Indie Buys for January + Thoughts On My First Zines

I went a little overboard on the 1AM Promise this month; instead of only buying one thing from an indie shop, I ended up buying a total of 6 from three different indie writers, and backing two Kickstarter projects….sorry about that, bank account, but it was totally worth it!

First off, since it will be shorter, I’ll talk about the Kickstarters I backed.

#1. Abbadon by Jimmy Palmiotti

Whoo, new graphic novel! It’s funny, I really dislike watching westerns, even what are widely regarded as ‘good’ westerns…I just can not get into them. The only one I’ve really enjoyed was Blazing Saddles…and that has waaaaay more to do with Mel Brooks than anything else. I digress. Despite not enjoying western films, I discovered that I really like reading westerns! I have no idea why, but the setting, style, and mood works so much better for me in book form than movie form. Abbadon looks excellent, I love the art, boom. Backed.

#2. Precious Stone Polyhedral Dice Set

I have to give some massive thanks to Diedre from Geek Pilgrimage for this one! She had a post for this Kickstarter on her blog, and I was immediately intrigued. Now that I have re-fallen in love with D&D after starting my first new campaign in ten years, I’ve been wanting a set of my own dice. Once I saw that they had sets available in Blue Sandstone, it was pretty much an insta-back. They are going to be soooooo damn pretty!! I probably won’t get my set until the end of April, and I am already so excited for it!

Alrighty, now let’s talk zines.

Firstly, I had to order zines from Sonya Cheney. Her blog is where I first heard the word zine, learned about what they are, and decided yup, I need to start reading them. I love her blog, so I figured I’d love her zines too! And I did.


I think the main thing I love about them is how open and honest they are. Sonya talks about a range of topics in these zines, and while each piece may not be connected to the next, the whole zine flows seamlessly. Her writing is wonderful, and I can’t wait to snag the rest she has available! Wonderlust was great as well; a beautiful collection of works from many talented people.

From Pioneers Press I ordered three zines, from two separate writers. I couldn’t help but snap a pic of everything packaged up all cute!


Better Days: Stuff That Helps With All This Anxiety was a little different than I was expecting. It lists tips and tricks to deal with anxiety, but overall it was less personal that I thought it would be. Definitely not bad, but I was a bit disappointed simply as it’s not what I was expecting.


All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues by Julia Eff was fucking extraordinary. While it doesn’t quite describe it perfectly, this zine covers events from her childhood and how they’ve affected her as an adult. The subject matter is very heavy, and raw, but it’s the writing that makes it shine. I love her style. She managed to make me feel the emotions she felt at the time (with some really horrible stuff happening), and yet I never pitied her. There is never an ounce of ‘oh poor me’ despite some horrific things happening. Her strength shines through, and while it was very heavy reading, emotionally, it was also beautiful.

The two other zines were also by Julia Eff (it was a two-zine set called Pulling Teeth) and they were excellent as well. I loved that while these were both very short, the layout and design was fantastic. These were much more cut-&-paste than Cowboys, and it really added to the flow of the writing. Also, I loved that these were folded together, and when you unfolded it there is a whole flat sheet of paper full of tidbits to browse.

So after reading my first ever zines, my thoughts are that they are wonderful. As someone who loves memoirs, and personal blogs, these are like dessert forms of that kind of writing. I can already see this becoming a big addiction…I can’t wait until February to order more!


I’m Just Going To Veto The Last Two Weeks. Oh, and Zines.

Seriously, I’m pretending the new year just started this past weekend. Why? I’ve been sick nearly straight through since the weekend after Christmas. In all honesty, I was due – I very rarely get sick, I’ve been under a lot of mental stress, and once the holidays ended my body just went, “THAT’S IT. WE’RE SHUTTING DOWN.”, and BAM! Bring on the plague.

However, I am finally feeling pretty much 100% again and can’t wait to dive into my goals for January (which I am epically behind on)! Despite being sick, it was actually really nice to spend nights just vegging out with Netflix on the couch, and forcing myself to just RELAX. Yeah, the sickness part sucked, but I am so happy with myself for using all my free time to chill and recover, and not try and be working on projects and goals through the whole thing. It was a much needed break.

Today I want to talk about zines! As I mentioned in my yearly goals post, I really want to start reading zines. Why? Simply put, I feel they are right up my alley. I love memoirs, and personal blogs, and zines just seems like a fabulous mini-version of that. Plus, with every purchase I am supporting an indie business/artist/writer, which is yet another thing I love to do. So all around, it just seems like something I’m going to love.

I have to thank the wonderful Sonya Cheney for introducing me to the term ‘zine’ last year. As a zine writer herself, she had a few posts about them when I first started following her and I was instantly intrigued. Recently, she put together this post highlighting her favorite zine distributors. It’s an amazing jumping off point. There are pages and pages of zines to browse through! Here are my top picks for my first order:

Via Pioneers Press:

Anything by Julia Eff. I was drawn in by the titles, and after reading the descriptions, they sound amazing.

Better Days: Stuff That Helps With All This Anxiety by Sarah Rose. Given my anxiety struggles as of late, this sounds perfect.

Via Stranger Danger:

Always and Forever: A Zine About Friendship

Dig Deep, any of them.


I still need to decide what to order, but you can be sure they’ll be a post on my January picks! Do you read zines? What are some of your faves that I should check out?

I Can Make That

This is a topic that may ruffle some feathers, so I just wanted to say upfront this post is not meant to bash anyone. I’m simply curious on what other peoples thoughts are on the subject and I wanted to share my own!

I am a big lover of handmade goods. Whether it’s knitted items, jewelry, bath products – supporting indie shops and small businesses is something I find really important. That being said, I am also a gal on a budget. We are a one income household, and we have bills. Therefore, often in my browsing on Etsy and Storenvy I will come across an item and think, Hey, I can make that!. Which apparently to some crafters is the worst possible thing that can be said about their creation.

I don’t understand this line of thinking. Why is it so bad if someone wants to embrace some creativity and attempt something they’ve seen for themselves? Personally, I’d be thrilled if something I made inspired someone to make one like it! Yes, you didn’t get a sale. But, I feel if you are only creating things for the sole purpose of making money than you may want to rethink why you create in the first place. I have also heard a lot of negativity about peoples items being pinned to Pinterest, and how people shouldn’t do that. Another thing I don’t understand. Isn’t more exposure a good thing?! Yes, it may inspire others to attempt to make it on their own, but again, why is that a bad thing?

Keep in mind, I am talking about this strictly for personal use. There is a world of difference between seeing something you like and making it for yourself or a gift, or seeing something you like, making it and then attempting to SELL it. That is wrong, especially if you’ve completely copied another persons design. And, when using an item as inspiration for something you make, if you post about it I definitely think it’s courteous to provide a link to the original you used as a source of inspiration.

Here’s a personal example: Before I started making the woodland felt plushies, I scoured Etsy and Storenvy looking at different plush designs to give myself a jumping off point as I have very little sewing experience. I finally found a fox plush which I used as a basis for making my own pattern. The final plush did look quite similar to the one I’d used for inspiration. But it was intended as a gift, not as something I was making to sell. Even though I made my own pattern and mine was made of felt while the original was made of fleece, I’d still feel it’s quite wrong if I had tried to sell it since I used another plush as the basis for my own.

I guess my point with all this is what do you think? I’ve been very lucky to be a part of some great art/craft/handmade communities online, and I’ve seen mixed feelings about this subject. Some people embrace it and are all for people trying it on their own, and some people seem to think it’s the world’s biggest insult to hear that someone is attempting to make a product that they offer. I think it’s perfectly okay to try and make things for yourself or for a gift using something you saw online as inspiration (isn’t that basically the entire point of Pinterest?). I think it’s great to encourage the creativity and also to challenge yourself in making something that you think might be tough!

As this is a subject that has a lot of grey area, I’d love to hear your thoughts! But please keep in mind I am not looking for a fight. I have no problem with a differing opinion (in fact, I’d love to hear all sides!) but please don’t be a jerk about it! Disagreeing is completely okay, as long as it is done civilly. 😉

Can’t Get Enough. . .

of Grace and Miss Mouse Soaps.

*Photo from Grace and Miss Mouse website*

I discovered these handcrafted, made in Vermont soaps earlier this year at a sheep and wool festival, and they are amazing! I have never been able to use a bar soap before. They’ve always left me with a dry, scaly, itchy feeling on my legs and body. So I’d pretty much given up the handmade, artisan soap route. I assumed my skin just wasn’t meant for them. But while shopping around with a friend at the festival, we stumbled upon the booth for Grace and Miss Mouse Soaps. And I picked up a bar to smell (because who doesn’t love that?) and was immediately intrigued. It felt like I was holding a bar of lotion. My hands felt more moisturized when I set it down. So I threw the dice, and bought two bars assuming if they didn’t work out, at least I supported an indie biz.

But they did work out. And they smell amazing. The first bar I used was the Rosemary Mint, and it was so fantastic. I was excited to shower just to use the soap. The scent was so incredibly refreshing. The second bar was an unscented Castile soap, which is a much gentler soap and I figured might be better on my skin. In retrospect, I should have used the Castile bar first, but the Rosemary Mint smelled so damn good I couldn’t wait. Luckily, it works lovely on my skin!

*Photo from Grace and Miss Mouse website*

Also, these soaps last. I bought my bars in May, and only now am at the point of needing to order more as the second bar is almost gone. And no, I’m not a shower-once-a-week person – I shower just about every other day, so it gets used regularly. I do keep the bar out of the shower, which definitely helps preserve it’s life.

So if you’re looking for amazing soap, and the added bonus of supporting and indie/handmade biz, check out Grace and Miss Mouse Soaps! Other flavors I’d recommend just by their scent: Zen, Black Raspberry Vanilla, and Lavender Oatmeal. They also offer Sheep’s Milk Soap!

I was not compensated for this post – I just love their soaps and spreading support for indie businesses!

Indie Wishlist #1: Wall Art

It’s no secret that I have a love for handmade things and indie shopping. My wishlists on Storenvy and Etsy are getting pretty darn big and I also have faves outside of those sites, like prints from artists. So I figured I’d start sharing some of what I love here! Maybe you’ll discover something amazing too!

For this first post, I’ll be focusing on wall art – any variation of stuff I want for my walls! It’s a big goal of mine this year to buy more artwork. I’m hoping to be able to save up and afford some original commissions, but prints are much more in my price range at the moment.

I so love this print by Alex Clark, of Owl Thousand. I couldn’t agree more! As a homebody, I definitely need this hanging above my art desk, for all those Friday nights where I’m home making art. 🙂

This is so perfect for my kitchen! I’m an avid baker, and this is not only cute, but actually functional with the information it provides. Love!

I have been eyeing this print from Lily Cole for my daughter’s room for awhile now. Such great colors, and what little one doesn’t love balloons?

I am pretty much in love with all of Karen Hallion‘s work. I first saw her stuff through TeeFury, and was hooked. I especially love her Disney/Doctor Who mashups. And this one in particular, since Tangled is my favorite Disney movie (well, tied with Aladdin. . .).

Eeeee! I just love kawaii art and these stickers from LoveTeacupKisses are just so darn cute!! And perfectly sum up my feelings about ice cream.

I actually discovered Peter Simeti on Twitter and adore his comic illustrations. This one of Jubilee in particular. Be sure to check his shop – he has so much awesome work!

Where to even begin with digital artist Alice X. Zhang‘s work? I truly want almost every piece she’s ever done. She has amazing fanart (as in awesome enough that the BBC licensed her Doctor Who stuff to sell) and she has great original work too. Picking a piece of her’s was so hard! But, this Last of Us piece is so great, and I fell so in love with the game that I just had to go with it.

Amazing stuff, no? Hmmmm, now to think of a theme for my next wishlist post!


April 1AM Promise + Good Luck!

Well, I planned on posting this yesterday, but ended up spending a lovely day celebrating my birthday and totally forgot! So today it is – this months indie buys! Originally, I was planning on only doing one purchase for April instead of my trend of two this year, as I splurged massively and bought myself Adobe Lightroom 5 at the beginning of April as an early birthday present. It is glorious; I do so love to edit photos! In the end, I made two indie purchases this month anyway – so worth it!

My first April purchase was actually bought at the very end of March! But, I bought it early on purpose as it was an Easter basket gift for my little, and wanted to make sure it had plenty of time to arrive.

I ordered this adorable little amigurumi lamb from Crafteroni and Cheese! I just love him. So stinking cute!



Isn’t he just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! I couldn’t wait to give him to my little miss.

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So excited to find him in her basket!

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Had to take it with her everywhere.

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Even had to buckle him so “he would stay safe!”.

Needless to say, my daughter adores her new little lamb. Go check out Crafteroni and Cheese‘s other amazing handmade things!

As you know, I just can’t resist stuff from Scrawny Girl. She had a completely ridiculous sale in her shop on Record Store Day (this past Saturday), and I had to snag some awesome swag! Three new prints, and a new sticker pack. I am a happy camper – can’t wait til they arrive in the mail!

Along with my purchases, I also had some amazing luck in a few handmade giveaways. Two shops I follow (Violet’s Buds and Lu and Ed) were having shop anniversaries, and a giveway to celebrate. I managed to score things in BOTH of them!

I won this absolutely fantastic Divergent ring from Mystigail Adornments.




I mean seriously, how fab is that?! A handmade, handstamped ring dedicated to one of my favorite books? YES! It’s one of my new daily wears. Mystigail Adornments offers beautiful handstamped jewelry. I will certainly be ordering from them in the future!

And next, I won a prize from Crafteroni and Cheese in Lu and Ed’s giveaway! I was lucky enough to snag these two little mini amigurumi monsters!


They are SO CUTE! Not gonna lie, I totally kept these for myself. I have a love for amigurumis, in fact I’ve decided to start collecting them, and these are just so flipping adorable. They have their own special spot on the nerd shelves: on top of the MTG box tucked in front of my Doctor Who print. Perfect.

I haven’t even started thinking of May’s 1AM Promise – good thing I still have plenty of time to figure it out!

– Kayly

Local Love: Farmer’s Market

Last weekend was the final winter Farmer’s Market in Tilton, which is about a half an hour haul south of us. We decided to drop in and shop a bit since it was the last weekend for this huge market!

I love this market. There are so many vendors, so much to look at and take in, and even live music which my little miss loved dancing to! We definitely splurged on goodies, but since it was the only winter market we’d been to, I was quite alright with that. Plus, SO many delicious, local, homemade yums!


My first pick was this Pinto Bean and Sweet Potato Dip from Thompson Goat Farm. They actually specialize in Goat Milk Soap and Raspberry products, but she had a sample bowl of this dip out and it was so tasty! I’ve been eating it with sweet potato chips, which I know sounds redundant flavor-wise, but it is so delicious! I even mixed it with a bit of salsa for tacos – YUM!

Next we picked out our sweets from Rollin’ In The Dough. Is that a fabulous name for a bakery or what?! Also, their sweets are just delicious, and so reasonably priced. Especially since most of them are so huge, they are two servings worth. Unless you’re my hubs, who got a cinnamon roll the size of his face and downed it in one sitting! I didn’t even get a picture, haha! But I did get a bite, and it was so fab.


My pick was this delectable looking raspberry bar. I don’t know if the picture really shows it, but this was big. I cut it in half and got two desserts out of it!


Can you tell she was excited for her pick? This half cock-eyed smile was the best photo I could get as she was literally bouncing in her chair with excitement. This was definitely a multi-serving cookie for her! She was so excited each day once she remembered that it was her dessert.

After that we picked up dinner for that night. Homemade raviolis from Valicenti Organico. Holy. Cow. This was truly the most delicious dinner I’ve had in a long time. I was initially hesitant about getting some, as I’m not a huge ravioli fan. But, I also realized that it had been years since I’d had any, and that the only kind I’d ever had had come out of a can. So I figured I’d give it a whirl, and I am so glad I did.


The hubs selected Brandied Lobster filling, as lobster ravioli is one of his favorite dishes.


I opted for Brown Butter and Sage Roasted Sweet Potato. It kinda made me drool just thinking about it.

Talk about scrumptious. I loved both flavors, and even the little miss ate them both! She ate lobster ravioli! I about had a heart attack.

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They had these pamphlets at their booth which are filled with simple sauce recipes that pair great with their pastas and ravioli flavors. I used a simple Sauteed garlic and butter sauce for the lobster ravioli, and a red sauce for mine. I even got two servings out of mine as it was just too much for one night for me! (The hubs powered through his though, and he said he certainly has no regrets, haha!)

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We paired it with slices of fresh Honey Whole Wheat bread from The Bread Peddler. I’ve had his breads before from back when I was doing a local farmer’s market for my baked goods, and it is scrumptious. The perfect balance of moist and crusty outside, not too dense – excellent. I actually love it with a cup of tea; no butter, not toasted, just plain yummy bread! But it also makes excellent sandwiches. It’s so good in fact, that we managed to eat it all this week before I ever remembered to take a picture of it! But it looked like this.

*Image via The Bread Peddler Website*

Delicious right?

I can’t wait for summer markets to open! Yes, I know, that’s not until June but I can be excited anyway! Spring has finally started to arrive here. The temps have been in the 40’s, the snow is rapidly disappearing, and I am so ready. We have so many outdoor plans this year and I just want to get started!


1AM Promise: March’s Indie Buys!

So far this year, 1AM has turned into 2AM. I’ve made at least two indie purchases a month – YAY!

I am SO excited about this month’s first purchase. One of my goals this year was to own original artwork, when I can afford it. It just so happens that one of my favorite artists I’ve found on DeviantArt, Sylwia Telari, had commission slots available for March, and the price was absolutely right. I snatched up a slot right away!

First, I’ll give you a taste of her artwork. I am so in love with her use of color (often muted, but still so full of life), and most especially how she renders lighting. It is so beautiful. Her use of watercolor as a medium is beautiful. I always love seeing her new work!

When I first contacted her about a commission, I realized I had absolutely no idea what I wanted for a piece. I had no composition, character, or even a specific subject in mind. I decided I wanted a mother/daughter piece, and asked her if it was okay if I left the details up to her? I included that we like walks in the woods, books, and kitties. She said that was great, and she’d run with it. Here’s what she made for me:

It is so perfect! I love the clothing design, the fantasy element to it, it’s whimsical nature. I haven’t yet decided where to hang it, since I want it to be in a place that everyone can admire it!

Obviously, I was thrilled with my piece, and I’m excited for it to be my first purchased piece of original art!

My second indie purchase this month is going to be for my daughter. It comes from the amazing shop Sugar Crumbs. She makes the cutest little amigurumis, and when she posted this little guy, I knew I had to have him for my daughter’s Easter basket!

*Image via Sugar Crumbs*

I was ready and waiting when he went on sale in the shop, and snagged him right away!

At his new home, ready for my daughter’s Easter basket!

My little miss has a love for animals, and tiny stuffies, so she is going to be so happy with it. I can just picture her delicately cuddling him!

Yup, adoring this months indie buys! I’ve actually already started shopping for April’s indie purchases since they include more things for my daughter’s Easter basket, and I want to make sure they get here in time. But I will save the reveal for next month!

Do you Shop Indie yet? 🙂


1AM Promise: February Purchases

How is it the end of another month already?! I feel like February passed so much quicker than January did, but then again, I’ve been super busy with projects (does binge watching Vampire Diaries on Netflix count as projects?? I’m going with. . .yes). Seriously though, February was jam packed with art mostly! But I did manage to squeeze in time to do some indie shopping online.


I’m at it again. More stickers from Scrawny Girl Shop. Apparently Shawna (the creator/owner) has zeroed in on my exact love of her illustrations and stickers because I just can’t resist them! These guys are going to be used to decorate my 2014 planner (yes, I know we’re already two months into 2014 but I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet….shhhh….). And perhaps adding more of them to my art journal so I can stare at them more.

Besides the stickers I decided to go out on a limb and buy a new candle! I love candles, burn them almost constantly in my house, and am rapidly dwindling my supply. So I figured a new one was in order. Bubble and Geek offers tons of different soy candles in nerd-themed scents. How perfect is that?! It was so hard to decide which one to buy, but given that spring is on its way (supposedly) I opted for Hobbit Garden. Besides being a huge LoTR/Hobbit dork, the scent sounded really pleasing.


I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about this one. Blind ordering a candle is pretty risky. What if I hate the scent?!

In this case I was supremely happy!! It smells fabulous. It’s actually sweeter than I was expecting, which is perfect for me as I usually gravitate towards sweeter scents. It also burns quite milder than I thought it would, which I also really love. Even scents I adore can be too much when they are super strong for hours on end.


The above photo is after it’s been burning for about 12 hours, so it’s got a good life to it! I’m definitely happy with it, and will certainly order more from their shop.

Loving my indie buys this year. I’ve got some ideas for what I’m looking for in March, so stay tuned next month to see what I drum up!