am putty in her teeny little hands.

And are you ready to hear about the animals? You can never really be ready for this pure AWESOMENESS!  Two big dogs, one of whom was an immense love sponge, seven cats and a wee little foster kitten. There were animals everywhere and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Lily was sat on the floor the entire time we were there and played with toys, and her interaction with the animals was enough to make me cry. They were so comfortable with each other. Anyone who claims "I have to get rid of my cat / dog because I am pregnant and what if they hurt the baby" should visit this house.
Little wee Prince, but I think his name should be Jack
Sorry to invite people over, Mary!

I would show you photos of baby with animals but it is not my child so I want to be respectful. You will have to take my word for it.
Beautiful Ariel and Angus
In so many ways this is the life that we are working so hard for. The house may be further in the country, but the chaos and love of all the animals running around is a dream. It is THE dream.

~ Denise

I got permission for Lily pics!

Pinchy Pennies

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:35 PM

As so many of you know, we have hit a block in making it towards our goals. Insurance companies SUCK and have led us to creating a bit of a debt and we are working on paying off every penny. We have had to find ways to make our money go a lot further. Cheap and delicious and healthy meals? Sure thing! Enter the Happy Herbivore.

We have recommended the Happy Herbivore to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen. The recipes are super easy, they are all healthy and rely on very easily found ingredients.

The first is probably our very favourite. Black Bean and Salsa Soup.

This recipe looks so simple, but it is amazingly delicious. I have cravings for this soup. Cravings. Like, I-will-never-live-without-it kind of cravings. And it is so cheap! YUM!!!

Now, as we are vegan, beans are a big part of our lives. Love it! The next great, and cheap, recipe we love is for Black Bean Burgers.
Now here is the thing about bean burgers - do not expect them to be the same texture as a faux meat burger. Make sure you cook them long enough, and I substitute the ketchup in the recipe for BBQ sauce. A nice bun and DEELISH! Who says vegans don't eat yummies?

And now for something completely different, or in this case without black beans, is this amazing Chana Palak Masala.
This is super versatile. We usually have spinach and some other veg in the freezer. One time, I had already started cooking when I realized that we had no spinach but we did have some frozen asparagus. And you guessed it - DEELISH!! Seriously, these recipes are no fail!!

It makes me feel like we can do this. We WILL get out of debt and we WILL make it to every single one of our goals, and we'll be healthy doing it. Hells yeah!

** All photos come from the amazing Happy Herbivore website. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Dumb Fun

Posted by Melina and Denise , Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:34 PM

So, I'm trying to have more fun. And learning something new is always good, right?

Starting with something nice and simple, you know, not 'home rocket-making for newbies'. Manicures. I have hands. Two of them in fact. 

If any of you have ever visited Pinterest, you probably have new hobbies now too. Mixing white vinegar and original blue Dawn is revolutionary. I laugh in the face of soap scum.

This is one of my favourite colour combos and techniques.

-Melina. : D

Between doing her nails and Skinnygirl Margaritas, she may never leave the house again.

~ Denise

And Once You Hit Bottom, You Bounce Back Up!

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:02 AM

It is no big secret that the road to our goals has hit some major road bumps in the past few months. Let's face it, the insurance company crapped on us, we had our sick cat. All of it almost managed to beat us down, but the end result is quite different.

I have to mention some badness first. One of the very first goals that I mentioned was us going to see the Mission in Toronto in September. That has had to be postponed. Postponed, not cancelled. This means more to Melina than anything and I have promised her that one day somehow we will see them. Who knows, the lead singer lives in Brazil. Maybe we will go visit the Brazilians and use the Samba skills we learned in Zumba! LOL!

We may be laughed at, and mocked, and possibly kicked out of the country ...

Now here is the good. Obviously we have to rebuild some savings and pay off some debts that are the result of all of the insurance drama. I will always be limited as to how much work I can do at a 'regular' job. I have worked at 40 hour + jobs before and the result is always messy. I do fine when I am anywhere in the stable to manic range, but as I start to cycle down - which is inevitable - I can't maintain any kind of sanity. What I do instead is I work my 25 hours a week at a decent job and come up with ways to supplement. The Etsy store is part of that.

Now I have bitten the bullet and decided that if I have a skill that I can use then I HAVE to use it. Even if it is scary. Thus the genesis of Witchy Kitty Tarot Readings.

Solstice always keeps a close eye on things. I can't do it right without her.

I do the readings by email. This was a really scary thing to start. I have been reading cards and learning about them for roughly 10 years now, but any time you put yourself out there and say "Hey, I am good at something", it is scary as Hell.

In the two weeks that I have been doing this though, it has been amazing. Doing the reading in writing is the perfect medium for me. That is how I best express myself, and I honestly think that I connect more deeply with the cards this way. And the fact that the people I have read for have said that the messages in the cards had deep meaning for them was so humbling. I feel like I have found something that I want to do, that I can do well, and that I can help people with. It is a great feeling.

Melina has her own ventures she is looking into. I will leave them to her to discuss. :)

~ Denise


Posted by Melina and Denise , Friday, July 5, 2013 12:43 PM

You know that feeling when your world is suddenly turned upside down? Time stretches out in an endless predictable highway of home, work, home, work. Then, everything stops. 

That happened to us on Tuesday. Vanian wasn't peeing, just straining in the litter box. I won't go into the desperate struggle to get him to the emergency vet, then to our vet the next day, begging for rides and money and to please leave work early. He is home and ok. 

The point of this post is perspective. When a crisis hits, your view changes. What matters changes.

In our case, being financially able to take care of our babies and ourselves. We need a car, this must take priority. And before that, building up savings and paying off debt.

And, perhaps most importantly, being grateful for our family and friends. Cuddling babies is a privilege. 

Cuddle yours.  



Posted by Melina and Denise , Wednesday, June 26, 2013 7:59 AM

We've been absent for a bit. Life, health and hardships got us off track. I am not going to dwell on the bad because I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel and am ready to focus on what this blog is all about - GOALS! 

Most relevant to us right now is the goal to see the Mission play in Toronto in September. For those just joining us, this goes beyond being on Melina's bucket list. This might just BE her bucket list! Anyone who has ever connected to a piece of art and been changed by it should begin to understand how Melina felt about the Mission in her difficult teens. We are going to make this happen. The setbacks we have had lately have had a huge impact on us financially, but I refuse to allow this to impact us taking this trip! My hands have bled from making jewelry. I will make this happen!

Long term, the goal remains that house in the country, being a full time writer. Why do I want to live in the Annapolis Valley? Because this is what it looks like:

The feeling of peace I have when there is indescribable. It is like coming back to my true home. 

Every morning I will spend a few minutes centering myself and focussing on what I am working towards. We have also been getting Witchy with it again, but that sounds flippant. It is important because in truth I have been connecting with faith again and that could not be a bigger deal. 

Working every angle to make these goals reality. We're back!!

It Would Be Easier to Be Crazy

Posted by Melina and Denise , Wednesday, May 1, 2013 11:55 AM

You know what I mean, just completely bat-shit crazy. Drooling in my shoes, nothing medically wrong but just completely wackadoodle nuts. People have a certain respect for crazy. They call it 'eccentric' or 'unique' or 'creative'.

You know what they often don't have respect for? Actual diagnosed mental illness. I'm tired of people who should know better not having a clue. Insurance people questioning why I am not seeing a therapist. Guess what, bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance, and if I need talk therapy it will be with a psychiatrist who is also equipped to treat a medical condition. It is not a problem that will be solved if I just talk about my feelings and figure out if I was potty trained too soon.

"So, your doctor just gives you pills for it?" YES! If you are diabetic you will get insulin, if you have a thyroid problem you might get synthetic hormone. I have an imbalance, I get pills.

I was diagnosed 16 years ago, and have dealt with the repercussions of that diagnosis ever since. Even though I am well-managed, I still have times like now where I am incapacitated. It halts all progress towards my goals. I am open with people about my illness because if they don't hear it from me it becomes a secret that is whispered about. I accept that my credibility will go down the moment people find out. I would rather have it be out in the open.

The illness can be tough but I don't want pity; I want understanding. When that isn't possible I'll take simple acceptance.

But it would still sometimes be easier if I could just say I was crazy.

~ Denise

In Her Own Words, Solstice Goes Country

Posted by Melina and Denise , Tuesday, April 9, 2013 9:59 PM

Solstice sits down with her mom,  and talks about her feelings about moving to the valley.  What her mom wants to know, will she go country?

'OMG, what do you want???' Solstice being obnoxious.

Mom: "Solstice, how do you think you'll adjust to life in the country?"

"What do you mean countries? I live in one, stupid" 

"Solstice, I mean moving into a rural area."

"Oh, it's still stupid. Who's going to see me in my Escalade? I have spinning rims for a reason, bitch."

Mom: "You don't have an Escalade honey, never mind one with spinning rims. Won't you have fun looking at birds and squirrels through the window?"

"What do I look like, a simpleton? I got calls to make, people to see. I'm not gonna look out the window like some loser. My stupid brothers do that shit"

'I do all the work around here!' Solstice pretends to write.

Mom: "Solstice, you are being terrible right now. This is an interview."

"I gotta go call my McGean's. She's can tell you this is bullshit. I'll go live with my bestie."

Mom: "Solstice, you can't live with McGean's. She's allergic to cats."

"She's not allergic to me, bitch."

Mom: "Solstice!"

"Yeah, well I don't have time for this crap, I'm leaving..."

  Solstice is not happy. 

~Melina  :D

An Editor Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Posted by Melina and Denise , Tuesday, April 2, 2013 8:43 AM

I had no idea what to expect when I sent my novel off to an editor. I was scared. Really scared. Possibility of vomiting scared. Now, I don't know if all editorial experiences work out like mine did, but it was worth every barfy second.

I had been given the date when she was starting to work on my novel, and that morning I received a prompt email from the lovely Genevieve Graham. She outlined a little about how she would work, emailing questions as they came along. 

This was one of the greatest things about the process and Genevieve specifically: the constant contact. We communicated by email every day multiple times. She would always ask for clarification before making a change and explained her reasoning clearly. She was also open to any questions I had about the writing and publishing process. Trust me, some of these must have been annoying. I am a classic newbie.

I was completely unprepared for how stressful this process would be. I thought turning the piece over to a stranger would be the hardest part, but it went far beyond that. Writing means everything to me. The fear that I would be told I was wasting my time was paralyzing. I always thought I was fairly confident about my writing, instead each critique had the potential to break me. Luckily, Genevieve was so constructive and kind that these concerns were never realized.

I now have an edited novel to work with. Just a few tweaks here and there. I am SO happy with the result, I can't even tell you. And I have such an amazing feeling of accomplishment! 

Look, she even made up a mock cover to include on her own website!
Now on to the next step: publication!

~ Denise

In His Own Words; Vanian in the Country

Posted by Melina and Denise , Monday, March 25, 2013 11:25 AM

"My moms want to go to the countries. I don't know, I have bongos and stuffs...

They talks all the times about going to the Valley. I don't know where that is but I think it's scary. Like all full of socks and stuffs. And I bet there's shoes, oh, they are too scary for me. I'll hide behind the sofa, maybe."

Mom asks, "Vanian, wouldn't you like to watch the birds and squirrels through the windows?"

"Maybe. Ummm, maybe I could play my bongos for them? You know, if they aren't too scary and stuffs. I don't like to be laughed at, so they can't do that either."

Mom, I'm sure your going to love having a big house to run around in? 

" Are we bringing my brothers and sister too?" Mom, Yes Vanian, you know we are.
"Oh, umm, I guess. I like to run and run. I love to trot up the stairs. "

Mom: "Will you want to work in a bigger library?"

"What???" Mom, "Yes, we'll have a bigger library."

"OMG! Really? Oh, I would have to train the kittens, and I'd need some new equipments. And a comfy chairs and stuffs.

"Ok, I'll go start packing mom..." Mom, "Vanian, we aren't going anywhere yet... Vanian? Vanian?"

Loose Ends

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, March 16, 2013 10:59 AM

My life is pretty busy though I think most people think I spend most of my time sitting around watching reality television. Don't get me wrong; there is lots of reality TV, the more vapid the better. A Real Housewives marathon is enough to make us squeal with joy, but mainly because it doesn't require us to turn our brains on while we are doing other work.

Our living room is a production area with sewing and chainmail zones. The only thing that is a constant during all of that Etsy work is writing. No matter what else I am doing, whether at the day job or chainmailling or laying in bed trying to fall asleep, for so long all I can think about is the novel. What is the next chapter? Did that last part work? When can I find the time to get a few more pages done?

I have been driven to get the first novel done as it seems a hurdle that I have to get over. I did it and now it's in the hands of an editor because the next step is to receive feedback and learn from it. 

Where does this leave me right now?

I have been making more jewelry and spending more time on the shop, but there has been a hollowness that I couldn't explain. Like no matter how much work I did in these areas it is not really productive. What is missing is that underlying drive to work on that project that means everything to me. 

It's like my brain doesn't know what to do with the spare time.

I want to be a writer more than anything, but I don't want to be a writer without a house. Without a car. I don't want to be an unhealthy writer who doesn't take the time to take care of herself. Writing can't be the only thing I think about.

I need to work on the rest of my life and not be so single-minded in my focus. I have now idea how to do that, but I guess learning is just another goal.

~ Denise

Veronica Mars Movie! Ch ch ch changes ...

Posted by Melina and Denise , Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:12 AM

It's official, there will be a Veronica Mars movie! This marshmallow woke up yesterday to the news that it was a possibility and was glued to my computer all day watching for updates as to when it would be declared official. I know I am not alone.

Veronica Mars was a great show with amazing writing and fantastic characters but let's be real, the fact of a movie coming out should not really fit in to a blog about goals. The real news here is HOW this happened. It didn't come from network execs, who pretty much thwarted the progress of this project at every turn. No, something different had to happen if the fans were to get what they wanted and that is CROWDFUNDING!

A Kickstarter campaign was started yesterday with a goal of 2000000.00 and in one day that goal was reached! It set records along the way and showed that maybe the old way that art gets made is outdated.

No longer should we have to wait for some mucky muck with money to decide our idea is valid. I myself used crowdfunding through Indiegogo to pay for the editor who will work on the novel I wrote. The fact is that the only way I can improve is through feedback and this is the way to do it. There was no way I could afford it myself so I put out the request and so many wonderful people came through. Grateful does not begin to describe how I feel.

All you have to do is browse through Kickstarter and Indiegogo and you'll see tons of amazing projects that are worthy of funding. Dance, art, writing, film - ventures that have traditionally been dependant on an 'industry' deciding if they are valid, and by that I mean money-making, now have the chance to see the light of day if enough people think they are interesting. For any artist, even small time wannabe writers like myself, this is an EXCITING prospect! And when I think of how it could help Melina and her painting career I can barely contain myself. She is so talented, but the art world is so very incestuous and insular, and her butt-kissing skills so very lacking, that this could someday be exactly what she needs.

The success of the Veronica Mars campaign is not just exciting for us fans, those two who participated in the Veronica Mars Hunker of 2006-2007, but for every artist in every field who may have worried they would not get the support of the industry they were trying to infiltrate. A campaign this size can only bring more attention to the idea of crowdfunding, and we will all benefit from that.

For now, later Marshmallows!

~ Denise

Feeling Naked!

Posted by Melina and Denise , Friday, March 8, 2013 8:19 AM

I received an email from the editor I will be working with to tell me that she will be starting on it during the week of March 18th. Time frame! Now I know exactly when the worst of the terror will set in.

I feel like a wimp. Unless it involves speaking in front of people, which is shocking as I have such a big mouth, I don't generally feel like I am going to vomit at the thought of doing something. I spend most of my life without barfy feelings. But the thought of having someone else, a total stranger, read something I have worked on for so long and critique it is horrifying. It is also necessary.

Luckily, I can handle criticism where writing is concerned. It is possibly the only area in which I have any confidence. This just confuses me that much more; why am I so frightened?

I think the bottom line is that I can handle general criticism, but what if she comes back and says "You have been deluding yourself and you have no talent and you can never be a writer go whistle!" OK, maybe not the last part, but you get my drift. I've always had great feedback on my work, but that was mostly from people who are a little biased IE. friends and family. And it was also about short pieces I wrote. Writing a novel is a totally different story, which I learned with every page I completed.

I try to focus on this as a learning process, but I can't lie and pretend that I am not scared and feeling more than a little exposed. What keeps me sane is that I am also pretty darned proud of myself for taking this step in spite of the vomity feelings.

With all of this talk of writing, I should probably link to a few stories I have had published to give an idea of what I have done. Here they are: HimThe WarningGrandfather's Day.

I am going to sip my ginger tea to settle my tum tum and wait out the month.

Babies, Babies, Babies

Posted by Melina and Denise , Tuesday, March 5, 2013 9:41 AM

I love kids. In fact, I am kind of a baby fanatic. When I worked retail, if a baby came into my department everything stopped until I was done cooing and loving on them. Truth be told, I always thought I would be one of those people who had 10 kids, but as my life went on I just never hit a time where I felt like I was ready. I could still adopt; it is not out of the question. But I discovered something that sort of took me by surprise: I love animals!

I don't just mean dogs-are-cute, cats-are-fluffy kind of love. It is more than that. I have come to believe that my purpose in life is to take care of those animals who may not have a home, who need love. We have 4 cats who were rescues and they are the babies I never predicted having.

Sherlock (photobombed by Banshee)

I am vegan because of my love of animals. I dream that someday I can start a farm sanctuary. I try to wrap my head around how someone can hurt an animal, wear fur or skins, hunt endangered species. I can't! I can't imagine my own comfort being more important than the suffering and death of another creature. It confuses me and makes me sick. My life would be easier if I COULD understand, but it is too much.

Right now taking care of my babies is the way I put my life's purpose into action. They need me. Someday I will be able to broaden my reach. More animals who need love. And maybe that is what I am meant to do instead of being birth mom.

I am OK with that.

~ Denise

Working My Way

Posted by Melina and Denise , Saturday, March 2, 2013 10:51 PM

So, as Denise has said already in this blog, we are doing what we can to fulfill our dreams.

A part of that is working very hard on building our business, and for us, that means quite often special orders. Custom requests.

I personally love the challenge and the back story of doing something specific for the customer.

This is a photo essay of one I recently completed.

As you can see this was a custom book cover, and this is the process of making one. Custom pattern as well.

Till next time, keep on truckin'.

~ Melina

I am so proud of how Melina's custom business has grown since we started the shop. I guess it was inevitable based on how good she is at what she does.

~ Denise