Saturday, February 20, 2010

Last days of closing sale

Drop into Digital Designers Den ( and see all the products that are on sale at 75% off. All but a couple of our designers have set their stores to 75% off and you can find anything from personal use scrapkits (full size and tagger) to commercial use products. Many items are under $1.00 so you can't lose. Sunday is the last day; Monday we'll be on our way to other stores.

Here are some examples:

New writing prompts

Sorry I fell behind. Extreme cold here has been bothering my sinuses and triggering migraines. But enough about that. Here are 5 prompts randomly pulled from my writing prompt pot.

1) the fake excuses . . .
2) Does your mother know?
3) This is what was left when he was gone . . .
4)Think of something you've always wanted to say to someone (living or dead) but that you felt you couldn't. Freewrite for 20 minutes, writing a letter to that person (you can use a fictional name if you'd like) and telling him/her that important message.
5)This one is especially for those of you who write fiction. First, work with a story you've already written, one whose characters need fleshing out. Write the character's name at the top of the page, then fill in this sentence 5 or 10 times: He/she is the sort ofperson who . . . . Determine which details could be "telling" details for you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Glimpse At The Next Pandemic? A review of Carla Buckley's The Things That Keep Us Here

The world as we know it, devastated by an influenza virus carried by birds? Don't say it can't happen. It can; it has. No, let me correct that. There has been no bird flu pandemic of yet, but there have been outbreaks of bird flu that caused deaths and left lingering disability in victims. It might have been about seven years ago, here in the Tidewater region of Virginia where I live, that there were reported cases of avian borne influenza that hospitalized a number of people. Some died; some remained in hospital for a long time then had to go through physical therapy to regain strength. I know because one such gentleman was in an aqua therapy class with me. He had been in the hospital almost a year!

Carla Buckley takes the notion that an avian borne influenza might be the next pandemic and explores how we would handle it in her debut novel, The Things That Keep Us Here. Buckley takes us inside the life of one family in middle America, the family of veterinary medicine researcher, Peter Brooks, his wife, Ann, and their two young daughters and lets us observe what happens when they are faced with the pandemic.

In a sense, the Brooks family is luckier than most. Peter Brooks is one of the first to be aware of the threat of the flu and is able to advise his estranged wife of precautions to take to help her and their children avoid exposure. However, things move faster than anyone anticipates and the Brooks family is just one more competing for increasingly scare resources like food, water and medicine.

To complicate matters, there is a mysterious tragedy in the past that has caused Peter and Ann to grow apart so that when conditions force Peter and his beautiful research assistant to seek shelter in the Brooks home, there is added tension. Crowd three tense adults and two bored and restless children into one house to isolate them from the risk of infection, and it's amazing that life continues as smoothly as it does.

Buckley does a great job of realistically describing the mad scramble for scarce resources, the sort of precautionary tactics that might be used to keep the risk of infection down and the make-do attitude families would need to adopt under such conditions. Once the realism of such details is firmly in place and the reader is fixed in a world where the electricity might never again come on, and a meal might be mustard on crackers, she hits hard asking what we would do to protect our family. Would we forsake a dear friend, a neighbor, because we are afraid that helping them might open the door to the risk of infection? Would we remain isolated or reach out and band together? Hard questions. Would we give up all notions of civility for reasons of safety and expediency?

It's a bleak scene that Buckley paints, to be sure. As a reader, I felt it keenly. What I had trouble with, or was unhappy with, was the ending. After the slow and steady buildup of the world of the pandemic, the post pandemic world seems to come rushing at us. Poof! It feels like a chunk of the novel is missing. The transition following a death in the family and the remainder of the family's retreat to a rural location lacks something. Suddenly, it seems, the remaining members of the Brooks family are again gathered at their old home but years have passed. Ann's earlier worries about the effects of the pandemic on her daughters' development are inadequately touched on. The old tragedy in the family has been revealed in an unsatisfactory way.

And what are the things that keep us/them here? Does Buckley refer to that which will allow us to survive in such situations? Or does this refer to Ann's return to the old house, the old neighborhood which has seen so much devastation? What would make her want to return? Loyalty to the family member who did not survive? A testimony to family, friends, and neighbors who died in the pandemic that life goes on? Decide for yourself when you read The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More bargains during DDD's closing sale

These items and more available at 75% off at Digital Designers Den closing sale:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Store Closing - Huge Sale on most products

Digital Designers Den is closing it's doors on 2/22/10. Over the past 6 months we have experienced anumber of crashes due to problems with our server/host. Our web master was unable to provide sufficient security on her own for us and the approximately 9 other stores she serves and is going over to a secure server where someone else will be responsible for providing security. The cost involved in this move plus other issues have made it impossible for Echo and I to keep the store. We will be moving into the new Sunflower Scraps Boutique that will be opening soon.

Here are some of the bargains you will find at 75% off.
Many thanks to those of you who have supported us in our business endeavor. I will post more previews of bargains later today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A sweetheart of a sale

Recent LOs with Romatica by SweetMade

Here's my hubby captured unaware:

and my son and his girlfriend:

You can find this sweet kit here:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Contest update

I had 9 participants in the name this kit contest and 12 suggestions. 3 of the suggestions came from DDD's new forum (thannk you Jodi, Messina, and Katlen), 3 from the Blush /n Dusty group (thank you Colleen, Iris and Donna) and 3 here on the blog (thanKs to Janette aka Dragons' Lair Designs, scrapscrabbler, and Lynne aka BabyCakes).
Here's what was suggested:
Katlen - Spooning In The Parlor
Messina - Victorian Paramour
Jodi - Utterly Romantic, Vintage Valentine, and Vintage Romance (scrapscrabbler beat you to this one)
Colleen _ Romancing Your True Love
Iris _ Pink Legacy
Donna - sweet Victorian and Victorian Bliss
Janette - Shabby Love & Vintage Love
scrapsscrabbler - Vintage Romance
Lynne - Vintage Love Affair

Lots of good names. I just couldn't choose so to be fair, I gave each suggestion a number, made paper slips for each, fold , shook, and asked hubby to draw one.

Congratulations Colleen! It's going to be Romancing Your True Love. Now just give me time to change al those file names and package up and it's yours.

Since you were all so sweet for playing, how about I give you each a coupon for $4.00 on anything in my store? All of my Valentine kits are 45% off until 2/14 so maybe you will find something you like.

It's late here and we're having another Nor'easter (or however that's supposed to be spelled lol) so I'm heading for bed and hoping the lopsided pine (huge) in the lot behind us doesn't fall on my house. Will work on changing and uploading the kit tomorrow and getting coupon codes out to all of you.

Thanks so much!

Update on name this kit

Here are the names suggested so far:
Colleen suggested: Romancing your true love.
Iris suggested: Pink Legacy
Dragon's Lair Design suggested: Shabby Love or Vintage Love.
Donna suggested Sweet Victorian or Victorian Bliss (sorry I missed this earlier, Donna)
Scrapscrabbler suggested Vintage Romance

Am going over to check our forum at Digital Designers Den to see if I have any suggestions there. Giving this a few more hours.

Thank you all!

Still Need A Name & freebies

Here is the completed kit. I did previews of the elements separate from the papers so you could see the papers better. I've had one comment posted here on the blog and have a couple suggestions from the Blush & Dusty group:
Colleen suggested: Romancing your true love.
Iris suggested: Pink Legacy
Dragon's Lair Design suggested: Shabby Love or Vintage Love.

I'm leaving this open until tomorrow evening for more suggestions. Then I'll make a choice so I can get it in the store and announce the winner.

Also didn't manage to post the DDD contest freebie yesterday as I was having computer trouble. Here it is:

You can get it here:

And this is for today:

Get it here:

Still not too late to enter the designer contest at We are extending round one another week as we were slow getting things going due to technical difficulties.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Name this kit

I usually don't have a problem naming kits but I'm stuck this time. Above are the papers for my valentine's day kit. I'm still working on the element preview. If you can give me a good name, I'll give you a copy of the kit. Thanks for your help.

Designer Contest at Digital Designers Den

We've got 2 lovely entries so far in week one of the contest. Please check them out at
Also have another freebie for you:

Pick this up here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week 1 day 3 freebie

Another freebie that coordinates with the colors and theme of Digital Designers Den designer contest. See contest details here:

Get freebie here:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Digital Designers Den contest freebie wk 1 day 2

Here is link to download:

Please check out our designer contest at