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Archive for the ‘Sharing the Love’ Category

coffee-soapToday I’m giving a quick shout-out to a fellow Etsy vendor, Wix Wax Candles. As the name suggest, this merchant sells homemade candles and candle-making supplies, but we’re mostly big fans of the natural soaps, such as this one pictured at right made with coffee grounds, which scent the soap nicely and act as an exfoliant. We also love their vanilla bean and sea salt caramel soaps, because who doesn’t enjoy smelling like a cookie?

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We first met the folks at Auntie Arwen’s Spices at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, and we quickly fell in love with their staggering variety of spice blends. They’ll be at Arisia in Boston this weekend, and I plan to do a little stocking up while I’m there.

ugiWe of course love one of their signature blends, Ultimate Garlic Insanity (at right) and their many beef, chicken, and pork seasonings, but we’re big fans of many of their sugar blends as well. Try their Get Up and Go Ginger Sugar or their Luscious Lemon Sugar in a cup of tea, or their Vermont Happydance Cinnamon-Maple Sugar on some French toast!

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Since we’re winding down the year and it’s traditional to do end-of-year countdowns and reviews — and because I’m feeling a little drained from the stress of filling holiday orders — this week’s Sharing the Love entry is a review of the artists and businesses I’ve spotlighted here throughout 2016.

January – indie author of swashbuckling historical fiction J.M. Aucoin

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February – New Orleans-based artist Marrus

Marrus896, Tue Aug 19, 2014, 10:45:44 AM,  8C, 4512x5734,  (88+1002), 66%, bent 6 stops,  1/10 s, R126.7, G103.0, B112.7

Marrus896, Tue Aug 19, 2014, 10:45:44 AM, 8C, 4512×5734, (88+1002), 66%, bent 6 stops, 1/10 s, R126.7, G103.0, B112.7

March- Connecticut playwright Scott Kegler

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April – costume designer extraordinaire Eldritch Arts

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May – steampunk clothing designers Chrononaut Mercantile

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June – all-woman stage combat troupe the Vixens en Garde

Vixens En Garde

July – illustrator and graphic artist Patricia Lupien

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August – chainmail artist Meloria Maille

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September – indie author (and Storied Threads minion and husband) Michael Bailey

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October – faire photographer Festival Fotos

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November – Worcester, MA-based comic book shop That’s Entertainment

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Normally I feature a fellow artist in this space, but today I’m going to shine the spotlight on a local business here in Worcester that I can’t praise highly enough for its always awesome customer service.

logoThat business is That’s Entertainment, a comic book shop right down the road from my condo. It was one of the very first businesses we visited after moving to Worcester and it quickly became one of our favorite places in the city thanks in large part to its amazing, friendly staff.

My last comic book shop was not, to put it kindly, the most welcoming environment for girl geeks, but I’ve never had any such problems at That’s Entertainment. Everyone is very welcoming to geeks of all kinds and they’ve never talked down to me when we discuss comics, movies, TV, etc.

They really went above and beyond recently when I went looking for an obscure but fun Luc Besson movie called The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec. I remarked to one of the employees I was on the lookout for it but could only find overpriced used copies online.  The very next week, he presented me with a copy he found completely at random in a supermarket bargain bin. They pretty much ensured my lifelong loyalty to them right there and then.

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Photo by Festival Fotos by Jennifer Provost Photography

Welcome to the latest installment of our ongoing series, Sharing the Love. There are a lot of small and independent artists out there working in all sorts of mediums — writers, painters, jewelry makers, leather crafters, actors…this list could go on and on. And it turns out, I know and admire an awful lot of them!

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Photo by Festival Fotos by Jennifer Provost Photography

Festival Fotos by Jennifer Provost Photographyct is a company that specializes in – as the name suggests – souvenir festival photographs. She visits renaissance faires and other themed events, sets up a booth that is part tent, part Tudor cottage, and takes amazing pictures for you to remember your visit. She even has a wide selection of costumes and accessories you can borrow for your photograph for extra fun and silliness.

Jen is a great photographer who will take a ton of pictures for you, letting you choose up to four favorite pictures to take home as prints or as digital copies, depending on what package you choose.  The best pictures happen when you relax and have fun, of course! Let yourself be a little goofy  in front of the camera, and you’ll be amazed at how that changes the pictures.

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Photo by Festival Fotos by Jennifer Provost Photography

Right now, you can find Festival Fotos for three more weekends at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. She’s right by the front gate, so be sure to stop and have your pictures done! I promise, you won’t regret it.

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51e2x4ohsbl-_sy346_Welcome to the latest installment of our ongoing series, Sharing the Love. There are a lot of small and independent artists out there working in all sorts of mediums — writers, painters, jewelry makers, leather crafters, actors…this list could go on and on. And it turns out, I know and admire an awful lot of them!

It feels a little weird and self-serving to be writing this post about my own husband, but he has a new book coming out at the end of this month, and I couldn’t think of a better time to feature him in this space!

Michael Bailey is the author of the Action Figures series of YA books, and also The Adventures of Strongarm and Lightfoot, a tongue-in-cheek humorous fantasy series.

Action Figures currently has 5 books published, focusing on Carrie Hauser, a young superhero struggling to balance friendships, saving the world, and getting her homework turned in on time. The stories have a great deal of heart to them, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the lives of Carrie and her friends. Book six in this series, Power Play, is scheduled to be published this spring.

51288dlmvhlStrongarm and Lightfoot, however, is the real reason I wanted to focus on Mike’s books today, as the second book in this series is scheduled to be released later this month! Assassin’s Brawl continues the adventures of Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot and their friends. While the first book focused on epic world-threatening prophecies, the second book in the series brings our heroes into the world of political intrigue without losing their sense of adventure or fun.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to try these books, the first Strongarm and Lightfoot book, Scratching a Lich, will be available in Kindle format for free from September 19 through 23, which is a great way to give a new author a try. And if you’re already a fan, then you just get to look forward to the September 27 release of Assassin’s Brawl!

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MeloriaMailleWelcome to the latest installment of our ongoing series, Sharing the Love. There are a lot of small and independent artists out there working in all sorts of mediums — writers, painters, jewelry makers, leather crafters, actors…this list could go on and on. And it turns out, I know and admire an awful lot of them!

I first met Heidi, the artist behind Meloria Maille, at Super MegaFest a couple of years ago. Since then, we’ve vended together at quite a lot of conventions, bonded over our love for our dogs, and greatly admited each others work.

One of the things I love about the jewelry Heidi creates is that it often transcends the usual ways we think about chainmail jewelry. While you can certainly find bracelets and necklaces using traditional weaves in her shop, she also finds ways to surprise people, using gemstones and creative methods to create pieces that seem more like high fashion than chainmail.

MeloriaMailleBiHeidi also creates a wide variety of LGBTQ Pride inspired pieces. In addition to the expected rainbow, she creates pieces inspired by the flags representing bi, trans, and ace communities and more. She will even customize for you, often right on the spot. Her usual bi pride pieces use very bold colors, which I love — but which I knew I would never wear, as they’re just not my kind of colors. So during a slow moment at MASSive Con this summer, she created for me this bracelet using pastel versions of the bi pride flag.

You can find Meloria Maille at conventions all over New England, including at Boston Comic Con this weekend and at Vermont Comic Con later this month. If you’re at a show where she’s selling, please check out her art!

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