Category Archives: Babbling

Stuff that fell out of my brain


Guess who made her first sale on Etsy. That’s right, it’s me. Who’s the badass now, huh? No pictures, but I’ll sign your forehead for fifty bucks.

Okay, it’s not really something to be smug about, but right now I feel like I won the only prize that matters. A real, live person (unless they’re a robot crusader from the future, which is even cooler) wanted something I made enough that they paid actual money for it. I wish they would bottle this selling-stuff-I-made euphoria, because I KNOW I’m going to need another hit once this high wears off. One dose and I’m addicted.

Last night my phone made a weird “cha-ching” noise.  A notice appeared on the screen that said something like, “You totally just made some money off of your art, you rad stud.” (It probably didn’t really say that, but that’s how I remember it.)

“Oh my god,” I whispered. “Oh. My. God.” My voice shook as much as my hand as I tenderly touched the “View Notice” button. I refused to blink, afraid that if my eyes left the screen the dream would end.

“What’s wrong?” Tim asked.

“OH MY GOD,” was all I could say.  The notice confirmed that someone had bought something from my Etsy shop.

Tim started to look panicky. “Are you okay? What happened? Mae? MAE? Tell me what’s wrong!”  I’m pretty sure he thought someone had died, or that I’d received news that the zombie apocalypse had started.

I had to clear my throat several times before I could answer. “I just sold something,” I croaked.

“Oh..that’s good…isn’t it?” Apparently my expression still implied that a horrible tragedy had struck.

“OHMIGOD I JUST SOLD SOMETHING FROM MY ETSY STORE THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING!!” It finally sunk in that this was really happening, and my brain cells leapt to man the battle stations.  “Where’s the boxes? And the postal scale? GET OFF THE COMPUTER!”

Poor Tim scrambled to do my bidding while I logged in to my Etsy account to print a shipping label. Everything had to be perfect. I wrote a thank you note to put in the box, then wrote it again because the first one wasn’t fancy enough. I barely restrained myself from including all sorts of extra goodies–including family heirlooms and the kitchen sink–in the shipment, although I did indulge in a set of handmade gift tags.  Nothing was too good for my first customer!

After a flurry of frantic activity, the shipment was ready to go. The box hovered in the air, glowing, as a chorus of angels sang something in latin. I’d never seen anything so beautiful.

Once I had calmed down a tiny bit, I made Tim run upstairs to tell Dave the news. I called my parents to verify that the buyer wasn’t my mom under an assumed name. That a total stranger had bought something seemed unbelievable.

It was about then that Tim asked, “So you’re sure you really made a sale and it’s not some kind of scam? Or maybe your phone was just bugging out?”

After I buried his corpse in a shallow grave down by the railroad tracks, I made plans to take the package to the post office the next day. I checked and re-checked my shipping policies to make sure that malicious aliens hadn’t changed them to promise I would wrap the box in solid gold or something. As I mentioned before, everything had to be PERFECT or the world would end. (Seriously, look outside. Is the world still there? Then the package was perfect.)

Now it’s in the hands of the USPS. Part of me is sure something is going to go wrong. What if the mail truck gets in a wreck? What if the buyer hates the item? What if this is all some elaborate prank? What if everyone on the planet is mauled by manticores? What if chocolate starts to taste like lettuce?

What if everything goes right?

Death of a Sketchbook

I have an addiction to notebooks.  I’ve never met one that I didn’t want to own, to love, to realize its potential, to thrust my throbbing pen of creation into its pure, white pages of…um…er… Wow, that metaphor got out of hand.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I REALLY like notebooks, and as a result my house is filled with them.  Some of them I’ve had for years, set aside in favor of new notebooks, rediscovered, and used again until the cycle begins anew.  I rarely “finish” one, but the one currently on my desk is finally ready to give up the ghost.  I remember the spiral-bound blank journal was a gift from an aunt when I was in middle school.

To celebrate, I am sharing selected sketches (with commentary)  from the deceased notebook, most of which I don’t remember drawing.  These doodles are usually born when I’m on the phone or trying to think of something to write about.  My hand makes them totally independently from my brain, so I’m often surprised at what I’ve been up to while my thoughts were absent.  It’s like coming home from work to find that your roommate has tie-dyed the walls and installed ceiling fans in the floor.

Keep in mind that I’ve never claimed to be able to draw.  I use the monkeys-with-typewriters method, reasoning that if I just make enough lines, at least one is likely to end up in the right spot.  Therefore my sketches tend to look kinda shaggy.  It’s not sloppy technique, it’s my unique style!  Honest!

Click any of the pictures below to start the slideshow.

Ingrates on Etsy

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on the internet lately.  I saw a disparaging comment on Twitter about people who favorite a tweet but don’t re-tweet it.   Occasionally you’ll come across a blog that calls out “lurkers” who visit the website without leaving a comment.  Almost daily there is a topic on the Etsy forums griping about people who put items on their favorite lists without intending to buy them. Let’s talk about that last one, because it’s the one I have the most personal experience with.

I, along with many others, mark Etsy items as favorites because they are my favorites.  It’s me supporting an artist I love.  It’s a way of bookmarking a product I might buy later.  It’s how I say, “OMG, that is the coolest thing I’ve seen today, but there’s no way I could ever afford it.”  It’s the way I brainstorm gifts that would be perfect for people I know.  It never occurred to me that I was obligated to buy whatever I favorited, or that my compliment would be resented.

This if-it’s-not-a-sale-it’s-worthless attitude is kind of offensive.  Shouldn’t we be happy about favorites?  A favorite is proof that someone thinks you’re neat.  Complaining about being favorited without a sale is like saying, “You said I look hot, but I’m mad because you didn’t rip off my clothes and fuck me silly.”  Ungracious much?

While we’re ranting, how about those jerks who think prefacing an insult with “I’m sorry, but…” is an adequate substitute for manners?  Do they really think we can’t tell that they’re assholes if they cleverly camouflage their assholery by apologizing in advance?  Pro tip: A comment you know you’ll have to apologize for is hardly ever worth saying.  And here’s a newsflash for people who don’t ever tip at restaurants: Everyone hates you. Everyone. I just got off the phone with your mother, and she hates you, too.   And kids these days!  Why can’t they stay off my lawn?!  AND ANOTHER THING…


Ahem.  Sorry about that.  I got a bit carried away.

Seriously, though.  A “like” in any context is someone saying they think you’re cool.  It’s a compliment.  Would it be super awesome if they bought something?  Of course.  But it’s still a little bit awesome when someone marks your stuff as a favorite, and the world can use as much awesome as it can get.

Millenium Hand and Shrimp

Terry Pratchett is dead.

I’m not…I don’t even…there isn’t…I have no words.  What do you say about the death of an artist that meant so much to you?  It’s silly to think I can write a more fitting tribute than the rest of the internet.

I feel a bit guilty for grieving; his family, his friends have the right to mourn.  I never even met the man.  Nevertheless, it hurts.  All that genius, that humor and wisdom, is gone.

But it’s not, is it?  We have bits of Terry in our libraries as well as our minds.  His legacy will never be more than a bookshelf away.  Eventually, that will be comforting, I know.

Right now, it seems too far to go.

Partnership for a Glitter-Free America

© Cbeckwith | - Glitter Photo

© Cbeckwith | – Glitter Photo

UPDATE: I just found out about, and it is possibly one of the most magnificently evil things I’ve ever seen.

I can’t be the only person who hates glitter, right?  And when I say “glitter,” I’m referring to those loose sparkly flecks that crazy people  certain crafters slather over everything to make it pretty.  Normally I love shiny, blingy (that’s a word, yes?) stuff, but glitter makes me want to curl up in a ball and whimper.

When I was but a wee sprat, I had a bit part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as one of Titania’s fairy attendants.  My name was Mustardseed or Peapod or Moonshine or Snotrocket or something, and I actually had a line, which made me so much cooler than all the other little kids. (I don’t remember what the line was—probably “Yo, fairy queen!  What’s up with you dating this donkey dude, anyway?”)

There were a couple of older kids with the enviable job of herding us munchkins while we waited offstage.  We were all dressed in tutus and wings.  One of our chaperones decided that we needed just a little something extra to make us so cute that people in the audience would say “Awww” and possibly vomit from a surfeit of sweetness.  The final touch on our outfits was…dun dun dun…glitter in our hair.

Let me tell you something about glitter:  That shit will cling to your scalp FOREVER.  This is especially distressing because it itches like a son of a bitch.  You think your kids having lice is bad?  Listen.  You can kill lice with special shampoo.  Glitter will just laugh at your toxic chemicals and twinkle even more merrily.  On the plus side, I learned lots of swear words when my mom tried to wash it out of my hair every day.

Glitter is marketed as a crafting tool, like paint and stickers.  To use it, you have to first put glue (which is messy all by itself) everywhere and then pour the glitter over the glue.  This is not a task that requires precision.  A single line can require half a jar of glitter to make sure the glue is covered.  In theory, you can then shake the excess back into the jar, but scientific studies have proven that it is impossible to achieve this without triggering what is technically termed “Glittergeddon.” You’re even more screwed if your floor is carpeted, as there is no vacuum on earth with enough power to clean it up.

Fun fact: you aren’t supposed to send greeting cards with glitter on them to soldiers.  Apparently, even a single stray speck is visible to night-vision goggles.  That means that if you use glitter, THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Parents, talk to your kids about the perils of glitter.  They will be exposed to glitter at school.  All their friends will be doing it. It is easily obtainable from sinister glitter dealers in alleys.  It’s important that children know how to resist the peer pressure.  If your kids DO become addicted, they can be weaned off of it with glitter glue and sparkly embossing powder.  12-step programs are available.

Don’t let glitter addiction ruin your life (or your scalp).

Poor Old Oscar

A few months ago I went crazy in a junk store and bought a bunch of stuff that I had no immediate plans for.  Among those items was somebody’s entire stamp collection, which filled a large box until I took the stamps out of the hundreds of tiny envelopes and dumped them in three jars.  Still, that’s a LOT of old stamps.

What I know about stamp collecting can be written on the head of a pin.  I guess some stamps are hard to find and therefore worth big bucks (at least to other stamp collectors)?  It’s unlikely that a rare stamp is somewhere in these jars, but there is still a tiny chance that there is something valuable. I now have a fantasy:

I am holding court at a party in a trendy gallery.  My stunning dress shimmers as I converse wittily with my many admirers.  (In my fantasy this is totally plausible.  Also, I’m a size 5.)  On the wall behind me is a series of my brilliant collages that incorporate the aforementioned stamps.

One of the guests idly peruses the art.  He is a short man in an ill-fitting tweed suit and a bad toupee.  His wife dragged him to this party against his will, and he’s hoping he can leave before someone tries to engage him in conversation.  Let’s call him Oscar.

Oscar glances at one of my pieces and is about to move on when he does a double-take.  Surely it couldn’t….no…wait….it IS!

“Noooo!” he wails.  “It’s the rare ten-cent three-headed red eagle stamp!  Generations of stamp collectors in my family have searched for it in vain!  It’s worth three hundred dollars!  And she’s glued it to a canvas!  There’s PAINT on it!”  He breaks down into sobs.  “How could you do that?  Did you know? Did you?”

All eyes are now on me.  “Of course I knew.  What you don’t realize, my dear man, is that art is more precious than mere money,” I say.

Spontaneous applause erupts.  Oscar is led away by kind people as I calmly sip a cocktail made of his tasty, tasty tears.

When no one is looking, I whip out a pen and write a new, hugely increased number on the price tag.