come make things with us!

    May 11, 2024
    erin boyle and rose pearlman at making things book launch
    Photo by the one and only LaTonya Yvette!

    Making Things is officially out in the world! Huge and continued thanks to everyone who has bought the book, championed the project, and generally been encouraging of me and of Rose as we’ve made this massive book! Your support means more than we can say! As we continue to celebrate this book, Rose and I have so many events and workshops planned and we’d love to see you!

    Here’s the current list if you’d like to see—we’ll be adding more details as we get them!

    Upcoming Events:

    MASS MoCA | Member Experience: The Plastic Bag Store + Book Signing @ R&D Store
    North Adams, MA
    Saturday, June 15 | 1:00 PM
    Workshop open to MASS MoCA Members; book signing at R&D Store open the public.

    Tourists Welcome | Book Signing and Crafting Demonstrations
    North Adams, MA
    Sunday, June 16 | 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Free and open to the public. Books and craft kits will be available for sale.

    TOAST Brooklyn | Wire Basket Making Workshop
    Brooklyn, NY
    June 22 | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
    Drop-in workshop. Free and open to the public.

    A. Mano | Origami Workshop
    Brooklyn, NY
    June 27 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

    Ace Hotel Brooklyn | Picnic Crafts Workshop
    July 09 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
    Advance tickets and registration required. Signed books will be available for sale.

    High Season Market | Book Signing and Craft Demonstrations
    St George, ME
    Friday, August 9 – Sunday, August 11 | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
    Details to come!

    making things.

    December 13, 2023

    Rose and I made a book. It has a cover! And a cover means that you can now pre-order MAKING THINGS: Finding Use, Meaning, and Satisfaction in Crafting Everyday Objects.

    Yes! The book comes out in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia on May 7, 2024, but right this very minute you can place an order and if you fill out our fancy form, we’ll send a little pressie that you can print and turn into a ZINE to put under the tree, or into a stocking, or offer to whichever family member has sacrificed their kitchen this week in the noble pursuit of latke-making. We’ve made the last-minute Hanukkah/Christmas/Holiday present of dreams, if we do say so ourselves.

    Even better, if you’re in the US or Canada and pre-order your copy through BOOKS ARE MAGIC, your pre-ordered copy will be sent to you SIGNED! By us! YAHOOO!

    All of the nitty-gritty details are at the end of this letter, if you are v busy and just want to buy our book already.

    To the three remaining people who I haven’t yet told, I’ve written a new book with my very dearest friend, Rose Pearlman. It’s called MAKING THINGS, it’s being published by Hardie Grant, and incredibly it’s five months out from landing on shelves, which in publishing time is approximately five minutes!

    MAKING THINGS is a big, honking book filled with ideas of…things to make. It offers instruction and guidance for simple projects, many of which we hope might serve a practical, beautiful purpose in your daily life, but it’s also a book we hope offers you encouragement to look at materials differently, to use your hands, to take risks, to dive right into making things whether or not you’ve ever made something before! We hold your hand if you want us to and we encourage you to take bounding leaps into the abyss of imagination and creativity if you’re ready to do that. (If you never want to make anything, it’s also just pretty to look at! Wouldn’t be wrong to buy because you love turmeric-colored books. Your shelf needs a pop of color. We got you.)

    Speaking of the cover, the full story behind the making of it, is on TEA NOTES.


    MAKING THINGS: Finding Use, Meaning, and Satisfaction in Crafting Everyday Objects. (Available now for pre-order at all the mega-bookstores and the indie ones, too.)


    If you place your pre-order through BOOKS ARE MAGIC anytime before April 30, 2024, we’ll SIGN it. (This means you’ll get a signed copy of our book when it comes out PLUS the eternal warm glow of having supported an indie bookstore instead of the-site-that-shall-not-be-named! US/CAN orders, only!)


    If you place your pre-order AND fill out our PRE-ORDER THANK YOU FORM before December 31st 2023, to let us know, we’ll send you a zine, called TRASH TO TWINE (plus instructions for making it)!



    September 13, 2023

    Or, why I’m writing on Substack and why I hope you’ll join me!

    I started writing on the internet in 2009. I’ve told this story before, but my foray into blogging began at the urging of a childhood friend. We were both bored in jobs that didn’t challenge us. We’d graduated from college and AOL instant messenger, but only barely. We spent our work days checking in on each other on G-chat from the relatively far flung places we’d landed. We were twenty-four. I had recently sent out applications to a half dozen graduate programs that I thought might make my life and work more interesting, or at least not terribly boring.

    As I waited for what I thought would be answers, I found other women making space for themselves online. Somewhat haltingly, somewhat deliberately, sometimes mostly by accident, I made a place for myself there, too. For a long time, that online placemaking wasn’t really work at all. I’d wake up, I’d power up my white Macbook, I’d open my Google reader and visit with my new-found internet friends. In my offline life, things changed, as they tend to do. I moved. I went to graduate school. I took a position in a non-profit that wasn’t exactly right for me but that got me back to New York City, which is where I most wanted to be. I lived in a tiny apartment. I got married. I wrote about it. 

    In my online life, things changed, too. My internet pals began to monetize their websites. I realized I could sell ads. I enrolled in affiliate programs. Slowly, but surely, what started as a diversion became something that I could get paid for. I left my job. I poured myself into building a website and an online community. I took freelance writing assignments and deferred my student loan payments so I could squeak out my monthly rent. When that wasn’t enough, I took a staff editorial position at a much larger website but the pay was still bad and the vibes were worse. I had a baby. I sold a book. I had the extreme good fortune of timely press and youth and a cavalcade of so-called Big Life Changes that meant influencer marketing and sponsorships began to sustain my writing and turn all of the time I spent on the internet into a full-time job. 

    At the time, a lot of this felt empowering. I was the one who called the shots. I was choosy about who I worked with and the jobs didn’t feel like they would ever run out. I said no to far too much to ever grow exponentially, but I wasn’t really trying to. I wasn’t striving for a team or a staff or a seven-figure apartment, I just wanted to write about things I cared about and get paid for it. But the media landscape is nothing if not ever-shifting. Ad asks have gotten more elaborate at the same time that budgets have shrunk. Banner ads have gone the way of the dodo. I’ve found myself increasingly unwilling to do most any of the influencing jobs I’m being tapped for. 

    This spring, when I imported my list of newsletter subscribers to Substack, I didn’t have any intention of transitioning my writing there, too. I subscribed to a few Substack newsletters from people who I admired, but I mostly saw Substack as a platform where I could host my latent newsletter list without paying for it. 

    I don’t mean to come across as sycophantic or overly enamored with a corporate entity, but what became clear almost immediately was that Substack was a place on the internet that’s actually nice to be. The days of Google Reader are long behind us, but when I open my Substack app or browse the site on my computer, I get that same sense of camaraderie I found in my early internet days. 

    In July, I took a really deep breath and decided to turn on my paid subscriptions and I’ve been bowled over by the support. Right now, writing on Substack feels like another in a long line of improbably lucky chances for me to do what I love and get paid for it, but this time the support is coming directly from the folks who are reading. I won’t pretend to have all the answers. Despite years of trying, I’ve never been any good at reading my tea leaves. Still, TEA NOTES is where I am now, and I’d be so eternally, ecstatically, entirely grateful if you’d join me.

    And now, hopefully, a few specific questions answered:

    What’s Substack?

    At its simplest, Substack is an online platform that allows writers and podcasters to publish directly to their audiences and get paid through subscriptions. 

    How do I sign up?

    To sign up to receive my Substack newsletter, called TEA NOTES, you can enter your email below right here.

    Once you sign up for my newsletter, you can upgrade to a paid subscription, which is what will keep the lights on and also what will give you access to all of my writing.

    How much does a paid subscription cost?

    My newsletter is priced at $5 a month. I will not tell you whether this is cheap or extravagant or less than your monthly fancy coffee habit. I don’t even know if you have a fancy coffee habit! Maybe you have debilitating credit card debt! Maybe you have a trust fund! 

    I do know that if more of my current subscriber list went paid, I would be a heck of a lot less worried about my own monthly expenses and lack of trust fund and I could redirect the energy I’ve spent writing about and working for corporate sponsors to working on things that excite and trouble and energize me. And hopefully all of you, too.

    What do I get out of this?

    Love, gratitude, eternal admiration! And also, regular access to new writing, subscriber conversations, commenting privileges, news, et cetera. 

    Truth is, I’m still figuring out what precisely I’m doing on here. For now, it’s an extension of the writing I’ve been doing for the past fourteen years on Reading My Tea Leaves. It’s a place for me to pose questions and try to find solutions. I complain, I delight, I wonder over what it means to be a human in troubling and magical times. I’m trying to send letters a few times a week and also trying to remember that I’m one human being raising three other human beings. Some of my letters are long and rambling, some are short and sweet. Sometimes I write about stuff. Sometimes I don’t.

    What if I’m on a tight budget and I can’t afford $5/month?

    I hesitated for so long to jump into this model because asking people for money is not comfy! And because there are so many excellent newsletters that I would love to subscribe to if only I had limitless the-cost-of-just-one-fancy-lattes to spend each month on my reading pleasure. Still, there are a few ways to make this more affordable:

    + If you’re able to swing it, signing up for a year’s subscription for $50 gets you a 17% discount per month, so instead of paying $5, the per month rate works out to $4.17.

    + Substack also offers some bundling discounts, so, depending on the letter, if you sign up for more than one paid Substack newsletter at a time, you can get a discounted rate!

    + If you’re the sharing type, I’ve set up a referral system which means that if you share the link to my newsletter with friends or fam or your favorite bodega cat, you can earn free monthly subscriptions! Just three referrals gets you one-month free. (Twenty-five gets you a whole year!) It’s kind of like chain mail except you get more than free pencils in return!

    + At the risk of giving me an anxiety attack, you can also subscribe, unsubscribe, and resubscribe as often as you’d like. Maybe you want to subscribe every few months for a month at a time and use that time to catch up on archived posts and comment threads. Maybe you need to take a few months off and give a latte’s worth to another favorite writer. That works! I get it! You can manage your subscription on the Substack app and/or website.

    + And! I’ll also be offering occasional special discounts! LIKE RIGHT NOW! For the next week (until September 20, 2023), if you sign up for a yearly subscription, you can get 20% off, which means that instead of $50, you’ll pay $40 for the entire year! (And forgive me, but at just $3.33/month this does indeed work out to be significantly less than even a monthly non-fancy latte!)

    What if my inbox is really full and I hate getting emails?

    If adding one more newsletter to your inbox is competing with your laudable goals of inbox zero, you can send those letters directly to your email archive, skip the email altogether, and visit my Substack homepage directly instead. This is maybe not great for my “open rate,” but I don’t care! Every letter I send is archived and arranged in an easy-to-nagivate homepage that you can visit just like a regular website. Bookmark it! 

    Also, in your app settings you can flip the switch for “smart notifications” which means if you read something on the app, you won’t also receive it in your inbox. 

    What’s the deal with the app? You seem…enthused…?!

    I am not really an app person. I tend not to be an early adopter of anything, and especially nothing technology related, but I have to admit that I really and truly enjoy the Substack App. It reminds me of the early days of Google Reader, where I could log on and see daily musings from all of my favorite internet pals. The Notes feature, which is like a running newsfeed not terribly dissimilar to the site formerly known as Twitter, is chatty and inspiring and gives me lots of food for thought and introductions to new writing, writers, thoughts, and feelings. All the things I love! So many people I admire are currently writing on Substack that I’ve become a bonafide newsletter maximalist, subscribing to new letters with complete abandon. At the risk of sounding like some kind of proselytizing weirdo, it’s just so nice over here!

    What’s gonna happen to Reading My Tea Leaves?

    For now, she’s gonna stay right here. As long as I can afford to, I’ll keep up with my yearly hosting and server fees to keep the archive open. I might occasionally post something just to the blog. I might decide to scrap everything and start over! Tea leaves! Who can read them?

    Are you eschewing all advertising and sponsorships from now ‘til the end of time?

    No. At nearly 40, I finally paid off my student loans this summer, but there’s rent to pay and mouths to feed and nary a sugar daddy to be found. If I’m offered one million dollars to make an Instagram ad about the pleasures of reading by candlelight I will not be saying no! You’ve been warned!

    Do you love me?

    Probably. Yes.

  • i know what i wore this summer.

    When I packed my bag on the very last day of June to come to my parents’ house, I thought I was packing for a few weeks, tops. School was finally out for the…

    September 1, 2023
  • growing a minimalist wardrobe: buying my own shorts.

    I bought a pair of shorts. I won’t say I’m admitting defeat, but after a second seam-busting exercise in humility, and the third or fourth, possibly fifth, time extending our stay at my parents’…

    August 25, 2023
  • fluffernutters.

    In case you need encouragement to reignite an old childhood flame, or fan a new one, here’s my plea to make yourself a fluffernutter sandwich before summer ends. There’s little better and close to…

    August 22, 2023 2 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. these drops. {the plus side of a rainy week.} 2. this broken shovel. {i regret to inform everyone i was right. might try a thread repair.} 3. this ice cream sandwich. {and the…

    August 18, 2023 0 Comments
  • simple stuff: beach toys.

    SOS. SEND OUR SHOVELS. By all accounts, we have not had a terribly spendy summer. Staying almost entirely out of the city means that the usual slow-drip from our wallets directly into those of…

    August 17, 2023
  • flowers for sale.

    $0.00 is the amount I have left to pay on my student loans. Bizarrely enough, a ticker-tape parade was not thrown in my honor when my very last monthly payment came out of my bank…

    August 14, 2023