Wednesday, May 20, 2015


God, May, you are such a stunner. 

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy spring!

Oh, it's been a good spring so far. A busy spring. The mother's day rush nearly capsized my little Etsy shop, but in the process I had two $1000+ weeks. My official comment on that is: da-yum. 

I am working at the Earlville Opera House twice a week. It isn't easy, but it feels good.

In between the Etsy and the Opera House, I am squeezing in garden time. The peas are up. The broccoli is in. Sunday I did battle with weedblock fabric, my raspberry patch, and a truck full of mulch, and I have the bruises to prove it.

Mostly, I'm feeling like the time to post here three time a week just doesn't exist anymore-- I'm spending a lot more time earning a living, which is really what I need to be doing with my time. But the other day, I thought about the possibility that I'd get to the end of the growing season without anything to show (on the blog) for it, no photos of the garden, and that thought made me really sad. So. Here I am, briefly. I don't know how often I'll be checking in, but as I've said, there is Facebook, and there is Instagram, too, now. Actually, I am love-love-loving Instagram. 

Patrick and Pete and Del and Olive and the chickens are good. Del had ACL surgery last week, and is wearing the Cone of Shame but getting around just fine. This month we're celebrating five years since we "met" Gilbertsville and put in an offer on this place, and two years since we got Del. It's really a fantastic month to be living.

Hope life is treating you well, too, wherever you be.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mmm, yup.

Well. Another month went by, didn't it? Sorry.

Things are changing, here. I'm not sure if they're permanent changes or not, but right now my winter looks different from just about every other winter of late. And it's not just the walls of snow everywhere. (This is the snowiest winter since I was 10, I think.) This winter, parts of our house have become factory and warehouse. Parts of my days-- pretty big parts, really-- have been given over to sourcing, manufacturing, keyword research, order fulfillment. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are post office days. Usually I have between four and ten orders to ship. The Etsying business has been thrumming, and I am so grateful. 

Of course, in wintertime I have the space to log long hours into Etsy. I have no idea what this all is going to look like when it's canning season, or even springtime. I have no idea if I am going to come back to regular posting when I have things that are post-worthy again. Sigh.

As much as I hope to be able to find the time again, I'm also feeling like the urge to share parts of myself online is being sated right now with Etsy things-- new product announcements and Twitter posts and Facebook posts-- and I'm wondering if perhaps the old blog has run its course. 

That thought makes me sad. 

Sigh. Well. If you've been a longtime reader and you're interested in keeping up with me and with our life, then I invite you to friend me on Facebook at Kristina Plath Strain. I think I know who all the longtime readers are, so that'll be a good way to keep in touch. Be aware that Etsy updates will be part of the package!

Next time I check in, it'll be spring! Let's hope, at least...

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Thursday, January 22, 2015


Happy new year!

Oh my goodness, I truly did not intend to be gone for over three weeks, but there you go. That's January for you. 

Sometimes you continue on exactly as you've been continuing, and sometimes you veer off into the woods. Sometimes you take up snipe hunting. Sometimes you build a cabin in a clearing and decide to stay.

I'm trying to decide which of those metaphors best describes my life right now, the snipe hunt or the cabin-building, but it's definitely one of 'em. I've been spending nearly every waking moment thinking about my Etsy shop, or making new stuff for my Etsy shop, or ordering new materials to make stuff for my Etsy shop. I am absolutely loving it. I'm also a little nervous, but I'm getting sales, so, I tell myself, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have made bath bombs and massage bars and bath salts. I ordered a dozen new essential oils and extracts last week and CAN'T WAIT to play with them. Every time I order a new installment of (expensive) stuff, I think I'm off on a foolish snipe hunt. And every time I get an order, I decide the snipes must be tigers, and not snipes after all. Yes. Surely these are deadly tigers I am stalking through the undergrowth. Surely the tigers will be caught and I will realize, after they are caught, just how important it was that they be caught. 

And then I stand at the window and watch it SNOW, and I pace, and I come up with new ideas and dive back into the undergrowth. Surely they are tigers and not snipes. Surely this will turn out to be The Thing that gets me back on track, that enables me to make a (fulfilling) living in Gilbertsville. 

The on-track feeling is so good. So far, 2015 has felt that way nearly every single day, and I don't want to deviate from that feeling. I'm in Bronx this week, helping my aunt through Round 1 of chemo (she's doing great) and even here I'm feeling on track. Yes. This is how it's going to be. I am needed here. I am needed here, and in between being needed I am Etsying like a fiend. 

I am looking for more writing work. I am going to interview for a part-time (OUTSIDE THE HOUSE) job doing arts promotion at a theater. I have not gone to a job interview for a very long time. Like, five years. Oh my god. I probably shouldn't let myself be nervous about that fact. Nope. I should not at all. 

I am going to try to be better at blogging, moving forward. I don't want to talk to much about Etsy (because it's tedious to everyone but me) and there isn't really any crafting happening at the moment. But it is winter, and it is lovely (still). I am cooking great quantities of last garden's produce every night, and we are eating well and spending not much. Del and Pete and Olive are well. The chickens are well, and still laying. 

That's the news from Gilbertsville. How are things where you are?

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas, 2014

Christmas, 2014: check! There was much carousing, there was the eating of Christmas cookies, there was caroling, giggling, presents, and way too much to drink. There was Del, tearing open his new (honking) pheasant toy (and efficiently giving it a tracheotomy) on Christmas eve. There was a bright, sunny, warm day the day after Christmas, and we all stood around blinking (and groaning) because we legitimately had not had a sunny day since before Thanksgiving. The next day, and the day after that, we hiked. 

Nothing feels better than a good hike after indulgence. 

And now, on with this business of seeing out the year. 2014. Better than 2013. Still tough, though, but there's... cough, pardon me... there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last. I'm finally starting to figure it out, I think-- that I want to do more than just write, that even if I'm doing incredibly fascinating work, the will to sit at my desk 40 hours a week just isn't there. Even 20 feels like a stretch sometimes. But I do enjoy it, I do like flexing my brain muscles, and you can't beat the overhead. So off I am merrily going, in 2015, to build a champion hybrid life: to grow the Etsy shop, to find a better writing gig, to support Patrick's departure from his (soul-sucking) job that he's needed to leave for years, to figure out how we're going to stay solvent financially in the interim. It needs to happen this year. It has needed to happen for years, actually, and yet they have flown past and nothing has changed. But no longer. THIS IS THE YEAR. I'm sure of it. No kitchen to remodel (woo hoo!) no major life changes, no menacing car repairs (knock on wood). This is the year. Fingers crossed.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Breathe, return to center

This is how it's supposed to be. Saturday afternoon. Christmas cookies. Carol of the bells. 

I spent all week in the Bronx, with my aunt. I always love being with her: she's a sunlamp radiating sweetness and warmth, even in dark times. Even when she's recovering from surgery and traveling headlong towards scary months of chemo. This is a recent development-- sudden might actually be a better word-- and in between reeling, I have moments of grace where I feel completely and satisfactorily sure how this will play out: it will suck, but she will have me with her. 

My place is to provide whatever I can to get her through this, just the latest insult heaped upon the sweetest, gentlest person I know.

Yep. That's how it's gonna be. She's gonna lick it-- kung fu karate chop it is more like it-- and sweetly hand it its walking papers. That's her way. 

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Friday, December 12, 2014

In progress

Paper flower inspiration from here: I am using wooden beads as the centers, and tissue paper, not crepe paper for the petals, and so far they are turning out just fine. Neat project. I always love trying something new this time of year.

Also in progress: snow globe bases, and a vintage suitcase re-vamp. I can't share what that's going to become, but I know it's going to be cool. And slowly, the pile of wrapped things is growing downstairs, and slowly, the gift baskets are filling out and looking ready to trot. I love this time of year. What kind of merry-making is happening 'round your parts?

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