A Medley of Updates: Christmas Codes & Leprechauns

Thanksgiving 2019

Hey, guys! I hope that you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving. Obviously, ours involved lots of tasty vegan food, but other than that we decided to keep things really low-key. Partly because chill is kind of our thing, but mostly because I’m unexpectedly hosting Christmas this year (for our rather large family). I figured it wise to conserve my energy, knowing that the week before the 25th will likely be a food-prep marathon. It’ll be crazy, but fun, in a completely holiday-ish way. But it’s not Christmas quite yet, and I’ve got some fun updates to share. Like, leprechauns. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Lucky Penny Fundraiser
Fundraiser Update

First up, our Lucky Penny fundraiser was a smashing success! We weren’t at all sure how our idea was going to play out, but within twenty-four hours we not only met our first goal of sponsoring the flock at Farm Sanctuary, but sold almost enough ornaments to sponsor a second! Jordan and I were taking special requests for favorites that had sold out and, quite frankly, we were overwhelmed with the love from so many of our Instagram pals. Once we’d sold just three more ornaments, we had enough to donate another $150 for the turkeys living at Barn Sanctuary. I think wild cheers, confetti, and some obnoxious noise-makers probably summed up our excitement level.

Our final tally was thirty-three ornaments sold, with seventeen lovely folks supporting our efforts. We’d like to give a very heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you: Samantha, Laurin, Adrienne, Erica, Betsy, Jackie, Brandi, Julie, Arnée, Brittney, Kirsten, Kristin, Cheryl, Kyla, Sarah, Rick, and Jan–thank you! This was such an important goal for us, and we’re so grateful to you for making our impact even bigger than we’d hoped. I told Jordan she should probably get started on the designs for next year’s ornaments…and Lucky Penny lives on.

Leprechauns
Leprechauns and rhymes–doesn’t get much better than that!
Dancing Beneath the Stars

So the fundraiser was really fabulous, but so is my next update because our book is now AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!! (Dramatically wipes the sweat from my brow, while Jordan and I simultaneously glare at/high-five each other). Honestly, some days I wasn’t sure this was ever going to see print form. Jordan and I are pretty much two peas in a pod, except in a couple of key areas…one of which is meeting deadlines. I contemplated calling the whole project quits on more than one occasion, but we stuck it out, and the book is gloriously–and adorably–complete.

Dancing Beneath the Stars was first written (by me) as a Christmas gift for Riley Mae back in 2005 (she was just a wee little thing). I actually wrote three books that summer, one for each of my girls, if you can believe the insanity of that. It was my first year after sliding down the slippery slope of panic disorder, and I think I dove into this enormous project because when I write, I forget. My imagination takes charge and, for just a little while, I can live in whatever fantastical world I’ve created.

I befriended leprechauns, danced with fairies, and overthrew evil wizards while the battles of this “real world” faded blissfully into the background. It happened then, and it happens now, and is likely the reason that as soon as I’m done with one book, I start thinking about another. (Which is definitely its own kind of insanity!) Recently I read an article that was saying how many of the greatest artists were most inspired during their darkest years. Not that I’m at all claiming to be a great artist, but I can understand; during that terrifically hard time, the inspiration was somehow accessible and flowing.

Countless Squabbles

Anyway, through the years, one or another of us will pull the books back out for a nostalgic read-through. But in October 2018, after reading Dancing (for the one thousandth time), both Jordan and I spontaneously decided a revision was in order, this time complete with drawings other than my own scribbled scribbles. And a year, 20+ illustrations, and countless squabbles later, here we are.

Miss Bea & Leprechauns

And just so you know, the book rhymes. Because rhymes and leprechauns somehow go together. And did I mention Bea? If you follow me and/or Jordan on Instagram, maybe you remember our sweet one-legged house chicken, Miss Bea? Well, she makes a guest appearance. She was already sick when we pulled the book out last year, and after she left us just before Christmas, I decided to dedicate it in memory of her. She definitely would have been on board with harassing grumpy little leprechauns, so it seemed most fitting.

If you’re interested, the book is available in our shop, just in time for Christmas (hint, hint).

Shop News

Okay, and now I’ve got lots of shop news, because I’ve been working in there–like a woman possessed–for many weeks now. And for probably the first time since we opened our virtual doors, things look almost as I’d envisioned them. Almost. Of course, now our reviews aren’t working correctly, but I guess there will always be something to tweak. But I’m choosing to forget about that minor detail right now and talk about all the things that are going right. I’m happy to say, there are a lot.

Coupon Code!

First, we have a coupon code to save you a little bit of cash this year. Just add the code Christmas2019 to your cart for 10% off of your order. We wish we could offer you more, we really do, but there’s not a ton of profit to begin with. So we hope that you’ll enjoy our small gift and consider shopping small this year. Why? I’m so glad you asked…

  1. 10% of our profits are donated.
  2. We chose to work with really great companies: fair trade, certified B Corps, organic, eco-friendly, and absolutely no sweatshops.
  3. We ship green. Period. Because there shouldn’t be any other way.
  4. Every purchase helps me in achieving my goal of making this blog self-sufficient. (Because this site ain’t cheap!) But we feel pretty good about what we’re doing here, and we really want to keep it going.
  5. Small businesses need your money way more than Walmart does. (That probably goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating.)
  6. Handmade is better, hands down.
But We Carry On

And, moving on (so many updates!): My novel, But We Carry On, is now on sale for a fabulous discount of 25%! I’m currently in the process of making some small edits, and so have reduced the price tag in order to clear out the stock currently in the shop. The changes are minor, nothing new is added (or taken from) the story itself; mostly it’s just my perfectionist nature doing what it does best, striving for (unattainable) perfection through small grammatical edits. So if anyone’s been curious about reading, now’s the time! You can thank my nit-picking ways for the discounted price.

Compassion Tastes Better

I’ve also put my cookbook, Compassion Tastes Better, on sale, and there’s actually a really happy (busy) story behind that. For those of you who don’t know, my husband is an aircraft mechanic, in a predominantly male trade. So for many years now, he’s just been the strange vegan at work, pulling out his animal-free meals day after day. And then what happens? A pro-vegan documentary called The Game Changers gets released, and Scott doesn’t look like such an oddball anymore. And now some of these guys are testing vegan diets, asking Scott questions, and…buying cookbooks. That’s right. Buying cookbooks.

I sold one, then three, then eight. And all of a sudden, my stock was drastically reduced, and the edits I thought I had more time for needed to be done ASAP. With the additional pressure of a substantial Black Friday sale, I spent two solid days editing the cookbook and updating the index. Talk about pressure. But I made it, they’ve been ordered, and the three left in the shop have been significantly reduced in price. You should snag one now,  though, before another big, tough mechanic decides that maybe cruelty-free eating isn’t so crazy after all.

New Additions

And…new stock! Our children’s book isn’t the only new addition to our shop; Riley Mae has started getting her artwork up on the shelves. We’re still waiting on our new wood stickers to arrive (featuring her extremely detailed mandalas), but in the meantime, we’ve got two lovely note card sets. You can find those here and here. Each design is created by Riley Mae herself, and drawn by hand (the note cards are prints, of course), spanning many, many hours. Tiny details, beautiful shading–each one is definitely a work of art. I’ll let you know when our eco-stickers arrive; they’re sure to be just as lovely.

We’ve also got some adorable Christmas/winter decorations in there, too (just under the wire!). Snowmen, Wooden Gift Sets, hand-painted ornaments…so many goodies. Plus, a new 2020 desk calendar featuring Jordan’s illustrations from Dancing Beneath the Stars. Really, this has all been enough to keep me a little bit too busy, but I’m feeling pretty great about the measurable progress. And my creative juices have been flowing, which means I’ll have some new products to add to our shop in the upcoming months. Perfect projects to keep me busy through a long and snowy New England winter.

And I think that’s it. Maybe. But I’ll likely remember ten more things as soon as I hit publish. Anyway, next up…planning my Christmas menu. Or diving into another book. I’ll keep you posted…

Have a beautiful week, all. Much love ~ Melinda

3 thoughts on “A Medley of Updates: Christmas Codes & Leprechauns

  1. Oh goodness! You HAVE been busy! You and I are totally insync, even when we don’t know it. I’m so thrilled for all your sales and success. I love the ornaments! They are adorable and I’m glad I helped out Lucky Penny in some small way.

    I do have a question about publishing. Where are you getting the book(s) published? I have a children’s book series in my head but I’m no illustrator! That’s for sure. I can craft with the best of them, but no way am I an artist. But how fun for you and Jordan to work together on such a special project. And to have Riley Mae in the mix too must make your Mama heart proud.

    Good luck with the Christmas dinner prep! I’ll be watching for updates. And for your menu too! Yum!

    1. My husband’s co-worker just messaged my husband this morning because he sold 5 more cookbooks, lol. I think I need to hire him as a sales rep; honestly, I’m not even sure where he’s finding so many people that are still interested in cooking 😉 But it’s nice to get confidence boosters once in a while to keep the enthusiasm flowing!

      As for the books, I use lulu.com for all of my publishing. I really like them; the printing quality is great, and the one or two times that I’ve had problems, their customer service is fantastic. They also offer the option of hiring their editors, but it’s crazy expensive (based on my budget) and so I rely on (many) friends to be my beta readers. Plus, my expectations are unrealistically high for myself, lol, which is why I’m still revising/editing after the books have already been in print for quite some time. At this point, I’m only printing and selling through my shop, but I can use Lulu to sell through their website and also to list them on Amazon and others. I intend to do both of those things, but I just haven’t had the opportunity yet to sit down and figure it all out. It is one of the things I’m currently working on, though, so hopefully by the start of the year I can start selling them in other places. The profit from a book is really small, and even smaller once you add in a middle-man, but it will reach more people than my tiny shop is currently reaching. We’ll see, I’ll keep you posted on how that goes…

      I hear you on the lack of artistic talent (when it comes to drawing!). It worked out perfectly that Jordan possesses the talent that I am so sorely deficient in. I’m seriously thinking about tackling another one of the stories that I wrote…but not yet. I’d love to catch up on other things before I lose myself in another book! And I keep hearing mention of your children’s book series; I can’t help but wonder if that means it’s creeping closer to fruition 😉

      I’ll also keep you posted on Christmas! I ordered some supplies for table decorations last night because I have a vision, lol. We’ll see how things actually turn out! 😉

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