Sunday, July 18, 2010

Etsy Sellers Listen Up!

 

While I have been off at Chew & Digest Books, following my blogging passions, I have learned something VERY important to etsy artisans.

The Book Blogging niche is a completely devoid of etsy and we need to change that! Think about it, just because we don’t blog about decorating, doesn’t mean that we don’t have homes, need to buy gifts or wear jewelry. We need and want your wares too.

Now, I have been doing a bit to change that, but my fondest desire is to do more. So far, I started with a semi-weekly series called Show Your Love of Books and in it, I featured items that were somehow book related. My readers seem to like it if I read Google Analytics right, but I have no way of knowing if it transfers into sales.

I am going to start opening the series up to things that aren’t book related and change the name to Show Your Love of Handmade. We will see how that goes.

If you would like to be featured, let me know. If you have a button or some other sort of advertising for your shop, let me know that too. I am in the middle of a big redesign and my goal is to have advertising space. What I want to know in return is if you get traffic and if it works for you once I have you on Chew & Digest Books. (I may charge in the future, but not at this point)

Help me, Help you and we can learn to succeed together!

You ready? You have any thoughts on this? Comment below or contact me at chewdigest (at) gmail (dot) com

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Think That I Have a Tapeworm

 

Depending on my hormonal status, I have a week or two of eating a lot & then weeks of not eating much. The last 2 months or so, it hasn’t tapered off. Yet, I haven’t gained weight. (I haven’t stepped on a scale though.)

Seriously, I am ALWAYS hungry and am putting food away like a high school football team. Yes, I Said The Whole Team. Even the other two legged person in my life has mentioned it.

“You are going to eat us out of house & home.”

“You eat twice as much as I do.”

“Are you sure that you got enough?” 

I am going to start putting my name on the tupperware containers, otherwise I will never get to eat.”

I would like to think that it is my new medication. Excuse me while I go google………..{Insert really cool hold music here}………….No, while side effects listed include bizarre behavior, worsening aggressiveness, trouble concentrating, impulsiveness, which explains mucho, no mentioning of increased appetite. In fact, it specifically lists DEcreased appetite.

This is the point in a normal blog post where I would show you a picture of what it is about. I once again let google do the work, but there are no pictures of tape worms that aren’t vomit inducing.

I will go with this picture.

This is where I will be spending a lot of time if I keep eating so much. Come on, you can’t tell me that you have never wanted to see what being in the real dog house is like. Not a flattering picture, but I like to keep it real and while they say bald is beautiful, sunburns hurt.

This all brings me back to me having a tapeworm. I am sure that there is another explanation, I just haven’t found one yet.

 

Hey, you gonna eat that?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sunny Thank You for the Sunshine You Gave to Us

 

Monday, turned out to be another tough day in our household. We lost dear Sunny/Sonny.

Now, I will be the first to admit, it took a while for me to enjoy Sunny when he came to live with us. Check out my old post, When Animals Attack to see why. Still, we had gotten to be great friends and constant companions while I was reading. (Murphy tends to try and sit in my lap, not so conducive to reading)

Lately he had just hadn’t been as spry as he used to be and spent a lot of time eating grass only to puke it back up. He seemed to adjust to the move better than Murphy, who hasn’t left my side, but something wasn’t right.

He also bit me again, but I had my heavy knock-off Ugg boots on, so there was no emergency trip involved.

It had gotten to the point that while he was sleeping, I would actually watch him for a bit to make sure that he was breathing. I told myself that it was silly, but Monday morning, he wasn’t when I checked.

He would have been 13 later this month and while the time he spent with me was short, it will be memorable. I just have to look at the scars on my arm and he will be with me.

Art’s daughter is not taking it well. Sunny was the dog that she grew up with, dressed him in tutus and floppy hats. I can relate to that feeling, each step and loss in your 20’s means you are leaving your childhood one more step behind. So much in her life has drastically changed in the past few years and I wish that I could make time standstill for all of us.

All I can say is that I was glad to know Sunny and pleased that she trusted me enough to give him a home when he needed one.

Sunny thank your for your smiles. You went from being the new sheriff in town to having a big place in my heart.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reason #4,212 That I Am Not Allowed In The Kitchen

We made the big move. Nothing was really unpacked, but our bed was here and we spent our first night in the new house. Being exhausted and with the help of Ambien, I toddled off to dreamland quite nicely…..

Until 4:55 AM when a loud explosion rocked all of us up. Seriously. LOUD. Breaking glass and everything. I jumped up and ran in the garage, figuring that the box of not so priceless china we had gotten from Art’s mom had fallen.

No. There was nothing broken or fallen in the garage. Hmm, just where did that big boom come from? We couldn’t find anything wrong and decided that it must have been an accident out on the road. We went back to bed, but I was awake at that point.

Oh well, I thought, might as well get up and start unpacking the kitchen. That is when I saw the destruction……..

Our kitchen, which had formerly looked like this

Now looked like this….

I thought that the flat surface stove was so cool. It was a great place to store boxes awaiting to be unpacked.

Um, it was unless by putting said boxes on the stove, you end up turning it on

& said boxes slowly heat up

& the can of cranberry sauce you tucked in with the dishes finally gets so hot that it explodes

& the boxes of plates and other breakable stuff gets shot across the room

& did I mention that we made this in part to save some money?

& a new stove wasn’t really in the budget?

This, my friends, is why I shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen. Word from the now wiser, don’t put anything other than pots & pans on that flat surface.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Never Trust A Man to Pick Out A House!

 

Not too long ago I mentioned that I had never seen the inside of this house we are moving to. Many of the comments told me that I was brave and that I must have complete trust in my buddy Art.

I blindly responded to almost all of you that I did trust him, the house looked great from the outside and that he knows what I like, so it will be fine.

SMACK.ME. If I ever fall to such naive lows ever again.

Here is our new cottage

Cute, right? Now, think of the words you think of when you think cute….words small, tiny, miniature, etc. No where near cute do the words spacious, rambling, open floor plan, etc come to mind. Right?

Can you see where this is going?

I finally got to see the new pad on Monday and have been in a bit of a shocky state ever since. I am not sure if my couch is going to fit and the idea of a coffee table is a pipe dream. The closets are those narrow ones that are more like the hall closets of yore.

The kitchen? Well, it isn’t too bad, but it is going to need some serious decorating to make it look less like a galley.

Don’t you love those peel ‘n stick tiles? My mantra all week has been, “At least there will be less to clean.”

My favorite part of the new house is the back yard. There is a seasonal creek that runs behind the house, sort of a ravine and it is a beautiful jungle of plants and trees.

That is the view from my bedroom window. I know some may not like that jungle, but I love it. Jungles mean no cars or people and just letting nature do what she does. It is calming and inspiring to me at the same time.

So, the house is compact, but the yard is uplifting. I can live with that. I sure won’t be signing my name on the dotted line again without seeing a house for myself, but it could have been much worse.

The big move is happening Monday. I can’t wait until it is over!

Never Trust A Man to Pick Out A House!

 

Not too long ago I mentioned that I had never seen the inside of this house we are moving to. Many of the comments told me that I was brave and that I must have complete trust in my buddy Art.

I blindly responded to almost all of you that I did trust him, the house looked great from the outside and that he knows what I like, so it will be fine.

SMACK.ME. If I ever fall to such naive lows ever again.

Here is our new cottage

Cute, right? Now, think of the words you think of when you think cute….words small, tiny, miniature, etc. No where near cute do the words spacious, rambling, open floor plan, etc come to mind. Right?

Can you see where this is going?

I finally got to see the new pad on Monday and have been in a bit of a shocky state ever since. I am not sure if my couch is going to fit and the idea of a coffee table is a pipe dream. The closets are those narrow ones that are more like the hall closets of yore.

The kitchen? Well, it isn’t too bad, but it is going to need some serious decorating to make it look less like a galley.

Don’t you love those peel ‘n stick tiles? My mantra all week has been, “At least there will be less to clean.”

My favorite part of the new house is the back yard. There is a seasonal creek that runs behind the house, sort of a ravine and it is a beautiful jungle of plants and trees.

That is the view from my bedroom window. I know some may not like that jungle, but I love it. Jungles mean no cars or people and just letting nature do what she does. It is calming and inspiring to me at the same time.

So, the house is compact, but the yard is uplifting. I can live with that. I sure won’t be signing my name on the dotted line again without seeing a house for myself, but it could have been much worse.

The big move is happening Monday. I can’t wait until it is over!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Downside of Thrifty Treasures

 

Have a great Thrift Store in town? Know where they have THE BEST garage sales? Haunt the free sections of Craigslist or subscribe to freecycle.org?

These things became an addiction and up until about a month ago, I visited them all often, bringing home everything from dinette sets to cheese domes to store displays to candle holders to what is now a collection of over 50 frames in various sizes. (Yes, 50. If I put a solo picture of everyone of our relatives in one, I would still have at least 30 leftover.)

The haul was mighty even while the actual cash outlay was very low. Out comes the sander, the spray paint, the varnish when they come home to help in my quest for transforming them anew. It was great fun.

Then……dah, dah, dah, dummmmm comes the idea of moving. The excitement of a new pad is quickly replaced by abject terror. I have to pack & then move all of these extra mirrors, tchochkes, vases, shadeless lamps, etc.

I am buried by months of week after week of thrifty treasures picked up for a song, but most likely languishing in closets, cabinets, to do piles and don’t forget under the beds!

That brought on the dreaded sentence words that I have avoided for my, cough, 29 years. “I will hold my very own garage sale.”

The thought of being trapped out front of my house for hours on end, having to chat with people, face their scorn of my offered knick knacks, dither and dicker on prices, and even worse, deciding on time, date, & amount of change needed has always made me cringe.

The thought of an influx of cash and the sheer determination not to have to pack and lug the crap, I mean treasures, to the new pad spurred me on.

 

image

That was me last weekend. My first and hopefully my last garage sale. The things that didn’t sell finally left the house today thanks to donations and free listings on Craigslist.

I didn’t make a lot of money, but that wasn’t really the point. The whole idea was to get rid of the treasures and that, I did indeed, achieve.

I NEVER WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN! No more buying stuff just because it is a good deal. No more buying something that is ugly as sin and spending hours sanding and painting only to have really no need for it or place for it.

I need a nap, but am left packing what I felt that I couldn’t live without. Which, by the way, is still too much stuff!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Are Moving In With Zac Efron

In case you don’t know who Zac Efron is….

 

He is the teen heartthrob from the High School Musical movies and he was raised right where we are moving to in Arroyo Grande. Aren’t you excited? If I see him visiting his parents do you want an autograph?

That is about the only cool thing that I know about my new city. Well, there is a big strawberry festival there too.

I am excited to get into a house that doesn’t have a mold problem and isn’t so cold that it reminds us both of a meat locker.

image 1638116711-0

This isn’t a great picture since I had to steal it from the listing site, but it give you an idea. It is on the outskirts of the city with one neighbor, just the way you like it. Across the street there is nothing but fields and pastures. Behind the house is a ravine that I hear often fills with running water.

The challenge is this…..While I have driven by the house, I haven’t seen the inside. I am going out on a limb here and trusting Art, since he has seen the inside.

I HATE moving, but am eager to move into a place that is a lot better kept that out current house. The dogs will just have to get use to a smaller property to run around in. (now we have an acre, this is a half acre) Art & I will have to get used to sharing a bathroom. Horror of Horrors!

Even better!! There are herds of goats and sheep down the street. You can bet that Murphy Grace and I will be making some new friends very soon":)

Yeah to a fresh start, a closer drive for Art to work, & a bit more distance from my parents. (Yes, I am still rebelling against them at my age) Woot, to the new house that I get to decorate!

April 12th can’t come fast enough!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where in the World are Gwen & Murphy Grace?

 

You may remember, the last time that I was here I was doing some really heavy blog soul searching. I was searching for my passion because that was what all the know it all’s in the blogging world say that you need in order to blog.

I searched high and low for my soul, passion, cheese, whatever the magic buzzword is of the moment. (let’s just call it the stuff that makes you tick) I learned something about myself that was enlightening to say the least.

(The point of this picture will become clear below)

While I like crafting, decorating, thrifting, what have you, it is just something that I do. Like breathing, it is something of a necessity. To live, I have to breath. To decorate and have some semblance of home, I have to craft and thrift because my chosen profession brings in very little money.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the challenge of it. I totally consider the fact that I can look at something ugly and picture a few changes that will make it beautiful a gift. I like being creative, I just hate blogging about it and trying to dress it up as something fabulous.

Where was I? Oh yeah, what I really want to do is direct! No, that wasn’t it.

So what in the world am I passionate about besides dogs, goats and a guy named Art? What has always been a part of my life that I wouldn’t part with? Something that I know a lot about, yet is always changing and expanding in creative ways? What can I do no matter the weather or how sick & rotten I feel?

I read and review books, I mean a lot of books.

(I may be wrong, but I think that my dogs were ostriches separated at birth)

Chew & Digest Books was born way before MurphyGrace.com and I have been dedicating some major time to that long discarded blog. The writing and reading just flows out of me like Guinness beer water.

The moral of the story is blog about what makes you tick. This will now be a more personal place, as opposed to the all thrifty crafting decorating mish mash. If you read, come visit me at Chew & Digest. If you don’t read, what in the world are you waiting for?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bark Bark, Disclosure Time

This policy is valid from 25 February 2010 (That means from here on)


This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact  mailcybergwen@gmail.com. (This means that I do this all by my little old self. If it sucks, my bad.)


This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. (This means that, like many bloggers, I use affiliate links. They cost you nada and make me a penny or two)


The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements. (This means that those really obvious ads that you see are indeed ads and that I am not under the influence. I could be, but not right at this moment.)


The owner of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.  (This means that someone may be paying for my time, but they can’t shut me up. They can give me a book, but they can’t make me like it. They can take our land, but they can’t take our freedom. Oh, that was a movie. I am always honest with my opinion. If you smell bad, I am not going to tell you that you smell like roses, for example.)


This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest. (This might technically untrue. I should be doing laundry or cleaning right now and I am not. I call that a conflict of interest, it just isn’t your interest.)


And so readers, this ends this little post to make the FTC happy and tells you how I go about keeping the lights at MurphyGrace Home. Move right along………


To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blogging About Blogging #2

You just knew that there had to be a follow up to the first Blogging About Blogging.

I am still a woman confused, baffled, bedazzled and wonky about my bloggy plan. I look like this..

Linocut, girl, who feels confused

Linocut, girl, who feels confusedpumpurum’s shop, $14.90

First off, do you listen to podcasts? I didn’t until I stumbled on Sister Diane at CraftyPod. Usually, I pass podcasts up because it is way too easy for me to tune them out, but if you blog, you owe it to yourself to listen to CraftyPod #93: Craft Blogging. (note:you don’t need an ipod or anything to listen to these, just click play on the page)

Sister Diane made it all clear to me. I am doing this all wrong. I am not writing about things that I am passionate about, so it often seems like a chore. I am busy trying to craft a post that is a how to, fits a meme, or just plain piggy backs on others ideas. I hate it. It isn’t me. I don’t wanna do it anymore.

See, I am learning that I am more of a show & tell person, not a teacher. Being a teacher implies that you have patience and a plan. Newsflash-I have no patience and there is never a plan.

I can’t show you how I went from point A to point B and finally ended up at point C with a project. I have no idea how I got there, how am I going to draw you a map? THIS. ISN’T. ME.

So, what does all this mean? How can I stop hiding behind this mask so often?

Peacock Confusion in Viridian and Violet Faecourt Masquerade Original Watercolor

Peacock Confusion in Viridian and Violet Faecourt Masquerade Original Watercolor, by Carapace, $25

  • I need to find my passion, perhaps before I really figure out my niche.
  • I need to identify my weaknesses and try to learn to use them in my favor.

How can I do that, unmask myself, & not scare all of you away in the process? Do you think that you would still like me if I looked more like this?

A LITTLE CONFUSED - ITALIAN GREYHOUND DOP PRINT - 5 X 7 INCH

A Little Confused 8X10 Print, by Ellie J. Wilson, $18.

Are you still with me?

What are your passions?

What are your strengths?

Are their aspects of blogging that make it feel like a chore or a bore for you?

Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to go listen to CraftyPod #93 and tell us how you feel about blogging and your blog. There are some other helpful links on that page too.

Note: This accompaning art gallery was brought to you by etsy.com, but inspired by Struggling to Be Stylish and her Art Chaos.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

House Hunting Day 1

This week we decided that it was time to start looking for a house to buy. Yeah us!

If you haven’t been here, you can see that we found out that our rental is basically killing me and we have put off doing anything about it for long enough. That, and we are tired of throwing money out the window, not being able to go total DIY crazy, and it is just time to put down some serious roots in our relationship lives.

Long story short, we went and looked at this charmer today.image 1608441384-0

Beach cottage, right price, 3/2, pretty good views of the bay, nice lot, yada yada yada. I was really thrilled to looked at it. That is, until we walked in and were over-powered by the stench of cat urine!

OMG! It was awful. Seriously, my nose was all plugged up from allergies and I was still gagging. The agent tried to play it off, “Yeah, I think they had a cat…”  Ya think? They should have been handing out gas masks at the door!

So not the way that I wanted to start this serious house buying adventure. We will keep looking and live to search another day.

Have you ever looked inside a house and been scared? I wonder how those people lived like that?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Excuse the Dust this Thrifty Thursday

 

I am in the midst of doing an overhaul and have no clue what I am doing, so if things go wonky, forgive me. I am the kind of person goes along with the flow as opposed to making the plan first.

 

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wyytHe89oSc/St-fgmXa0QI/AAAAAAAANrM/PWHApafOhoY/s320/thriftthursday.bmp

I will keep it simple since my brain is full of HTML.

I bought 2 of these plastic fence post toppers for a whopping $1 at ReStore. Stay tuned for some fabulous book end transformations.

Picked up yet another jewelry box for 50 cents.

Can’t remember if I have shown this before….I paid a couple of bucks.

Sort of a lackluster week for thrifty finds, but the sun has been out & it was too beautiful to be shopping.

NOTE: When at the beach, don’t let your dog fall asleep on your leg. I have a silhouette of Murphy Grace’s head on mine. Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘tan line’. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blogging About Blogging

I have spent a lot of time asking myself questions lately. You know, those basic questions that I probably should have answered a long time ago, but I am a super late bloomer.

Here are some of the things that are zinging through my brain at all hours:

  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • What are my passions?
  • What sort of time commitment do these passions take?
  • How do I organize and compartmentalize all of it?
  • What sort of $$ do they suck up?
  • What are my goals for my blogs, yes, I have two and they are on totally different subjects. MurphyGrace Home and Chew & Digest Books
  • Then, I have tried to figure out how much time and energy I can devote to all that up there and keep my family happy and my health in check.
  • Lastly, I have been trying to determine what I want to achieve with blogging , especially doing it split in two, like I have been doing. (One Creative Blog and One on Books)

I haven’t come up with most of the answers yet, but until I do, I am going to continue to be kicking it up a notch in both facets of my life until I either explode or decide to merge the two and hope that everyone can get a long.

All of the Blissdom hoopla really made a few of us realize that we want to aim higher with our blogs. Monica, from Monica Wants it , Christy, from Embellished Bayou and I really want to go to Blissdom ‘11. We want to go from D List bloggers to B List bloggers. Perhaps go to

I am hoping that by setting this goal, we we get out of our pants without zippers and step up to the plate.

My tools in this goal so far is a copy of Blogging For Bliss by Tara Frey and all of the great resources found at Sneaky Momma Blog Design, and ProBlogger.

I am still pretty fuddled with frankly, I suck at making goals, so please excuse my dust and crazy antics until I learn just where I fit in around here!

 

Do you have goals for your blog? What sort of goals are they or is your blog totally for pleasure, marketing your crafts, etc?

Please, pretty please, help a blogger out! I will share some of this fabulous Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with lemon, chocolate and fresh strawberry icing with you:)

 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I am out of the Dog House and over at Embellished Bayou!

I am off doing a jewelry guest post for Christy over at Embellished Bayou, so head on over there and see what we are up to!

She is a blast to work with and always so ready to lend this newbie blogger a hand.

What are ya waiting for?? Don’t you want to see some my dazzling necklaces???

Embellished Bayou

Can You Rock Brownies?

 

I came across this today and was inspired

Betty Crocker-Indulgent Brownie Torte

I thought, we are out of cookies, I have like 6 boxes of brownie mix and a tub of frosting, I can do this.

Of course, I have an aversion to following directions and my sheet of brownies ended up totally lopsided as well as sticking to the pan. I blame the oven.

I had to get creative and it ended up like this

Voila, three mini brownie tortes with baby brownie chunks around them!

What have you had to get creative and rescue lately?

Disclaimer: I totally left out the part where I dropped the knife covered in frosting and it managed to land inside my UGG boot. EWW and I am still not sure how it landed in the BACK of my boot!

Monday, February 8, 2010

We Have a Winner and a Group Hug!

 

I feel like the winner in all of this because you all gave me the warm fuzzies.

Anyway, on to the winner of the Great Doggie Giveaway. I had to put on my big girl pants with zippers and not only use Random.org for the first time, but figure out how to take a screenshot and crop it. Here goes…..

Who was lucky commenter number 1?

Christy from Embellished Bayou!

She is a lucky girl because her Saints just won the Super Bowl too.

I must thank CSN Stores again for being able to do this and I hope to do more giveaways again in the future. Until then, back to creating, living, cooking without burning and posting more often!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Doggie Giveaway

 

 

The great thing about giveaways is that wonderful happy dance I do when I open my mailbox to find the prize in there. Why do I dance? It isn’t because of the prize, it is because I feel like I am getting a virtual hug from a blogger that I have never met.

Thanks to CSN Stores and http://www.toysandgamesonline.com/, I get to send you a virtual hug if you win!

Keeping with my Murphy Grace theme and remembering how much fun it was to play board games with the girls over the holidays, this is what I chose…..

http://s.kmart.com/is/image/Sears/05292919000?hei=600&wid=600&op_sharpen=1&qlt=90,0&resMode=sharp&op_usm=0.9,0.5,0,0

 

Look at how cute the game pieces are!

How to Enter:

1.) Become a follower of my blog and leave me a comment telling me so. (If you already follow, just leave me a comment telling me you are a follower.) I swear, I won’t bite.

Extra Chances:
2.) Blog about this giveaway over on your blog and leave me a comment with the link to your blog post.

3.) Tweet a link to this blog post. Make sure to include me (@MurpyGraceHome) and make sure to post a link to your tweet in the comments section.

So many rules, where was I? Dates!

Entries will close on Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 11:59PM PST. I will pick the winner when I crawl out of bed on Monday morning, February 8th and post the winner.

So, are you game?

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