The past few years, Christmas has taken a hit in my family. There's not as much disposable income as before. While many rue this event, I've found it strangely freeing. I don't need to worry about buying an expensive present for that cousin, or my grandmother, because we're all reigning in our holiday spending. This, combined with my drive to always do something creative that's not always writing-related, has led to a slew of home-made presents. Between scouring Michael's and searching the web, I've compiled a pretty good set of resources for the DIY (do-it-yourself) gifter.
1. Whip it up: A community of crafters who contribute their less-traditional creations, with a focus on fiber and fabric (crochet, knit, quilt, embroider, sew, etc) arts. They also review craft books.
2. The Anticraft: Imagine that Martha Stewart and Marilyn Mason had a baby, and that baby did crafts. He or she would be the epitome of the Anticraft. Projects include recipes, craft instructions, and other activities almost guaranteed to get coal in your stocking.
3. Crochet Me: A great resource for the modern crocheter; signing up for a free membership allows you access to the good patterns.
4. Ravelry: This is the youtube of fiber arts patterns. Users post their own patterns, or link to free/paid patterns online. In addition, the site has strong social-networking capabilities.
5. Curbly: An all-around fantastic DIY site, including projects on interior decorating/design. Their “Thrift Store Repurposing Guide” is worth a look.
6. The DIY Maven: A crafty chick, contributor to Curbly, and all-around inspired DIY-er.
7. Geek Crafts: Know a nerd? Make him or her something from this site! I've got my eye on the Star Wars amigurumi (little crocheted dolls).
8. Craftzine: Provides patterns and instructions for fiber arts, cooking, home decorating, and beyond.
9. Futuregirl: Much like DIY Maven, with more traditional fiber arts projects.
10. Instructables: This is the love-child of Geek Crafts and Craftzine. Many of the projects are more in-depth, and paying for the membership allows you to see the steps in a printable PDF, but still an amazing resource for the DIYer.
11. NeedleNoodles: Author of the book “Creepy Cute Crochet,” this blogger posts patterns for creating monstrous amigurimi, like robots, vikings, and druids.
12. The Roxycraft Blog: Lessons, video tutorials, and patterns for crochet projects.
13. Style Crush: “Fashion, home & DIY for the style-obsessed”
Though Jason doesn't make any of the presents he gives to Elizabeth in my story “Christmas Packages,” they do make a lotta luv ;)
Blurb: Elizabeth has watched with frustration as her relationship with Jason slowly faded away. Braced for their inevitable end, this “nice girl” is instead surprised—and aroused—by her boyfriend’s naughty Christmas plans. Jason has tiptoed around what really turns him on, afraid Lizzie would run screaming from his kinkier desires. But as their relationship flags, he latches onto a last-ditch effort to inject energy into their sex life—and their love.
For twelve days leading up to Christmas, Jason gives Lizzie a new present, each one enticing her further into his dark desires. Now Lizzie needs to loosen up a little—to give up enough control to submit to her edgiest urges and give herself completely to the man determined to be hers forever.
To enter, leave a comment at any of the blogs on my tour or tweet about the book/contest using the hashtag #christmaspackages
Monday—The Nine Naughty Novelists
Tuesday--Andie Marie's Sidewalk
Wednesday--Kate Davies Blogs!
Thursday--Kelly Jamieson's Building Castles
“Open it.” He held his breath as she unwrapped the small package, folding the paper into a precise rectangle. Lizzie, his little neat freak. The deliberate movements of her hands and her prim way of opening everything from the newspaper to cereal boxes to presents fascinated him and gave him one more thing to love about her. Hell, sometimes it even turned him on.
She cocked her head to the side in what he thought of as her curious little bird pose and popped open the lid of the box to reveal a blue silk eye mask. She turned to him with one eyebrow cocked. “I’m sleeping just fine, Jason.”
Though he tried not to read into her words, he cringed inside. He didn’t want her to sleep poorly without him, per se, but would it be too much to ask for her not to be sleeping fine?
She’d always been able to read him, almost as well as he could read her, and she cupped his cheek. “I’ve missed you, Jason. The bed is empty without you.”
He kissed her before saying. “Yeah, hotel beds leave much to be desired. Mainly, you.” Her pupils dilated and he kissed her again, lingering on her lips. “Besides, the blindfold isn’t for sleeping.” Holding her gaze, he watched the understanding fly across her face, only to be replaced with warm delight.
“Oh, it’s that kind of blindfold. How very inventive.” Her grin gave him hope that maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t run from his desires.
He stroked her back, enjoying the softness of her gray sweater. But it would have to come off. “Why don’t you go change into your robe and point me in the direction of the candles and oil.”
She shuddered under his hand and her breathing hitched. Their eyes locked as she answered. “Okay. And everything’s in our bedroom.”
Our bedroom—he loved hearing that. And it was past time he showed her just how much. “Then change in the bathroom, love, and I’ll have everything set up when you’re done.”