Ah, friends! I disappeared from this space for a little bit, didn’t I? In the last few weeks, I: turned in my picnic book manuscript, taught a class at Doe Bay on Orcas Island and participated in the workshops of others, held two book events (one on Orcas and one in Seattle), wrangled a toddler cross-country in tandem with Glenn, returned to photo shoots on the picnic book (17 down, 3 to go, including one tomorrow, one Sunday, and the last one once there’s snow on the ground!), and found myself more inspired than I’ve been in some time. I haven’t been here, but I’ve been regularly posting on Instagram, so you can see where I’ve been and what I’ve seen and what I’ve been up to in the column here on the lower left side. Feeling good, folks. Feeling good.
A bigger, longer, more intimate post is forthcoming, but I wanted to stop in quickly to tell you that two big things are happening today. Firstly, my sweet boy turned 4. I can hardly believe it’s been four years since this wild child came into our lives. Without question, my life is better because of him. Secondly, Quench officially publishes today. So, a book and baby birthday, all in one day. What more could I possibly hope for? Double rainbows, all the way across the sky? I shouldn’t ask for so much.
We’ve already had chocolate pancakes and assembled two Lego projects (So. Many. Tiny. Parts!), and, per his request, we’re now heading out to play at Montreat park, eat hot dogs, and enjoy a homemade lemon bundt cake. Today is just for the three of us. Saturday will be the big party, with a TMNT theme because, well, we’re the kinds of parents that are in it to win it. Plus, ninjas + turtles + zen koans and ancient wisdom interspersed throughout=total awesome.
Hoping the upcoming week for you and yours is equally wonderful.
When I close my eyes and conjure up a mental image that reads “ideal book store”, it tends to go a little something like this: wooden floors (if they creak, all the better), the aroma of robust coffee, an idyllic setting, and a wide selection of books appealing to my specific interests. The kind of place equally pleasant to rendezvous with a friend for a long rambly chat or to attend solo, thumbing thru pages at a sloth’s pace. It just so turns out that, during my upcoming time in Washington state, I’ll be able to not only patronize but speak at two such places. Dreams really do come true.
Make your calendars, friends. Bookending my time at Write: Doe Bay (now sold out, woohoo!) will be events at Darvill’s Bookstore (on the water!) and Book Larder (a bookstore dedicated to cookbooks!). Best of all, both events are free and open to the public. If you live out that way, I’d love to meet you! Here are the event details:
Darvill’s Book Store
Where: 296 Main Street, Eastsound, WA, 98245
Phone: (360) 376-2135
When: October 9th, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
What: A chat about “Handmade Gatherings”, “Quench”, and, well, probably all of my books, as Darvill’s has carried them since the early days!
RSVP?: Not sure. Call the book store to find out!
Where: 4252 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle WA, 98103
Phone: (206) 397-4271
When: October 13th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
What: A chat about “Handmade Gatherings” with seasonal desserts provided by the Book Larder staff.
RSVP?: Yes! Fill out the form found here.
Happy Friday, friends, and happy autumn, too! I’m wearing slippers again, and have enjoyed several bonfires recently, and there are now mums and pumpkins on our porch. I have been baking big time, all recipes for the picnic book, both because I have to and because the kitchen is now cool and pleasant whilst so doing, (Pumpkin Buttercream Whoopie Pies! Apple & Cardamom Crumbles in Jars! S’mores Brownies! Fig & Orange Skillet Cake!). I just bought two wool sweaters off of Thred Up today, a French Connection long cardigan and a Triple 5 Soul pullover with pockets that would’ve originally cost close to $300 and for which I paid $30 (semi-annual 40% off sale happening right now!). Autumn, I love you. Fist-pumping goodness abounds.
I am currently on the homestretch of writing my picnic book (which publishes from Roost in 2016). I can already feel the shift that happens when I near completion on a manuscript. For one thing, I kind of start dragging my heels. I always deliver, on time, and I’m hard on myself to do so. This will be the 8th book I’ve written and I know myself well enough to trust that the writing will always get finished and turned in by manuscript delivery. That said, I start to, well, just not want to do it anymore. I resist, I push it away. I’m so, so close to wrapping it up entirely, though. All 20 of the picnics are completely written, and all that remains is just the introductory bits and bobs. In tandem with that, though, comes a relaxing. I feel like I’m coming up to the surface again, after living in the trenches for months. I notice projects around the house I want to get to, and know that I’ll soon have the time to do so. I find myself getting really excited about cooking other people’s recipes. I feel lighter, looser, freer.
In other non-autumnal or book-related news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention recently:
*The new issue of Grounded is out and looks wonderful.
*Love these floral project ideas for bringing fall home.
*Madesmith, for whom I’ve had the pleasure of profiling a number of artisans, has started an online school, Madesmith Academy. Learn directly from the makers themselves tips about product development, marketing, selling, and so much more. Small measure readers will receive 10% off through the end of December by entering “smallmeasure” at check out.
*I have a bowl of unripe plums sitting on my kitchen counter that I think will be meeting this preserving fate.
*I contributed to Farmer & Chef Asheville, a book highlighting Asheville’s culinary and agricultural landscape. It publishes in November and is now available for pre-order. Can’t wait!
*Really loving the jewelry of Agate and Elm. Fibonacci spiral earrings and necklaces, you guys!
*Truly inspired by the work being done at Tribe Alive.
Got any fun weekend plans? We’re making our way to our friend Tara’s bakery out in Marshall tomorrow evening. Smoke Signals makes pizza in a wood-fired oven on Saturdays, and bread and pies on Sundays. So pumped! Sunday, Huxley’s little buddy Hobbs is turning 4, then we’re dropping Glenn off at Villagers for a hand-carved butter knife and spoon-carving class before stopping in to visit our friends Meg and Alisa (this website’s designer!), who live just down the road. Back to writing on Monday, with Wednesday in my line of sight.
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley in my What I’m Digging round-ups because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. Two nights ago we hosted a “Twilight Picnic” down in our lower field. We lit tons of candles, strung up party lights, built a bonfire, and enjoyed a picnic atop rugs and blankets as the light faded. Huxley was totally into it, although he did keep asking if he could go back up to the house and bring down a basket of toys to show his friends.
I might be finishing up one book (due to my editor October 1st! It’s go time!), but I’ve got another one publishing right on its heels. Quench, an idea I dreamed up back in autumn 2011, officially publishes next month! Pictured above are some images from inside the book. They’re pictures of pictures, so they don’t do the real images justice. Trust me when I say, though, that they’re genuinely lovely. Jen really captured some beautiful images with this book, and I can’t wait for you to see them!
Currently available for pre-order, you can also give a go at winning one of 10 copies over on Good Reads. Ten copies, friends! Those are pretty good odds. The book is divided into two sections: Soft Drinks includes recipes for beverages considered “Refreshing”, “Invigorating”, “Satisfying & Indulgent”, and “Comforting” while Hard Drinks offers tipple designations like “Spirited”, “Warming & Fermented”, and “Festive.” There are also a host of guest recipes from well-known bloggers and food purveyors, as well as 10 essays all entitled “Quenched” which detail a recipe included in the book and when I considered myself to have been quenched by it. Because who doesn’t love a good anecdote alongside a recipe for kombucha or hard cider?
I’ll post recipes and more from the book as it approaches publication (which also happens to be Huxley’s 4th birthday, woohoo!). Until then, winning a copy sounds like a pretty good prospect to me!
When I first started blogging, I had no clue what I was doing. Like, none. Not at all. No one was there to guide me, or direct me, or steer me away from or towards certain avenues, including advertising/sponsorship, content, finding my “voice” online, and so much more. Sure, there were certainly courses on how to achieve blog success and to parlay a love of blogging into a viable career, but they were all away, one had to travel to get to them. Lacking both the time and resources necessary to attend such blog-schooling conferences, I considered them out of my league and kind of blundered my way through the process of crafting a career from blogging.
Fortunately for you, other options now exist, including a very exciting one being offered by my Canadian buddy, Karen Bertelsen. A former TV personality, Karen found a very successful way of taking her blog The Art of Doing Stuff from a hobby to a career. She’s ready to share the secrets to her success with you. There are very few folks I’d consider adept and skilled enough at such a topic to recommend to you. Karen is definitely such an individual. Time and again, she guides her blog’s readers with detailed instructions and a hefty dose of humor (which I very much enjoy) how to craft, build, bake, or otherwise create something. She’s a natural teacher.
Karen has created what looks to be a wonderful, information-rich e-course entitled “The Art of Building a Blogging Career.” It begins September 15th and lasts 5 days, for 1 hour a day. But what if your schedule doesn’t permit you to be in one place, guaranteed, for 5 days next week? No problem. That’s just when the class is live, should you wish to interact with other folks enrolled or chat directly with Karen. Otherwise, you can take the courses at your leisure, and there’s no expiration date on when to complete the program by. Pretty awesome, right?
The program is $250 for the full 5 days/5 hours of instruction. That might seem steep at first glance for some of you, but, really, it boils down to $50/session, an amazing deal for receiving first-person, thorough information from a highly trafficked blogger on taking your own blog to the next level. And you can do it all from home. In your p.j.’s, With a cocktail, even, if that’s your kind of thing.
In an effort at complete transparency, I’ll disclose that Karen has invited me to share her e-course on “The Art of Building a Blogging Career” as an affiliate. What that means is that for every small measure reader that signs up because of my recommendation, I’ll receive a commission. Honestly, though, I’d vouch for her whether I stand to make anything from her endeavor or not. Her tone, humor, style, and general body of knowledge draw her to me, and I think that she’d resonate with many of you, too.
Cheers to sharing skill sets and helping others become proficient at blogging and being creative, successful individuals! Best of luck in your course, Karen!