Ten Things I Love, September Planner/Art/Craft Edition

I’ve noticed a lot of other planner addicts do videos of this sort of thing and actually talk about their favorite stuff.  In theory I could do that – my iPhone takes good video, I have a tripod so I wouldn’t have to worry about my hand tremor, in theory I would have enough light in the craft room if I wasn’t going for high-end professional quality.  Would stuff like this be more entertaining if I was talking about it out loud?  I’ve been edging around the idea of trying a video for quite some time but I just can’t decide if shy iddle old me could handle people hearing what I sound like.

Anyway, here are ten things that rock my socks right now – mostly related to my paper hobbies, but not all.

1 – Vampire Blood Incense – I was out of this for a very long time, and have tried other means of funking up my bedroom, but after a disastrous haul of melty wax cubes (I had such high hopes, but from now on I’m sticking to the Eco Scents website) I decided I wanted some good old fashioned things to light on fire.  Somehow I ended up ordering an entire box of Vampire Blood, not just a single package.  I’ll use it all eventually, but I was kind of thinking of giving a couple away on my blog or maybe on Facebook.  Mostly I just want other people to smell this stuff, I love it hugely.  (It’s basically a nag champa type smell, nothing like blood or vampires, unless your vampires are hippies.)


2 –  Autumn Leaves washi tape from Happy Zakka Life – the picture does *not* do this stuff justice.  It’s beautiful and very high quality both in material and color.  It just screams Fall the second you put it on a page.


3 – Fancy decorative paper clips and bookmarks are a big thing in the Land of the Plannuts.  I’ve been mostly immune, but I did fall madly in love with these skull clips:

Aren’t they darling?  They’re also low cost and come from Dallas, which meant the whole deal worked out gorgeously for me.

4 – Planner Essentials Videos on YouTube – you’d be astonished (or maybe not) at the number of videos there are on YT related to Filofaxes and Erin Condren planners and all their friends.  One of my favorite types is the “planner essentials” video where the host shows everything she carries in her travel bag for planning on the go – not so much because I want to copy them as because it just fascinates me the differences in how people use such a simple thing as a personal calendar.  Some people only have the bare necessities in case an appointment comes up, and if they do any decorating it’s at home; some people carry a crapload of stickers, tapes, and markers.  I guess I’m kind of in the middle – I carry a box of supplies (this sturdy and handy box, in fact, though mine didn’t come with a puppy), but it’s both for planning and doing doodles or small artwork, so a lot of the tools – metal ruler, precision scissors, bone folder, that sort of thing – have a lot of uses.  Then too I also carry a sticker book, mostly because it’s fun to say I’m a 37 year old woman who carries a sticker book.

5 – Mini ink Cubes – once again, Tim Holz’s Distress Ink did it first, but now everyone’s getting into the ink cube act (there’ve always been wee ink pads but this particular size and square are very trendy).  They’re cheaper than big pads, more maneuverable and portable, and, well, cute as shit.  I have quite a few Distress cubes, but the new ones I got lately were from Simon Says Stamp, and they’re hybrid ink – some of the attributes of pigment ink and dye ink, and ideal for using in planners because they dry fast and bleed less.  The set that I have has what have apparently become my go-to decor colors for this sort of thing:  teal, a sort of raspberry pink, purple, and green.  I can fit at least three mini pads in my supply box, as well as a mini Altoids tin of stamps.

6 – Six-Hole Punch from Open Industries – I adore this punch, because not only is it sized to punch the six holes in a Filofax A5, the holes are adjustable to several other sizes just with a simple slide and click.  You don’t realize how hard it is on your wrist to single-punch those bastards six times over and over until you have an alternative.

7 – Since I’m singing the praises of Tim Holz in this post already, I should add another new product he’s put out that is making my life hella easier:  Distress Micro Glaze.  Basically it’s a wax you rub into paper projects that forms a protective seal over Distress and other inks, pens, markers, whatever.  A lot of glazes and finishes will cause the ink to run or go all splotchy, especially since Distress Inks are water-based; but if you rub a thin, thin layer of this waxy stuff all over your project, you’re golden.  Just be sure and wait until it stops feeling tacky, which depending on your climate could be a day or two.  I’ve been using it on backgrounds and paper bits inside my shrines, as well as on the Ravenclaw divider I made and posted here a while back.  Also, it smells just like copal oil, a medium used in oil painting that takes me right back to my grandmother teaching me to paint.  Extra points for positive nostalgia.

8 – It’s possible there are cuter sticky notes than these to-do animals, but I kind of doubt it.  (I got the pigs.)

9 – My own stickers.  Some of what I used I made myself; other stuff I buy already made (or download and print).  Most of my decor stickers are from other shops or creators, but most of my practical reminders are my own work.  A notable exception are the colored dots I use from The Reset Girl (the video above is hers); sure, I could make my own dots, and I could get colored dot stickers from anywhere, but I like her colors, and there are only two specific ones I need:  one to mark Patreon posts, and one to mark posts here on CrazyBeautiful.  I also use a “Happy Mail” I downloaded, but I might start using my snail instead.  Other than that, I use:


10 – And in a completely unrelated to any of this sort of way, I love this song.  (Although since I do listen to a lot of music while I’m making things it might sort of be related.)  Did you know that Elle King is the daughter of Rob Schneider the comedian?  I like to say that this song has fantastic hips.

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Ten Things I Love, 9/25

Kickin’ it old school on this week’s Sylvan Points at Things. Here are Ten Things I Love.

1 – My new iPhone case.

I’ve a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to afford an iPhone 6 (or even a 5S) any time soon, but my little 4 is still hanging on.  I bought it a new case, though, on what has become my greatest shopping weakness, Etsy.  It’s purdy.  It’s also very me, as lately I’ve been obsessed with teal and turquoise.

2 – These puffy manatee stickers.

Puffy pink manatees.  Wearing pearls.  I mean, come on.

3 – The coolest sticky notes ever.

4 – Amazingly decent strangers.

Last week, I lost my wallet.  The whole thing.  Aside from the pain-in-the-butt that is having to cancel and replace all my cards, I love that wallet; it was a souvenir from my trip to Portland, and came from Herbivore in the all-vegan strip mall.

The morning before I was set to go lose hours of my life at the DPS replacing my driver’s license, I got a phone call from my apartment management – a visitor to the complex had found my wallet in the parking lot and turned it in.  Every single thing was still in it down to the stamps.  I was so incredibly grateful, but of course I have no idea who this guy was, so I’ll say it here: thank you Fantastic Honest Guy! I got back my Starbucks card and a little faith in humanity.

5 – These vegetables I drew.

I’ve been having a ridiculously good time making stickers and such for my Etsy shop; the latest is a 5-a-Day veg tracker.  I drew the happy veggies at the top, and they’ve been making me smile ever since.


6 – Fall premiere season.

Even if you take away the immense relief of the weather finally starting to turn (though it probably won’t be good and Fallish until mid October), this time of year has one huge advantage over any other:  all my TV shows are coming back.  Two of them, Sleepy Hollow and Agents of SHIELD, have already started; the rest are scattered throughout October.  I’m even excited about the ones that underwhelmed me last year…well, except for those I’ve just flat out stopped watching.  There are only so many hours in a week after all and in theory at least I’m writing a novel.

7 – Ed Sheeran.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are.

A fuzzy tattooed British ginger and clever lyricist – I didn’t have a chance.  You may have heard him on the radio lately – his latest single, “Don’t,” makes me happy for no real reason I can describe.  I think the first hit he had here in America was “The A-Team,” which has the distinction of being the only pop song I know that includes the word “pastries;” as well as a recent duet with Taylor Swift.  This is one of my favorite tracks from his most recent album:

8 – Roberto Mendoza’s goddess prints.

I love his style – it reminds me of Disney’s Hercules (in a good way). His Gaea and his Lilith are particularly awesome to me, but they’re all gorgeous.

9 – Jes, the Militant Baker.

Jes is one of my very favorite body-positive bloggers – she’s whip-smart, funny, thoughtful, and hella brave.  If you’re a body image warrior and you’re not reading her, you’re missing out – some of her most popular posts include Why We’ve Learned to Hate Ourselves, How to Kick Ass on a Daily Basis, and Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls…SO I WILL.  I make occasional posts on body image, but Jes is one of the women who’s out there every day putting herself on the line for us in the face of hate and shaming and a world that wants us to disappear.  That kind of awesomeness is, well, awesome, in the sense of the word that involves actual awe.

10 – It’s That Time of Year Again…

That’s right, it’s Vegan Month of Food (aka Vegan MoFo), when bloggers all over the world tackle tons of amazing food-related posts.  So far my favorite this year is Miss Kitchen Witch‘s series on Harry Potter recipes – she’s cooking up everything from Honeyduke’s Cockroach Clusters (veganized, of course) to her own Patronus Charm Cocktail.  The photography is gorgeous and the recipes are inventive – Apparate over to her blog and check them out!

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Ten Things I Love:

Let’s Start With Some Fangirling and Move on From There:

1 ~ Shockingblankets on Tumblr – she makes the most adorable little animated gifs from various fandoms – mostly Sherlock, but also Supernatural, Doctor Who, and a few others. She’s one of maybe five fan artists who doesn’t make porn.  This one is my favorite.  I could watch it for hours.

2 ~ While we’re on the subject, I’ve developed an intense-to-the-point-of-ridiculous fangirl crush on everyone’s favorite Brit (for the moment anyway) – Benedict Cumberbatch.  I’ve had the hots for his voice for months, but it wasn’t until I saw him in Star Trek Into Darkness all butch and evil that I really lost my mind.  I described what happened this way:

I think that’s how it works for a lot of people. You’re all, “Okay, let’s see what the fuss is about with this Sherlock thing…dear GOD, is that his REAL VOICE? Kinda funny looking, but…keep talking.” And then it’s all “I’m gonna walk over your cold corpses because I KILLED YOU WITH MY CHEEKBONES,” and you’re all, “Why, Mister Britishguy Sillyname, that shirt is certainly…snug. I think I’d like to have your babies…wait, what just happened?”

That voice, (Seriously, click on that link and listen to him read “All the World’s a Stage.” My lower chakras experience significant tectonic shifting and also OMG YUM.) those hands, and that mouth.  Good God.  I’ve got a thing for hands the way a lot of people do for butts and eyes.  Show me you’ve got a lovely pair of hands and really good shoulders and I’ll climb you like my Aunt Mary’s peach tree.

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I am quite looking forward to women all over America having a slightly perverted crush on an animated dragon this Winter.

3 ~  For years I said, “I just can’t get into Matt Smith as the Doctor.  I’m a Tennant girl.  He’s just…like a history teacher.”  But I finally gave him a shot, and it turns out the Eleven years have had some of the best episodes in the show’s run (the recent show, not the classic; I’ve never watched classic Who).  Naturally the minute I decided I liked him they announced he was leaving the show.  *laugh*  That’s okay.  I’ve enjoyed Nine, Ten, and Eleven in different ways, and I’m looking forward to meeting Twelve. I just hope Clara sticks around a while; I adore her. I’m not sure why – her sass, how blatantly flirty she is with the Doctor and how it turns him all flailing limbs and “Shut up!”, how she’s not always brave but she is when it matters.

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4 ~ I suppose it’s some kind of writer faux pas to be a tremendous fangirl of your own work, but I can’t help it – I fall in love with all of my characters (except the assholes…okay, I guess it depends on how you define asshole).  I particularly enjoyed writing the character arcs in SHADOWBOUND – as a warning (only eight months early), it’s to your advantage to think of it as having two main characters, as the book is pretty equally divided between Miranda and Deven.  That’s not a permanent condition of the series, but it was important for the story of this particular book.  As the mytharc gets more complex it’s damn near impossible to focus the camera too tightly.  And I really do love writing both of them – actually I love writing David too.  And Stella.  And Jonathan and Olivia and Cora and Jacob and Nico and Avi…oh, wait, you haven’t met Avi.  (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler, he’s the first person you meet when you open the book.)

They say that in a dream, every person you encounter represents a part of you; I feel the same way about fictional characters.  The only way to truly get into someone’s skin is to leave something of yourself there to connect to.  I’ve never killed anyone, but I’ve felt rage; I’ve never used emotions as a psychic weapon, but I’ve certainly been emotionally manipulative.  I’m a bit of a nerd, spiritually conflicted, excessively fond of trees, a survivor, and of course a snark maven.  I don’t just have one author-insert character: I have twenty.  And I love it.

5 ~ Offbeat Home: Your Gorgeous Wall-o-Goals I enjoy Offbeat Home in general, but I thought this post was particularly fun; it’s a visual way of making your “bucket list” or whatever list of goals you have in mind for the future.  You make each one visually appealing, so your eye is drawn to them, and that makes you think about them more.  And it’s even something I can do with my graphically impaired brain.  This post also introduced me to Ribbet, which is the best thing since non-sliced frogs.

6 ~ These five fonts:


1. Drakoheart Leiend – you’ve seen it on the covers of the Agency books.

2. EF Petras Script – the title font on this website; the only one of these that wasn’t free.

3. Lilith – one of my favorite serif fonts for making text interesting but still very readable.

4. Samarkan – makes anything look like pseudoSanskrit.

5. Talking to the Moon – mostly I just like the name.

7`~ “Daylight” by Maroon 5.  This song is just so lovely.  I have it as my ringtone and I have yet to get sick of hearing it.  (Just by way of trivia, my alarm tone is a violin version of “Misty Mountains” from The Hobbit. A very pleasant way to wake up, all things considered.)

8 ~ I love deep and interwoven insights. For the past few days I’ve been writing a sort of miniature spiritual memoir tracking my religious experiences from childhood up to today; just an overview, not a book or anything.  I wasn’t sure why I was doing it, since there are some things that I cannot share right now and may never be able to – events whose heavy fallout damaged or deepened my spiritual life.  But I think now the point wasn’t to share it, but to see my history as a story; I keep a Word file with significant events each year because of my memory issues, but here I saw it all in place, in a way that almost made sense.  I could see patterns and possibilities I’d only vaguely felt before.  What, you might ask, am I going to do with these insights?  Not a bloody clue.  But I feel like I’ve done something very good for my spirit even if I don’t know exactly what it means…yet.

9 ~ Speaking of big issues, can I just offer a slow clap of appreciation for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love?” A white straight guy takes on the hip-hop community’s homophobia by recording a track about same-sex marriage – and it’s getting air play on radio stations all over Austin.  That’s just…ballsy, Mr. Macklemore.  Well done. I admit the first time I heard it I got teary-eyed at a stoplight and had to take a few breaths to drive on.

10 ~ I love that I’m down to only one finished shrine in my Etsy Store, but that means I need to get off my duff and make more! I feel kind of bad for Lord Shiva; he was the first I made for the store and still hasn’t found his forever home. I need to make him some companions – maybe I’ll get one made this weekend.  The Hafiz blue tree shrine was really popular; I could do something similar with one of the other smaller tins.  Hmm…*rubs hands together with evil glee*

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Ten Things I Love: Insomnia Plus Pinterest Edition

It’s been quite a while since I did a Ten Things post, and I’ve missed them!  Let’s have one.

My mind is a very busy place this week, in that “Damn, girl, you’re just bipolar as hell” kind of way.  There’s a lot of negative muck being trudged through by some encouraging things (which forgot to wear their boots and are all muddy now).

1&2 – First, two useful tools made adorable/beautiful:

Fred & Friends Leafkeepers, sweet little zip ties to hold your gadget cables and other such snarls.

The Fill-a-Lily kitchen funnel, also by Fred, available at Perpetual Kid. Isn’t it lovely? It’s so cool when people see the beauty in ordinary things.

3 – An utterly silly and cute as hell way to corral all those skull-shaped cookies you bake:

Pink Skull Cupcake Cookie Jar  from Neatorama

4 – Also from Neatorama, the Design Your Own Deity magnet set:


5 – A Tumblr that had me laughing my ass off all morning:

Sick of “Keep Calm” prints, card catalogs, and forced whimsy? Enjoy Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table, which very simply skewers the “curated” ombre faux-vintage-world-traveler trends that Etsy and friends have wrought.  I just love the wording on this blog.  I think my favorite one is “Fuck your antler cluster jewelry repository.”  (Don’t get me wrong, some of the design trends I like, but I’m not going to go purposefully buy a crap ton of vintage stuff to fake the effect of actually having old meaningful things.  I’d rather have things that are meaningful and will one day be old.)

6 – This quote:

“Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes a part of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined. Out goes naivete, in comes wisdom; out goes anger, in comes discernment; out goes despair, in comes kindness. No one would call it easy, but the rhythm of emotional pain that we learn to tolerate is natural, constructive and expansive… The pain leaves you healthier than it found you.”  ~ Martha Beck

7 – This Cross-Stitch Homage to One of my Favorite Sitcoms:

This Etsy store is home of “Pixel People,” a collection of cross stitch patterns of famous characters – everything from the eleven Doctors, to the cast of Buffy, to Ferris Beuller and friends, to Hellboy and the BPRD, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek – it’s a geek dream, and they’re all adorable. They also carry patterns for sentiments such as “KNIT FAST, DIE WARM.”

8 – Images like this one:


This, dear friends, is a clever way of storing one’s onions:  pantyhose.  Air can circulate around them so there’s no rot, no bugs, no dents and bruises.  The reason I love this picture is that my grandmother used to do this exact thing to keep her Texas 1015 sweet onions during the season when they’re sold in huge bags for dirt cheap. (Best onions in the universe, IMHO.) When I would go into their garage it would be warm and smell of stored-things, and the sound of the outside freezer was a familiar and comforting buzz.  So was walking past and touching the long ropes of onions my grandmother had hanging from the ceiling.  Seeing other people doing this makes me feel close to my grandmother again for a moment (she’s been gone 19 years). It’s funny how your memories of someone can become vague and watery over time, but certain smells or textures just snap your attention to a moment in the past that’s suddenly clear as day.

9 – This book:

The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank covers all facets of having what she calls a “body practice” as a fat woman.  Many of us avoid exercise because we’ve been traumatized by assholes, fat-shamed in locker rooms, or just felt like we didn’t belong – ironic considering our culture wants us to disappear and believes all we have to do to succeed is diet and exercise, but we can’t go out and exercise without being riduculed for not having exercised.  It’s almost as if our health doesn’t really matter and people are just jerks!  Imagine that!  But Blank’s book goes into getting over your mental blocks against movement, finding ways to move that you love, and covers the practicalities of finding a gym or outfitting yourself for whatever activity you choose – resources, tips and tricks, and how to talk to fitness professionals when weight loss isn’t your goal.  It’s a great book and, I feel, would benefit a lot of women who aren’t fat but have their own bad experiences with exercise and want to feel like there might just be safe places for all of us to move our bodies the way they long to be moved.

10 – This. Just because.

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Five Things I Love

 1 – I love my Fraggle Hat.

My Bestie made it for me.  Unfortunately the Texas “winter” is not cooperating this year – I haven’t gotten to wear it, or any of my new gloves, at least not yet.

 2 – I love Ana Forrest’s new book Fierce Medicine.

It’s both a memoir of her healing journey and a life guide that combines yoga practice and Native American tradition – a true Spiritual Nomad if I’ve ever seen one!  Seriously, this book is a bona fide sock-knocker.  I can’t do much with her asana suggestions at the moment because of my crummy fitness level and knee issues, but her discussions of breathing techniques and the spiritual ideas of the book are a thing of beauty.  Plus she’s snarky and often hilarious, which of course I appreciate.

 3 – I love this white sage stick incense by Juniper Ridge.

Sage is a magical can of whoopass when it comes to cleansing your home (or anything) but I’ve always found smudge wands a massive pain in the butt to keep burning and not drop burning ash on the carpet.  These sticks don’t have any fillers or charcoal; you just get the pure sacred-sweat-socks smoke of sage.  It’s expensive stuff for stick incense, but one box will last me a year.  I want to try their sweetgrass, too – sweetgrass is an even bigger pain to keep lit.

 4 – I love “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes.

And not just because I want to climb Adam Levine like my Aunt Sandy’s peach tree.  It’s a really cute song (and infernally catchy), plus the video is adorable:

 5 – I love digging deep into the world I’ve created in my novels.

Working on Book 4, I’m reaching into the mythology of the Signets as well as learning even more about my characters.  I love Miranda’s strength and courage, David’s mind, Jonathan’s patience, Deven’s complexity, Cora’s compassion…hell, I even love Prime Hart, because when he gets his comeuppance it’s going to be SO MUCH FUN.  I’m working on another Shadow World Extra for the time between now and Shadow’s Fall’s release (possibly more than one).

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