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NaNoWriMo is Slowly Beating Me to Death

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I’m almost ashamed to show my face here (metaphorically, of course). I’ve been very lazy about tending to any of my social media and am now turning to it only as a means of procrastination. I must say, NaNo is kicking my butt this year.

I’m no newb to National Novel Writing Month. I’m even the Municipal Liaison for my region! And I don’t know what it is, but I’m just not getting in gear the way I have in past NaNos. I set out to write a fairy tale a day and became quickly bored with that. I decided to work instead on a novel I had planned out several years ago, that has a strong skeleton, but very little meat. I even more quickly realized I couldn’t think of anything to write for it. So I decided to try my hand at a historical fiction set in my hometown that I had done a TON of research on a few summers ago, but that flopped just as quickly. So now I’m on to writing new scenes for my novel which I finished for NaNoWriMo last year and have been working on the second draft for. Hopefully that will carry me the rest of the way to 50k words.

I know that I am no longer even close to writing a novel for National NOVEL Writing Month, but at least I’m writing at all. I’m using the deadline to force myself to write, no matter what I write about.

I’ve been consistently a day or so behind my word count, but I’ve never fallen excessively behind. So that’s something. I just need to get the motivation to crank out a ton of words so that I don’t have to kill myself in the final days of the month.

As of now, I’m officially halfway through the 50k and only a day behind in my word count. I’d say that deserves some hot chocolate with rum, yes? Anyway, the whole reason I’m posting this in the first place is to make myself feel less guilty for not working on my NaNo. Thanks  for listening to my rant!

I guess that’s all I really have to say. To make myself feel even less guilty for procrastinating, I’ll throw in a plug for my Seeds of Inspiration! If you, like me, are struggling with your word count this NaNo, a Seed of Inspiration is just what you need to get the creative juices flowing again! Check them out at Tiny Octopus Designs.

P.S. I got over 400 words out of this post. Wish those could count for my NaNo!


The Seeds Have Hit Etsy!

I stayed up all last night prepping listings for their midnight release, published them at midnight, and then treated myself to cereal before going to bed. Today I gave a terrifying presentation, treated myself to a hazelnut and lime Italian soda, and then went home and finished putting the listings up. Needless to say, I’m pretty pumped about having my Etsy shop more packed than it’s ever been and I want to share the good news!

Rather than writing a lengthy post, because I’m honestly feeling like tucking in early, I’d like to showcase a few of the new shop additions. Hope you see something you like!





All of these pictures link back to the associated Etsy listings if you’re interested in exploring further.

Make sure to check out all the other Seeds of Inspiration now up for sale and pick yours out so that you’ll be prepared once NaNoWriMo comes around!

Leonard the Catbird in Polymer Clay

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After making my first catbird, Midge, I realized that it was something I really enjoyed making so I decided to make another one! Leonard is the second in hopefully a long line of catbirds and I wanted to try something a little different with him. I made his plumage much more detailed and busy than his predecessor and the colors I chose ended up making him look a little like a velvet painting. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, I want to do a different look for each catbird from now on so keep an eye out!

For bigger, better pictures visit my facebook page!

Re-purposed Champagne Cork Stamps- Recycle and DIY!

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For my first ever tutorial, I want to teach you how to reuse old champagne corks to make elegant, unique handles for home-made stamps.

Materials You’ll Need:

Stamp rubber for carving

A set of stamp chisels

Champagne cork

Sharp knife

Mod Podge



Paper towel

Rubber band


(I realize I left a few things out of my picture. Better luck next time.)

Use a sharp knife to slice off the top end of the cork. Cork cuts like nobody’s business, but it helps to use a gentle sawing motion to get a quick, clean cut.

Carefully cut your new surface until it is angled correctly and is relatively flat. You’ll want the stamp to lay flush against it later for gluing!

Place the cork over your stamp rubber and trace around its perimeter.

Select the straight blade tip or, if you don’t have one, the knife from earlier will work alright.

Cut in only a few centimeters along the line you’ve traced. And it doesn’t matter if the cut is sloppy. Any imperfections can be shaved off later!

Now gently peel the circle away from the rest of the rubber. This will create a curved edge which creates a smaller circle on the bottom of the stamp. I love the effect that this has because it gives it a rough, rustic look so you don’t have to spend all of your time trying to make it smooth and even. 😉

Here’s what it should look like when you’ve got it all punched out!

You’ll probably have some seriously messed up looking edges at this point so take that blade tool and carefully shave this problem areas down. Remember to continue the angle that you created with the torn rubber into the areas you’re carving.

Here is an idea of what the bottom of your stamp should look like after pruning the edges.

And here’s that the profile should look like! Not the combination of slice marks and torn patches intermingling to make a cool, rough look. The edges are also slightly curved though this picture doesn’t seem to show it as much as I remember.

Time to doodle! Sketch your stamp design onto the rubber with a pencil. If you mess up, just erase it and start again! If you’re planning to use text on your stamp PLEASE keep in mind that you’ll have to write it backwards so that it will stamp the correct direction later on. I learned that one the hard way.

Swap out your straight blade for a fine chisel for the detail cutting.

Do a quick trace of your design with this chisel hugging close to your lines without cutting into them.

Here’s my outline finished. You’ll notice as you carve, especially with the tiny chisel, a lot of rubber dust will collect in the grooves. That’s where the paintbrush comes in handy! I like to brush out my stamp every now and then while I’m working to make sure I’m seeing everything clearly and I haven’t missed something important.

Now it’s time for the big guns. Choose a chisel with a broad semi-flat blade for carving out the body of the stamp.

Slice away! Be careful of your design as you’re carving around it and make sure you carve deep enough to allow the design to stand out on its own when stamping. I personally like the look of grooves as opposed to a perfectly smooth stamp body, but you can play with this design element as you like.

Dip the cork into Mod Podge and smooth the glue over the entire surface. I find that it’s easiest to shake the Mod Podge and then stamp the cork directly into the glue in the lid.

Now slap on that stamp! You’ll notice that it’s probably not a perfect fit, but never you fear; we’ll be fixing that after the glue dries. Also make sure to remove any excess Mod Podge with a paper towel to keep your stamp looking neat.

Wrap a rubber band securely around the cork and stamp and align them to your happiness. You want to make sure that the rubber band is holding them tightly together because this will result in a sturdier bond with the Mod Podge.

Once the glue has dried (I left mine overnight just to be careful) remove the rubber band and pop that flat blade back into your chisel handle. This is my favorite part. Carefully cut back and stamp material that hangs over the line of the cork. This is your chance to fix any lumps or mistakes and give your stamp a smooth, seamless look.

And that’s it! You’re done! Now take that pad of ink and get stamping! You may find that there are some parts of the stamp that show up even though you’ve carved them back, so be prepared to add some finishing touches to your stamp once you’ve applied the ink.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial and that it wasn’t too wordy or picture heavy! I had a lot of fun working on it so expect to see more in the future!

Tiny Octopus Designs is having a sale! Come by the shop before…

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Tiny Octopus Designs is having a sale! Come by the shop before the month is up to get 15% off of anything in the store!

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Leroy the Octopus Pendant

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I’d like to introduce Leroy the darling little octopus pendant! This fella is a one of a kind piece of art handmade from polymer clay and painted with acrylic paints. I’ve applied several layers of protective finish to preserve his colors from daily wear and tear and it also gave him a little bit of a gloss as though he’s just climbed out of the ocean!

Leroy and his pals are all for sale at Tiny Octopus Designs and through the month of February I’m having a 15% off sale with a coupon code! The code can be found at my Facebook Page and will be valid until March 1st so use it while it’s there!

Something about the way Leroy is posed makes it look like he’s sucking his thumb while gazing out across the horizon. Am I the only one who sees this?

Mack the Adorable Jellyfish Pendant

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Mack is one of the newest additions to my Etsy shop and she is oh so sweet and lovable! She’s a one of a kind piece handmade out of polymer clay and painted with acrylic paints. I’ve added several layers of a protective finish to protect her colors from daily wear and tear.

I don’t know what it is about jellyfish, but I always feel the need to give them a little bit of blush. No idea why. Just do. So she may look a little shy, but she’s a great little addition to any wardrobe.

Check out her listing at Tiny Octopus Designs!

If you have time, swing by my Facebook Page for updates on new items and upcoming sales! There’s a coupon code there just waiting for you!

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