Ok, #tarawebfail.  Just opened up the ol’ dashboard here and realized that the blog I wrote yesterday made it to the draft folder, but didn’t get published.  Thank god for backdating!  No one will ever know…

Unless you tell them.  But don’t you tell them! 

Anyways.  It’s another Monday, back at work, and it’s been a bit stressful.  My coworker is still on vacation, so I’m running the front by myself until Wednesday.  So when there’s not a crowd of people lined up in front of my desk, the phone is ringing off the hook and I’m locking my keys in the book closet. (twice)  I’m hoping that the afternoon will bring better luck, but just in case I’m trying to just remain calm.  I made myself some tea, I’m trying some deep breathing, picturing myself under the trees in the backyard.  I wonder about what all these calming exercises are that they keep talking about in Dune, all the Bene Gesserit training.  I could use some of that.

Speaking of calming, I’m declaring an honorary sponsor today since I don’t have an official one: today’s blog is brought to you by Andanda Traders, purveyors of fine pure incense from all over the world.  I ran across Andanda Traders just a few months ago at the Texas Renaissance Festival; I was in the market for some incence, and saw (and smelled) some rather delicious ones in their cart.  We happened to walk up in the middle of a demonstration, as the gentlemen owner was explaining the use and benefits of burning pure resin incense rather than sticks.  Sticks, you see, dilute the incense with wood-burning chemicals which come from burning the bamboo stick.  Resin burns, instead, on a charcoal, so you only get the scents and sensations of the incense itself.  I was intrigued, and they provide a handy little resin starter kit that is very inexpensive and gives you everything you need to start burning.  From experience, I can say that it’s very different than just lighting a stick and walking away.  It’s a very active process: you have to set up your container, light your charcoal and wait for it to be ready, then add your resin a few pieces at a time, wait a few minutes, add some more resin, wait, add, wait, and so on.  While not practical for just scenting a room, I’ve found that it is very meditative and can be excellent in preparing the mind for different tasks.  I like to sit and burn a little before I begin writing or while I drink my coffee in the morning.  Ananda has some great scents too, most of them imported from all the sorts of exotic locations you’d imagine good incense coming from, crafted from secret formulas passed down for centuries.  That’s how he tells it anyways, and I’m inclined to believe him.  I’m particularly fond of the Nile Temple blend, but have also burned the Nag Champa with great delight. (For those of you who enjoy Nag Champa sticks, give the resin powder a try; it’s different yet familiar and I think you’ll like it.)  Just the other day I ordered myself a few more bottles of the Egyptian Gardenia, Copal, Dragon’s Blood, and Gloria. 

And for those of you who don’t want to put so much effort into your fragrances, Ananda Traders offers Pure Incense sticks as well which don’t have the traditional bamboo core.  Unfortunately, their website doesn’t come with a scratch-and-sniff feature, but you can trust me that all of their products are wonderful.  They also sell perfumed oils and various accoutrement for all your burning needs.  You can find them online at www.theAnandaLine.com

(Other perks: flat-rate shipping in the states and great bulk discounts!)

And since the completion of the Pink Death, I’ve been trying to give my hands a bit of a break; soon, though, I’ll have a nice new (small) project to show you…and since I made it up myself, I’ll even give you the pattern!  And if any of you are on Ravelry, you can find me under the name LadyLascivious.  And, as always, http://hellbent.etsy.com.  I’m still in the process of restocking after the holidays, I’ve got a few things that need to be photographed and posted, but go check it out anyways.  There’s still two more months of chilly weather!  I can take requests now too for smallish projects (sweaters and afghans will have to wait a while), if you’re looking for something in particular.  (Cthulu tea cozies, anyone?)

Well I hope you enjoyed today’s sponsor, and keep your eye out for many more!  We’ve still got plenty of spots open for cheap cheap cheap, so if you or someone you know wants some easy advertising, hit us up!

Happy Monday!