November 1st, 2010

Clearly I don't have enough to do

The authors from the MTV Books Blog have migrated to a new blog called YA Outside the Lines and invited lots of our friends. It's kicking off this morning, so be sure to check it out!

In personal news, I am starting National Novel Writing Month this morning, and if you want to be my buddy, my user name over there is jenniferechols. I was not planning to do this because I have been working on some other stuff. However, on Saturday I sent in the revision of The Book I Love So Much That I Will Just Die If It Never Gets Published, a.k.a. my NaNoWriMo book from 2008. That clears my plate.

Sort of. There's still the matter of TWELVE GIFT BASKETS to make for the Southern Magic Reader's Luncheon. I did make a lot of progress yesterday, though. My personal assistant (a.k.a. 9-year-old child) helped me divide the books by genre. Then I went shopping.

I had already been to Hobby Lobby and their baskets were not 50% off! If you have ever hit the Hobby Lobby 50% off basket sale, you are not buying a basket full-price at Hobby Lobby, let me tell you. So I hit the 40% off basket sale at Michael's.

To repeat: I am not a crafty person. I did have a crafty phase when I was a child, because my grandmother got me into painting and crocheting and macrame. Cross-stitch was a popular thing to do in my hometown when I was a teenager (which is probably why I have such a problem coming up with hip ideas for teen novels sometimes), and in college I found myself cross-stitching a LOT. It was a cheap yet thoughtful Christmas gift, and most importantly, it was SO much easier than studying for world history exams. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "You are an addict." So I went cold turkey and threw out all my cross-stitching paraphernalia, and I have never fallen off the wagon.

But walking through Michael's was HARD, man. It wasn't just the cross-stitching. I lingered for a very long time over this:

Think of the wonder my life would become if I could make my own bows! I was saved when I turned the box over and saw a DVD was included. If you have to watch a DVD to make it work, I am not buying it. Which, today, includes just about everything, so I save a lot of money.

I continued browsing. Everything called to me as something glittery I could use to create a beautiful gift basket, yet I knew a lot of it just wouldn't do. A very special set of circumstances have to come together in order to make a functional gift basket:

1. You need a basket with a handle, because you have to gather the clear plastic covering the basket on top of something and put a bow on it.

2. Or, if the basket doesn't have a handle, you need a Tall Thing to go in the back of the basket in place of the handle. I know from experience that the purchase of the Tall Thing is no laughing matter. It has to be Tall But Not Too Tall, it can't tip over (like loofah brush for a spa basket--believe me, I considered everything), and it has to be something I would actually want if I won one of these baskets, which leaves out earring trees shaped like headless women in dresses.

Michael's had plenty of baskets, but very few baskets with handles, and absolutely no suitable Tall Things! After half an hour of shopping, this is what my cart looked like:

And lest you get greedy, that hot pink feather boa is for MY personal author basket, okay? I don't have the budget to splurge like that on all twelve.

Finally I hunkered down and chose some baskets. I could not see over the top of the cart anymore

so I was going to check out, take them to my car, and come back in to browse, but the line was so long that I decided to do all my shopping first. I stumbled blindly around the store for another hour, and at one point a clerk asked me, "Are you finding everything okay?" I just looked at her.

Next stop: JoAnn Fabrics. No baskets with handles. Hot pink feather boas at 50% off, which made me cry.

Then: Kirkland's. Actually it is next door to Pier One and I thought it WAS Pier One. I wandered around for a long time thinking, "Wow, Pier One is even tackier than usual" before I realized my mistake.

Then: Pier One. No baskets with handles. They did have glittery skulls for 50% off and I thought they might look good in the paranormal basket, but I exercised restraint. They were not Tall Enough and I am on a budget.

Then: Home Goods. Christmas wreaths and Christmas trees made of hot pink feather boas, I kid you not. But no baskets with handles. At this point I realized that it is a vast conspiracy! The basket factories of the world KNOW we need baskets with handles, but they are only making boxy storage-type baskets now because they fit better on the store shelves! I was very angry about this until I came across...TALL THINGS!!! So I bought a bunch of Tall Things.

Then: T. J. Maxx. No baskets at all! Lots of earring trees shaped like headless women in dresses.

Finally: World Market. BASKETS WITH HANDLES!

And then I wanted to go home and put all these baskets together and get them out of the way so I could start NaNoWriMo today, but I had to take my personal assistant trick-or-treating. I have placed the books in the baskets and I foresee some serious problems. I will let you know.