Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year, and I've decided to help spread the word about buying handmade and from small businesses this season. I've been tweeting a few shops, but those are easily missed, so I'm going to collect them all in this blog post and update as I share more. These are all companies I've either purchased from and/or know the owner well, so I will personally vouch for any of these suggestions. If you'd like to add your own in the comments, feel free, but I won't back any I don't know. (The "owner" I list under each is to the best of my knowledge. I apologize if I leave out any co-owners/spouses I'm not aware of.)

Small businesses are good for the economy, and handmade items are often very eco-friendly. I believe in shopping with these businesses as much as possible, for the good of all.

With that said, here we go! (In no particular order.)


Tuesday's Dreams
Owner: Marti Dickinson
Sells: Handmade fabric plushies, some tie-dyed clothing, and her mom's handmade quilts.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TuesdaysDreams
My fave: Amelia the Neon Rainbow Striped Whale


Is Mightier
Owner: Heather McFarlane
Sells: Handmade jewelry with vintage fountain pen nibs.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/IsMightier
My fave: Purple and Green Chainmaille Fountain Pen Nib Necklace


Street Spirit Photo
Owner: Fraser McFarlane
Sells: Unique photographs taken in Scotland and the USA.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/streetspiritphoto
My fave: Kaleidoscope Sunset


Luxury Lane Soap
Owner: Kylee Lane
Sells: Geeky and vegan/eco-friendly soaps, lotions, lip balms, and hair care.
Website: http://www.luxurylanesoap.com/
My fave: Hemp Satin Body Cream in Pumpkin Cheesecake


Moody and Sanguine
Owners: Denise LeBlanc and Melina Knox
Sells: Handmade chainmaille jewelry and hand-sewn accessories
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/moodyandsanguine
My fave: Swinging from the Chandelier Earrings (Side note, I'm featured in the photos for this item! Side side note, I own at least a dozen of her earrings.)


Geeky and Cheeky
Owner: Jessica MacLean
Sells: Handmade felt dolls and toys featuring geeky characters and themes along with some Pagan items.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/geekyandcheeky
My fave: The Crew of Serenity 


Little Free Radical
Owner: Crystal Evans-Pradhan
Sells: Handmade cloth toys, tutus, nursery and party decor.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleFreeRadical
My fave: Spring Rainbow Classic Tutu


Owner: Amy Davis Roth
Sells: Handmade ceramic necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and coasters featuring geek and atheist themes.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/surly
My fave: Camera Ceramic Necklace in Brown and Red (I own the blue and green version of this, and six other Surly necklaces.)


Owners: Len Peralta and Jessica Mills
Sells: Custom made comics starring YOU.
Website: https://peraltartsy.myshopify.com/collections/ucomics-the-comic-starring-you


Geek Soap
Owner: Lesley Karpiuk
Sells: Handmade geeky soap.
Website: http://www.geeksoap.net/
My fave: D20 Soap on a Rope


Waldo's Wood Works
Owner: Bob Benaim
Sells: Handmade wooden toys and accessories.
Website: http://www.waldoswoodworks.com/
My fave: Unicorn Puzzle


Spiffing Jewelry
Owner: Annie Nygard
Sells: Hand stamped metal geeky jewelry.
Website: http://www.spiffingjewelry.com/
My fave: Girl on Fire Necklace


Sparkle J
Owner: Joelle Burdette
Sells: Hand-knitted Jayne hats and hand-sewn lunch bags and other accessories.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sparklej
My fave: Jayne's Cunning Hat


Creations by VR
Owner: Vanessa Reynolds
Sells: Original geeky paintings.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/gamrgrl
My fave: Think


Dragon Chow Dice Bags
Owner: Lyndsay Peters
Sells: Unique cloth dice bags.
Website: http://www.dragonchow.com/zencart/
My fave: Red Kanji Dice Bag (I want this one next; I own 2 bags and have bought at least 3 for gifts!)


88 Links
Owner: Lady Steel
Sells: Upper arm bracelets, earrings, rings, and other jewelry.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/88links
My fave: Wishing Star Gold Earrings


Introverted Painting
Owner: Sabrina Zbasnik
Sells: Gorgeous paintings of trees, the sky, and geeky themes.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/blablover5
My fave: Four Seasons


Sweet Threes Boutique
Owner: Lindsay Meuse
Sells: Holiday, wedding, and baby cards with unique textures.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetThreesBoutique
My fave: Christmas Cards


Geek-A-Bye Baby
Owner: Elizabeth Nelson (Not related to me...as far as I know!)
Sells: Unique handmade geeky baby toys, clothing, and nursery decor.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/geekabyebaby
My fave: Jayne Hat Bib


I'll just post my own businesses at the bottom here. ;)

Owner: Sarah Nelson

Celestial Designs
Sells: Geeky and Pagan jewelry.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CelestialAxis

CelestialAxis Photography
Sells: Landscape photography from around New England.
Website: http://celestialaxis.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Fine-Art-Landscape-Photography/21981921_NbLBFz#!i=1753347621&k=JpLKxhR


More to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marian Call Adventure Quest

Background on this post: http://www.mariancalladventurequest.com/adventuresome-questy-task-12/

I do love that shiny song "Dear Mr. Darcy." Reminds me of a doctor I know, and that confusin' awkward dance we've been dancin'. I'm tired of waitin', and it's goin' on a year since I had something twixt my nethers twerent' run on batteries. Boy needs to see what's right under his nose!


1. "Least Complicated" - Indigo Girls
2. "Eight Easy Steps" - Alanis Morissette
3. "C'est La Vie" - B*Witched
4. "As Cool As I Am" - Dar Williams
5. "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" - Marian Call


I wait for my doc
To kiss me with such sweetness
In the engine room

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Had an odd dream the other night that seemed like it might be meaningful. I asked Twitter for feedback and my friend Cosmic_Psycho obliged. Just thought I'd share the dream and interpretation and see if anyone had something to add.

Hubby and I were riding in little motorized boats in the ocean near a beach. We'd drive them forward, only to have the waves push us back to shore. We were enjoying ourselves but were worried because we kept landing near people and didn't want to hurt them. We tried to move further down the beach so our antics in the waves didn't injure someone, but the sea wall was closer to the ocean further down so there was no beach to land on and we'd hit the wall.

J's interpretation:
From what I can tell, your dream is symbolizing your worry that you aren't able to enjoy time with your hubby without others interfering or "getting in the way". Also, you worry that taking time to enjoy yourself may result in others being hurt, most likely mentally or emotionally rather than physically. The part with the sea wall says to me that you put serious limits on how much you can do. And this is not necessarily intentional or even a conscious action.

He came up with a lot I never would have considered. It's definitely hard to interpret your own dreams objectively. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with this?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fat is not a 4-letter word

Something I've been working on for a while is body acceptance. I'm fat, dieting (literally) makes me crazy, and I'm perfectly healthy. I even have recent lab results to prove it. It's been a battle, but I'm finally at a place where I pretty much accept myself the way I am, even LOVE myself. I've found a wonderful community of body-positive people online, and the articles and stories they share slowly pull my self-esteem from the murky depths it was inhabiting.

I recently read a post called "Things Obesity is Not." One point that really hit home is "Obesity is not a metaphor." I'd like to add "Obesity is not an insult." How many times have you called someone (to their face or behind their back) fat, or various iterations of the word, when they don't agree with you? Have you heard others do it? It's pretty common, if you think about it. I may have even done it myself, in the past. "Fat idiot," "lard ass," etc. are all based on someone's actual or perceived weight. How is that any different from the N word, "gay," "fag," etc. being used as an insult? Those will get you in trouble. Those will get people angry at you. But call someone a fat jerk and no one bats an eye.

Today on HRC's Facebook page, they were discussing Larry Wachowski's transgender transition into Lana. Apparently someone made an ignorant comment about her being an "it," which understandably caused some anger. What I don't agree with is this person's response (click to view fully):

I haven't gone back to the conversation, as I'm sure it would only anger me more.

I just don't understand. Someone who used to be obese, and presumably used to be another gender, thinks it's okay to use someone's weight as an insult? This person has probably been bullied and prejudiced themselves (pardon my lack of pronoun, I don't want to assume this person's gender). Why do we do that? Why do the bullied become the bullies?

I'm very disappointed in this person. They "like" the Human Rights Campaign, yet can't afford the same dignity to fat people that they do to LGBT people? Fat isn't an insult. It's a physical characteristic, just like eye color, height, hair texture, etc. I'm fat. I'm totally okay with that. What I'm not okay with is someone thinking that's an appropriate way to insult me if we disagree. My weight does not affect my intellect. I steadily gained weight throughout college (and beyond), yet graduated Cum Laude, and I have an above-average IQ. There are stupid thin people and smart fat people and vice versa and everything in between.

If you've gleaned anything from reading this, I only hope that going forward, you try to be more conscious of the language you use. I can't ask you to never insult someone again; we all get angry. However, think about the words you're using. If you wouldn't insult someone based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation, don't insult someone based on their body size. It only makes YOU look like the ignorant one.

Also? "Skinny bitch" is mean too. ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

An open letter to JC Penney

Dear JC Penney,

Thank you.

Thank you for being one of a few companies in this day and age to step up and show REAL families in your ads. In particular, gay families, which so many other companies seem deathly afraid of. Thank you for showing them lovingly and realistically, without plastic perfection or forced happiness. Thank you for not making a big deal about it, even when others did.

You see, my sister is gay, and she's engaged. We're planning her June 2013 beach wedding. I am going to suggest to her that we purchase as much wedding clothing from JC Penney as we can. I have outfits picked out that go with their theme, but you know how brides can be. I can only suggest.

Stephanie has a six-year-old son that my sister Kaitlyn will be the step-mother of, and they plan on having at least one more child together. They will be a family, just like any other American family. Thank you for representing them. In thanks, I will give you as much of my business as I can, and recommend you to others (I was already a happy customer of yours before this ad).

Thank you for holding your ground in the face of angry bigots. You are truly a caring a company.

Sarah Nelson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The incredible eBay jerk debacle

There are much stronger words I want to use to describe this jerk but I will be using this blog post to report him to various companies so I should probably keep it clean. Therefore he is a JERK.

In October of last year, an MJ Defrancesco ordered a dice necklace from me on Etsy. The week after, he ordered another one. Cool, repeat customer! The he ordered another. Then he ordered one and had it sent to someone else. Ooo, he's giving them as gifts! He must really like them. I was very happy. He continued ordering them, having them sent to himself or various other people in various countries, all the way through this month.

Unrelated, I was browsing eBay for Firefly and Serenity stuff because I'm obsessed, and found someone selling the Blue Sun Travel posters. Ooo, shiny. I'd only seen them on eBay and this seller appeared to have the best price, so I bought them, thinking "Less than $40 for all 5 posters? Great deal!"

The next day, I'm in my PayPal account printing a shipping label for someone who made a purchase from me, when I notice a payment to MJ Defrancesco, a name I know well. I was confused for a moment then realized I had bought those posters from HIM! What a funny coincidence! I was pleased our various geeky internet selling ventures had come full circle. I even emailed him to say how funny it was.

Then I thought, what other fun geeky stuff might he be selling? Let's find out! He has an entire store full of fun geeky things. How neat.

Then my heart dropped. Then the rage started.

Right there in his eBay store was my dice necklace. I could tell it was mine because HE WAS USING MY PHOTOS. MY photos, that I painstakingly took after cataloging all my dice and arranged the necklaces and options so nicely and used my nice camera and edited the photos in Photoshop. MY WORK. The photos have since been removed from the listing and I didn't think to screen shot it, so unfortunately I have no proof. I hope you will trust me.

This means all those dice necklaces I thought he was sending to friends WERE BEING SENT TO HIS CUSTOMERS. Notice anything else funny? Oh yeah, A TEN DOLLAR MARK-UP. To say I was livid would be the understatement of the century. I was a veritable She-Hulk of rage.

I immediately sent him this message, after I had just messaged him saying how funny it was that we bought from each other:


I then called eBay to report him. While I was on the phone with a very nice but bewildered Indian lady, he removed the photos and I received this message from him:

"...hope all is well sarah -
...posters have been shipped -
...will add tracking -
...photos removed as requested -
very truly yours -

I concluded on the phone with eBay, who would "investigate further." Right. I responded angrily to him:

"Did you really think it was okay to resell my necklaces and use my images without permission? Did you really think it was okay to have me do YOUR job and send the necklaces to YOUR customers? I thought they were GIFTS. I thought you were just a good customer. I am NEVER selling to you again, you lying worthless jerk. I can't BELIEVE you did this to me."

To which he maddeningly responded thus:

"...thank-you for gifting the world with your creations -
...this item has ended -"

What the EVERLIVING FRAK??? He was just making me MORE ANGRY. So I responded, a little more calmly:

"I appreciate that you are trying to apologize, but I don't think you're getting why I'm upset. You USED me. If you had only ASKED me first, we could have worked together on this. Ask permission and give credit. It should be pretty common sense. Instead you used my product and images without permission or credit. I put a lot of work into cataloging, photographing, editing, and listing my products. All you did was use the work I did. That's not fair to me at all. I hope, if anything, you can at least understand that."

He promptly sent:

"...as a sincere apology for this unprofessional (d*ck) action a full-refund has been issued -
...please accept your item free-of-charge -"

I was slightly mollified at this point. $40 worth of free posters was kind of cool. I didn't respond. I was completely worn out from my rage and just wanted it over with. Which I thought it was. Until today.

The UPS man comes to the door and hands me a package from ThinkGeek. "Huh," I think to myself, "but I've already gotten the order I placed with ThinkGeek." I open it to find...the Blue Sun Travel posters I ordered from MJ Defrancesco. Which you will see, if you follow that link, were EIGHTEEN FRIGGING DOLLARS FROM THINKGEEK. Not $40. Not even close.

He did the EXACT SAME THING HE DID TO ME...to ThinkGeek. He sold an item in his store, ordered it from the merchant, and had it delivered directly to his eBay customer. Of course I immediately looked it up on ThinkGeek. And found the dramatically lower price. And flipped out again.

I love ThinkGeek. They are one of my all-time favorite stores. If I had realized they sell those posters, I would have bought them from them in a heartbeat. Stupidly, I thought his $40 price was good. Luckily he refunded me for his "d*ck behavior" so I haven't wasted any money on them, but WHAT THE FRAK?

Further delving led me to find Ian Leino's Serenity Sake t-shirt in his shop (which I own, and bought directly from Ian Leino, THE ARTIST) today, so I notified Ian that he's probably doing the same thing to him. No artist credit in his eBay listing, big surprise. Gods forbid the customer figures it out and buys directly from the artist.

Amazingly, MJ has decent feedback, and none of his negative feedback seems to indicate anyone else has caught on to his game. Don't worry, I'll be adding my own. I also reported him to Etsy, trying to get him banned as a customer in case he was doing it to anyone else, but they sent a typical non-answer:

"Thank you for reaching out to us. We are so sorry to hear about this. Intellectual property concerns are a legal matter which Etsy takes very seriously.

If you believe that another member or item on Etsy is using your photos, you may choose to respectfully contact the other person via Etsy Conversations with your concerns. This page from our Help site provides information about using the Conversations feature on Etsy to contact another member: http://help.etsy.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/71/

For concerns about other types of infringement, we must follow specific protocol when handling these complaints. Etsy has a detailed policy regarding how to report infringement, and if we receive proper notice per the policy, we may remove listings from a shop."

Since he was not infringing on my rights with an ETSY listing, there is nothing they can do. Whatever. Thanks for nothing.

Here's my packing slip from ThinkGeek:

I don't know how his other eBay customers haven't smelled something fishy when their package "from him" arrives directly from another vendor. I doubt he has a single item in his store actually in his home. I can't prove that, but it appears to be his selling method to use photos from someone's store, create a listing for the item at considerable mark-up, then order from the original vendor and ship it to his customer when the customer orders from him. It feels like that's probably what they teach you in those sleazy "Get Rich on eBay" seminars.

The worst part is, he's probably just skating on the edge of legality. I'm not 100% sure we can get him on anything but the copied photos. But what he's doing makes me SICK. Sure, the original vendor/artist gets paid, but MJ makes a profit for doing NOTHING. It's just exploitation. It's DISGUSTING.

So, if you're a vendor affected by this and want to do something, I can supply all of MJ's contact information. If you're a friend and are as outraged as I am, leave a comment to make me feel better. This whole debacle has been a ridiculous roller coaster of rage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Food shaming

I saw this on Facebook today:


This isn't a cute reminder to eat your veggies. It's food shaming and fat shaming and it's WRONG.

This sort of crap is why people have eating disorders. This sort of crap is why fat people sometimes eat in private so they won't be judged. This is why some fat people are ASSUMED to eat the crap on the bottom of the photo even when they're eating the lawn trimmings at the the top.

I argued my case briefly in a comment under the photo. Obviously no one agreed with me. This sort of black or white, this or that attitude about food is BS and it's making me sick to my stomach. YES salads are generally better for you, but photos like this skew the reality of health. "Good" and "bad" food labeling is harmful, judgmental, and just plain wrong.

How DARE you judge a fat person and make the assumption that all they consume is fast food. How DARE you suggest that I'll be happy and thin if I'd only eat salads and water because it's just that simple? It's taken me YEARS to come to love my body the way it is. Yes, I'm trying to be healthier, but I'm HAPPY JUST THE WAY I AM.

So take your shaming and your polarized thinking and kiss my beautiful fat ass.