Flags, Flags, and More Flags!

I have been busy, busy, busy sewing many strands of Nautical Code Flags for clients and shipping them all over the country. Some customers are using the flags as wall decor in their children’s bedrooms, and others are using them for weddings, birthday parties and bridal showers. One customer is hanging their flags outside on their screened in porch. So much fun!!

Nautical Code Flags spell MALIBU

Can you read these Code Flags??

I LOVE custom orders! Although I only offer 8″ x8″ felt flags on etsy.com for sale, I get giddy when customers inquiry if I create custom flags out of other fabric choices (and sizes) as well. One customer asked if I can sew them ‘larger than life’ to be used as a stage prop for an upcoming play. Of course I answered a resounding YES!!! I hope they decide to go ahead with the order!

The felt flags are made of the finest polyester felt available, which means you can hang them outdoors… and even toss them in the washer!!! I tested it out, and they washed up beautifully! *Please remove them from the rope before washing… and hang to dry (do NOT tumble dry).

Currently I am working on the pattern for a larger flag (18″ x 18″), sewn of UV Coated Flag Fabric. One edge will be bound with 100% cotton twill and I hope to secure a reliable source for brass grommets. I’m so excited! These flags will be ‘the real deal’ and look spectacular!!! Keep your eyes on this site as I will post a photo as soon as my samples are finished.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer,


Careful What You Wish For…

A few months ago, in February I made a  HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner for my brother’s big SEVEN-OH! Since the party was held at Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, NJ, decorations were in keeping of the venue… Nautical. I cut up some felt, and made Nautical Code Flags. They were a huge hit!!

I began to think these letters would be a great item to sell in my Etsy store and quickly added them to my product line up. Following the mantra, ‘Go big or go home’…  I applied to 2 juried craft shows in the hopes of being able to sell these flags locally. Not only did I get accepted to BOTH of them, BUT a good sized order from Etsy came in too!

Yards of felt, piles of pins, and spools and spools of bobbins have become my new best friends. Sewing all day and night to get ready for the craft shows, and answering email questions and orders have been keeping me off the streets.


Since I’m technically retired… I have to ask myself, “When did I ever have time to work?”


How Advent Calendars became my new OBSESSION!

One of my most favorite things to do when I travel is to check out Independently owned Bookstores. Having been an owner of a few myself before retirement, I still get a thrill walking into them. I love the smell, the colors of the spines, the new titles displayed for all to see, and most of all revel in the creative and clever check out areas. Each store has it’s own unique style.

While traveling in Maine a few years ago, I stumbled upon this adorable little bookshop and couldn’t contain myself. I had a few spare minutes, so I wandered in. Along with an assortment of the newest latest and greatest books by famous authors, was a display of greeting cards and, yes you guessed it, Advent Calendars.

Ahhh… the memories. When I was young, my mom would pin an Advent Calendar to the living room lampshade on November 30th. My two brothers and I would take turns opening a window each day, revealing a surprise inside… then we’d rush out the door to catch the school bus. Oh the thrill, the excitement that little calendar gave us!

A light bulb moment popped in my head as I looked at these Calendars! “I should continue the tradition!”, I told myself. Why, yes! I’ll buy a calendar for each of my two brothers, and my three adult children who have flown the nest to begin their new families. Super idea!!

Personally I prefer the calendars with cute pictures behind each window, instead of a scripture reading, so I immediately disregarded any calendars with a Nativity scene. I also passed over any designs that were too, you know, ‘old school’. My eyes suddenly spotted the PERFECT calendar, with a whimsical snowman as the design. “Score!”. The bad news… there was only ONE. I needed FIVE. Crestfallen, I left the shop after the salesperson told me there was no way to order any more. “Sigh.”

I brainstormed the entire eight hour ride home. By the time I pulled into my driveway I just KNEW I could make my own Advent Calendars with the help of Google and Pinterest. Well… it didn’t turn out to be that easy. No where could I find directions or helpful hints on how to make an Advent Calendar like the one I wanted from years ago.

Oh yes, you could certainly find many directions for all different ways to make them… 25 tiny filled socks, paper bags, cloth drawstring bags, or (fill-in-the-blank). Someone wrapped 25 different Christmas Stories to be read each night, others made wallhangings out of felt with 25 pockets holding 25 tiny ornaments (or candy). None of those were what I was looking for.

I shut down my computer, grabbed my sketch pad and began drawing. The rest, as they say, is history. That year I hand cut each window with a sharp craft knife then using a bone folder I carefully creased each window so it would open effortlessly. Now I use a professional die cut machine. I’ve come a long way!


Gingerbread House Advent Calendar 2016

Gingerbread House    Advent Calendar           2016

Check out my Etsy Shop (www.etsy.com/uniqueandnovel) to see my designs.



2016 Advent Calendar Designs

We are so excited to announce our new calendar designs for 2016 are NOW available in our ETSY SHOP. Two new designs join our line up… A Whimsical Gingerbread House and a more serious one, ‘A Child is Born.’ Order one (or two) today and continue a family tradition that has been enjoyed for years!

Gingerbread House Advent Calendar Nativity Advent Countdown Calendar

Past year’s designs are also available… Nutcracker, and Ornaments

Nutcracker Advent Countdown Christmas CalendarChristmas Ornament Advent Countdown Calendar


And The Winner Is…

Congratulations Jean Reistle!! You WON the Beach Themed Mini-Canvas!!! Please private message me via Facebook with your mailing address so I can mail it out to you.

Hand-painted Beach Scene Mini Canvas

FREE Giveaway!!!

Thank you to all who commented on my site, and Facebook pages. Also thank you for the kinds words! You guys ROCK!!!

Keep watching this site as FREE giveaways will become a monthly thing for the entire year! Sometimes it will be art work, other times it might be a small quilted piece… and who knows, maybe another time it will be a book. Even I don’t know what will be offered!

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Creative and Happy New Year! May it be your best year EVER!!!


December Giveaway!

Happy Holidays to one and all!

In the spirit of the Holiday Season… Unique and Novel is offering a FREE GIVEAWAY!!! An original hand-painted Mini-Canvas… painted by yours truly.

Hand-painted Beach Scene Mini Canvas

Measuring an adorable 2″ x 4″, this little cutie will bring that summer beach feeling straight to your door.. Painted in shades of clear ocean blues, with a touch of soothing beach sand, it will certainly bring a sigh of relief to your hectic holiday life. When you feel overwhelmed, just gaze at the painting, take a deep breath, hold for the count of 4 beats, slowly let it out and imagine you hear the rhythmic ocean waves and smell the salty air. Ahhhhh…

On it’s own this little masterpiece is adorable… but the cuteness factor has been bumped up a few degrees by the packaging. It comes with it’s own tiny easel, wrapped together in a clear cellophane bag and tied with raffia. Although the presentation is FABULOUS… I urge you to tear it open and place the artwork on your desk, your night stand, near the kitchen sink, or wherever you need to take a deep breath for a moment.

Ready to ship Mini Canvas

All wrapped up as pretty as can be

All you have to do to earn a chance (or two) is visit the Unique and Novel site and leave a comment… any comment. Feel free to subscribe while you are there. No pressure… but if you decide to subscribe you will be assured of never missing new product announcements, in addition to more wonderful GIVEAWAYS.

If you REALLY want to win this artwork… you can earn another entry by visiting Unique and Novel’s Facebook page and leave a comment there too. Again, follow if you feel so inclined, but honestly there is no pressure to do so. It would be nice… but not necessary.

On Sunday evening, December 20th… at 10:00pm EST… RandomPicker.com will be used to choose a winner! The winner’s name will be posted both on the website and Facebook page. At that time we will ask for mailing instructions via private messaging. IF the winner does not contact us by Midnight (EST) on December 27th… then a new winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!!!

PS… Don’t want to play games and jump through hoops, but still want the painting??? Go to my ETSY SHOP and buy one!!! It’s a little bit different than the GIVEAWAY painting… but the exact same quality and features.




Advent vs. Countdown vs. LIFE Calendars

Advent Calendars are so much fun!!! It’s exciting to wake up each morning and open a new window wondering what could possibly be behind the little door.

The meaning of Advent has changed over the years. Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany. Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration. Today however, Advent is celebrated as the 24 days before Christmas… The Birth of Baby Jesus.

The idea of a paper poster or card with 24 small doors to open began in Germany in the late 1800s… and soon spread throughout Europe and North America. Originally pictures were from the Hebrew Bible… or words of Scripture. Many calendars today have no religious content.

This year Unique and Novel is excited to offer 2 new designs in addition to last year’s Snowman, with the choice of three completely different inside surprises. Depending on the style… it could be a cute picture, a Random Act of Kindness, or a Riddle. A 25th door has been included as the ‘Ta-Dah’ moment.

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars

A Countdown Calendar differs from an Advent Calendar in many ways. Most importantly the idea behind the Countdown Calendar is to create excitement for many of life’s upcoming celebrations. For example… a Wedding, Birthday, Retirement, Vacation, Return from Deployment, Graduation. These are only a small sampling of ideas on our design boards here at Unique and Novel.

In essence, the two calendars are designed the same. Both are essentially a picture with 25 windows and a surprise behind each one. The designs and purpose are what set them apart.

In addition to Advent and Countdown Calendars… Unique and Novel is in the process of developing LIFE Calendars… Daily suggestions and happy thoughts to help you achieve a better life. Want to lose a few pounds, or to live a calmer life? Want to giggle every morning for 25 days in a row? How about reading an Inspirational quote to start your day??? All of these and MORE are in the works.

Subscribe to this website to be the FIRST to know about these UNIQUE and NOVEL Calendars!!! Just click on the ‘subscribe’ button in the top right corner.

All calendars will be available for purchase in my ESTY store as they come off the design table.

Choose from:

Ornament Design…

Ornament Design

Ornament Design

Or Nutcracker Design:

Nutcracker Design

Nutcracker Design


How to place a CUSTOM ORDER will be available in my ESTY SHOP soon!!

New Direction!

This website has taken a new direction… AGAIN!

Originally it was decided this site would be used to promote books. Well… this is accomplished by me on so many other sites… www.belmarbookcon.com for one, and www.recycleyourbook.com for another. So I’m going back to promoting items I make and sell in my etsy store.

Currently available are:  Advent Calendars!

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars

Designs include Graphic Ornaments, Nutcracker, and a Snowman. Three choices of inside art is also available… Cute Holiday Drawings, Riddles, and our best seller, Random Acts of Kindness. Here’s a sneak peek:

Inside options for calendars

Inside options for calendars

For availability and TO PLACE AN ORDER please go to my etsy store.

DIY Kits, a tutorial, and custom calendars are ‘in the works’. Check back often for updates.

On My Way to Book Expo 2015!!!

I just signed up to attend Book Expo America 2015 in New York City!! I have been many times before… but this is the first time I am attending as a blogger.


For those of you not familiar… Book Expo is the once a year conference extravaganza for the book industry. Publishers, authors, booksellers, and media professionals all converge at the Javitz Center for 3 days of non-stop book talking!! Trust me when I tell you your eyes glaze over, your feet throb, you get cranky, and you have the biggest smile on your face when you leave.

In years past the publishers handed out so many galleys (just written yet still un-published books) you needed suitcases to haul them all home. Currently with the invention of the e-reader and printing costs escalating not as many are available. However… there is much to see and do at this event.

Although many celebrity authors are on hand to sign the newest copy of their book, I tend to steer clear of those long lines. Shifting my weight from one foot to the other for over an hour just to spend 2 seconds with an author is not, in my opinion the best use of my time. Besides… you get a more personal interaction by bumping into them on the elevator (ahem… Michael Connelly and James Patterson… not that I’m name dropping).

My focus this year is to attend the Blogger’s Conference to listen and learn from the top book bloggers on the net in hopes of pushing this site to it’s limits and become one of the very sought after sites for book information.

I have noticed there are hundreds of sites out there blogging for the Young Adult genre… as well as Romance, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy…. none of which I read. I’m hoping to blog about more ‘main-stream’ titles and self published authors (the unsung heroes of the industry)… in addition to small independent publishers. A lot of well written and interesting books come across my desk that YOU are not going to hear about unless I tell you about them.

Keep watching this site as it grows. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite author just by reading a review here.