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 ( to see my designs.



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!!!


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… for one, and 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.

Busy Reading…

There are so many GREAT books out there, I can’t keep on top of reading them all!! I would love to take an Evelyn Woods Speed Reading course, but I think that would make reading become more of a ‘job’ instead of the enjoyable experience it is supposed to be.

Oh wait… I DO read as a job! I read so I can direct you all to the best new authors. Duh! Aren’t I lucky to have such a peaceful and stress free job?

To that end… I have just finished the two books I will review this month.  Portion of the Sea, written by Christine Lemmon, and When Shotgun Goes Off Watch Out For Bear Trap by Rick Sterry (yes, that’s really the title). Speak about opposite ends of the spectrum!!! Any way. I will be posting those reviews late tonight.

Do YOU have a book I should read and review? If so, drop me a line at: deb (at) uniqueandnovel (dot) com.


James Patterson

OK… Confession time… I have NEVER read a book by James Patterson. Seriously!!! I have sold hundreds of them in my bookstores. I have met him and spoken to him over the years at trade shows for the book industry… but again NEVER have ever read a word he has written. I am even a follower of his blog, Facebook and newsletter.

Which is why I am here today to talk about James Patterson and his books.

When I attend these trade shows I would have a long list of things I hoped to accomplish. Finding small publishers offering unique titles, smoothing out problems with some of the larger publishers, getting a sneak peek on upcoming books I think would sell well, hob nob with the bigwigs in the publishing houses, and more. One thing I NEVER did was to stand in line to meet an author and have a book signed.

Every publisher would parade their latest and greatest authors out during the show and have them sit behind a table to sign books while another person ‘worked’ the crowd. Depending on the author the line could take a half an hour or more to get through. I didn’t have a half an hour to spare to just stand in line… nor did I care to.

Flying through the children’s section of the show one year I caught a glimpse of an author sitting by himself. No one was in line. I zoomed past and when I got to the end of the aisle I stopped up short, turned to my store manager and asked, “Was that James Patterson sitting by himself in the booth back there?” We back tracked to take a look.

Yes… Mr. Patterson was there to promote and sign copies of his new young adult fantasy series Maximum Ride. The show had just opened for the day and no one was really there yet. I started the conversation… but Mr. Patterson quickly took it over. Not only did he sign a book for me, but as he placed it ever so gingerly in my hands he explained to me the talking points I needed to hand sell this particular book in my stores.

Mr. Patterson is known by most as an awesome author… however few of you don’t know what a consummate business person he is. Go ahead… take a look at his website… I’ll wait.

La-di-da… Back yet?

Did you see where he offers the ability to read a bunch of chapter for FREE? He knows that if you invest the time, you will want to purchase the book to finish reading. Think about it… once you’ve started a book, you really can’t put it down.


Tell me… if you read James Patterson which is your favorite book? Your least favorite? If you haven’t read him (like me)… why not? What would make you read one??

Here is his most recent book…

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And here’s a link to PRE-ORDER his SOON TO BE RELEASED book (due March 24th)…

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Unique and Novel is happy to be an Amazon Affiliate. If you are planning on ordering the book/s any way, would you please be so kind as to click on the links above to go to Amazon and place your order? No personal information is shared, however a few pennies are put into the Unique and Novel affiliate account. I’m hoping by the end of the year to have earned enough for a cup of Starbuck’s coffee… A Grande Peppermint Mocha!!! Woo! Hoo! I would really appreciate it!









Hungry Girl Diet Book – Pre Order NOW!!!

Good News – Bad News – Good News

The famous Hungry Girls have FINALLY published a DIET BOOK!!!
It’s not available until March 25th
Click on the link below to pre-order it now… and it will be AT YOUR DOOR on the release date!!!

According to Publisher’s Weekly… this book is already a RUN AWAY BEST SELLER… and it’s not even out yet!!! The bookstores are loading their shelves just KNOWING everyone will want one!!!

Big Portions, never be hungry, and loose 10 pounds in 4 weeks!!!!

It’s time to lose that layer of winter fat girls!!! Bathing suit season will be here before you know it!

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Why Falling In Love With A Book Is Better Than Falling In Love With A Guy

I couldn’t help but share this with you all!!! I am spending the month of February writing about LOVE on my other site… While researching I came across this wonderful post on by Lauren Martin and thought you might get as much a kick out of it as I did.

Why Falling In Love With A Book Is Better Than Falling In Love With A Guy

Love is rough. I’ve spent many years avoiding it after the scars of past heartbreak have yet to fully heal. The memories spent crying over men who loved and left me are still as fresh as an open wound and keep me guarded against anything remotely similar. It’s easy to forget the good times, but seemingly impossible to forget the bad. That’s what life and love is about: falling down and getting back up. But sometimes, getting back up is harder than you ever imagined.

I remember slowly recovering from my own broken heart, looking for anything to distract me. I took to friends, who inevitably got tired of me bringing up his name and crying in their arms. I took up television, which only ever buried me deeper into the trenches as commercials for “Safe Haven” and “Valentine’s Day” sent me reeling into another depression.

I tried throwing myself into work, which only helped until 5 pm rolled around and I was left alone with no work, just perpetual self-loathing. I sat alone in my room, begging for a distraction, before the night became early morning and I was still stuck in my mind, in my heartache, riding out the pain.

My mother always told me that it’s better to rely on myself than a man, that my happiness had to come from my life. Obviously, this advice is age-old and doesn’t necessarily mean much. It’s common sense that if you rely on someone else, he or she is inevitably going to disappoint you, leaving you helpless and unable to stand on your own.

I needed to find something that was stable, that would always be there to distract me and keep me company in my loneliest hours. I needed to find someone that wouldn’t abandon me and wouldn’t make me nervous every time he didn’t call or text.

Finding something to love outside of a person will set you free. It will give you a sense of independence and a love that isn’t superficial. It will endure long past the fleeting romances and casual hookups. It will be there when you don’t want to talk to anyone, but also don’t want to be alone.

What will always be there when you need it? What will sit and wait for you after a long day? What will endure your tears and make you laugh? What will make you feel better when you need cheering up? What will help you escape when you need to disappear? What will help you forget your worries and give you advice?

I searched for years, trying to find what I was looking for in people, jobs, cities and even drugs. I looked for it in dark alleyways and clubs. It wasn’t until a senior year English class that I was introduced to my salvation, the reason people spent their lives in cafes, libraries and book clubs. I finally understood why women carried books on the subways and read in waiting lines: A man will never love you and take care of you the way a book can.

Here’s why falling in love with a book is better than falling in love with a guy:

Men drain you; books fill you up.

Books teach you; men confuse you.

Men break your heart; books break your shelves.

Books can be first editions; men are always used.

Books are easy to read; men need instruction manuals.

Good books are easy to find; good men are rare.

Books take you anywhere; men take you from behind.

Books are easy to close; men are impossible to open.

Books are deep; men are shallow.

Books have spines; men don’t have backbones.

Books make you cry; men make you hurt.

Books get better with age; men dump you for your age.

Books open you up; men open your legs.

Books have summaries; men have baggage.

Books are classics; men are all the same.

Books have sequels, men have new lovers.

Books have introductions, men have one-liners.

Books can be left open, men can’t be left alone.

Books can have sad endings; men only want happy endings.

Books have Sparknotes; men have Lulu.

Men always lie; books are honest about being fiction.

Books have prefaces; men have many faces.

Books are easy to go back to; men leave you for good.

Books take you for adventure; men take you on top.

Books keep you interested; men keep you guessing.

Books fill your head; men want head.

Books grow on trees; men don’t grow at all.

Books have binding; men will try to bind you.

Books come off your computer; men cum on your keyboard.

Books share ideas; men share your pics.

HAHAHAHAHA!!! So… which was YOUR favorite reason?

Have you ever heard of No??? Well… let me introduce you this wonderful site.

As an Independent Bookstore owner in a past life, Indiebound was my best source of current and upcoming titles. The bookstore staff always looked forward to receiving a monthly box filled with ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies). We would fight over the titles by well known authors and hesitantly read the ones by ‘first time’ authors. When finished, we would give them away to customers and ask them to write a short review if possible.

There are TWO major reasons YOU should go to this site. Number ONE is their Independent Bookstore SEARCH feature. Whether you are at home or on vacation, you can simply type in your zip code or address and search for the local INDIES in your area. PLEASE, I beg of you… PLEASE support your local bookstores!! If every reader purchases just TWO books a year from an INDEPENDENTLY owned store it would mean so much!!

The SECOND reason you need to bookmark this site is to look for your ‘next read’. Each month this site lists the top selling books across the nation. Not only the hardcovers… but paperbacks too. What makes this list different than, say, The New York Times Bestseller List??? Well… these titles are a list of what’s actually SELLING in the stores… not what the stores are purchasing.

Which reminds me… have you ever looked at the New York Times Bestsellers List??? I am always amused when I see a book listed in the top 3 that was JUST released that week. If the book is a real dog, the bookstores get to send the unsold copies back to the publishers… then you can watch the title sink on the list. (Can you tell I don’t have a life???)