Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mini Books

I'm broke. Who isn't? I've been waiting a long time to make money from my writing, and haven't really managed it yet. So for the last couple of hours, I've been busy listing a bunch of items on eBay, including four of the miniature books I've produced through my business, Pookatales Press. All of my listings are under the name firehorse2. Today was a discounted listing day, thus my rush this evening to get one of everything listed. It can take a long time, even with all the handy tools they have to jumpstart the process. Great site, though, and such a boon to all the people who really want to work from home in some way. I love it, and spend far too much time shopping there when I should be working. So I'm trying to spend more time selling and less shopping, and see if I can start to get my head above water.

I started making miniature books a few years ago, and I'm a member of the Miniature Book Society, an international organization of people interested in small books. I tend to make more of the micro-mini, dollhouse-sized variety, but lots of people make larger ones and use quite a variety of techniques. Technically, a book is a miniature book as long as it's three inches square or less. Mine are more like one inch tall and 7/8 wide.

Currently, I use a medieval bookbinding technique, but I'd like to move into a hardback variety soon. I'm having a hard time finding thin enough leather, but I know there has to be bookbinding leather somewhere online, so I'll have to do some digging.

Seasons Greetings

I hope everyone is having a wonderful winter holiday of whatever flavor they prefer.

I only got about half of the decorations up this year that I wanted to (only the second year in a house with a stair banister and I didn't get the greenery attached to it), but all in all it worked out well. We went with a blue/silver theme this year--something I've never tried. I think next year I'll go back to the warmer tones, but it was good to try something new. We had a nice holiday, and for the last two days the girls have been running around the house taking pictures and movies with their "new" used digital cameras. Last night, the Huz and I nearly fell over laughing at some of the "movies" filmed by the munchkins--so sweet and so hilarious. Have you ever filmed/recorded a cat's purr or your own fingers on piano keys? If not, you've got to try it....

I think that's what strikes me most about this season--the sense of wonder that still permeates everything. Kids almost too excited to sleep, a house full of secret surprises for loved ones, the smell of cookies or wassail. All the things that sort of call in the magic of the season. There have been a few years where I either didn't feel like celebrating or was almost caught unawares when I waited too late to make preparations, but this year was just...different. Maybe it's because over the past few months I've sort of gotten over myself a little bit, acknowledged a few more limitations, tried a little harder to look past the hype and prep and just get down to the basics of what this season is really for. In order to celebrate the returning light, I've found it's important to first acknowledge the darkness. Could that be the gift we give ourselves? A little honesty and a little surrender of all the things that usually make us too uptight to enjoy the things that matter the most?

And for those who just found that last bit too saccharine for words, I have a movie recommendation. Just before Christmas, I found a copy of "A Christmas Carol" in the store. Well, there were lots of different versions actually, but this one featured Patrick Stewart as Scrooge. I grabbed it immediately; I mean, what's not to like? Patrick Stewart in pretty much any film is not to be missed, but as Scrooge? His version of "A Christmas Carol" is well-spent money, whether you feel as miserly as Scrooge himself or not.

I've had a pretty good holiday, all in all. The one thing I haven't gotten to do yet that I really, really wanted to do is write. I'm hoping for some of that in the next few days to come. It'll certainly be much more productive than me hitting all the after-Christmas sales, and I've that Yule ball scene yet to do. I've been looking forward to that for such a long time that it's like a little present all on its own.

I'll make one New Year's resolution early. I'll try to blog more often, even when I don't have a long entry. I'll be like...a self-discipline exercise. Or something.

Merry Winter, everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winter Solstice

As we approach the longest night of the year, I find myself immersed in creative activities of various sorts. I'm making gifts for family and friends, so there's the arts and crafts outlet, and then there's the writing outlet. Interestingly enough, the storyline of my current book takes place during the winter, some of it during the yuletide season. I didn't plan it that way; it just happened that my four-month break from writing made the time frames for the book and real life parallel each other. I get lots of funny little coincidences like that in my writing. When it happens, it can serve as further inspiration for scenes with regard to emotional content or ambiance. But for the most part--"any resemblance to real characters or events are purely coincidental."

I've been musing about how people spend their time during the Christmas holidays. There are so many activities to join in that it makes me shake my head in amazement. About the biggest things I had available when I was a kid were the occasional caroling trip and, of course, the school Christmas pageant. But for my family nowadays, it's music concerts of various kinds, religious ceremonies, Girl Scout activities, and the gods only know what else--and this year they're all conveniently scheduled for the same day, same time. So how do we choose among them? Sometimes I think that it's all become too much of a rat race, and that maybe a retreat to some remote mountain cabin might be in order. Well, that's not an option. But prioritize and choose we must; we cannot possibly be in four different places at once. I begin to see why so many people find the holidays stressful in the extreme. I think the key is in pacing yourself and being honest with yourself about just how much holiday fun you can handle.