Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cry


(Photo -- icanhascheezburger.com; Caption -- mine)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NSR: Crooked journalism (political) (and there is another stampin-related post for today after this one)

Okay, I said I don't do much politicking here, and I don't, but this article made me so mad I had to do something about it. It refers to a videotape the LA Times refuses to release that shows Senator Obama at a farewell party for a professor Rashid Khalidi who is a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (or he was at one time).

My post isn't whether or not Obama should be nailed for that. My post here is about the fact that the LA Times won't release the tape (they've endorsed Obama) and let us make up our own minds about the connection. They did do a story about the tape awhile back, but we aren't allowed to see it for ourselves.

If you're interested, please read the story, and if it makes you as mad as it did me, there is information at the bottom of the story on how you can contact the LA Times to express your feelings. They need to know that the American people aren't just going to lie down and let them get by with such a blatant double-standard. PLEASE -- if you do contact them, remember to be respectful! Ranting never got anyone anywhere. But I do believe we as American voters have the right to see this tape (as I would feel about any tape relating to Senator McCain, as well -- really!)

Thanks for letting me get the word out on this. Please be sure to scroll down (here on my blog) because there IS another stamping-related post for today!

And the award goes to ...

Okay, I have found ONE PERSON to award the Brilliante Weblog award to, since it seems the other six I would have awarded it to already had it or didn't put awards on their blogs (weird, huh?). So I am personally awarding it to:

CHRISTI MILLIKEN!!! Her blog is called "Blessings on Paper". I love Christi to death, she is a real sweetie, a terrific Christian (yes, Christi, you are!), and I love her cards, etc. So Christi, you totally deserve it!

Now, for the rest of you, if you don't have this award yet and you think you are worthy, I will give you permission to snag it from me. But, you MUST ... mention that the award came from me, and link back to my blog, and if you know seven other bloggers who deserve it, you may award it directly to them. They have to follow these rules, too (i.e., mention you, link to your blog, award to seven others, etc.). If you do choose to award yourself, please leave a comment and let me know! And give me the link to your blog if I don't already have it. Seems like most of the blogs I know about are the "pro" blogs of people who are on design teams, etc. I'd like to see more blogs from "ordinary" card/scrap/paper crafters like me.

Okay, I'm digging back into my archives for something to show today. I have been hit hard the last couple of weeks -- fibromyalgia last week, then I'm sick again this week (another stinkin' sinus infection, this one with a lovely headache), so I haven't been able to do anything crafty. Which totally stinks because yesterday I got THREE ORDERS that I had placed all at once! Two sets from Stampin' Up!, two BasicGrey mini sets (with two 6x6 paper pads), and my JustRite stuff. And I feel too crappy to play! Just seems wrong somehow, y'know?

So, anyway, here's an oldie from the Days of Yore:

This uses the retired "Country Blessings" set from SU, and the "Brayered Batik" technique (I think it's a Splitcoast Stampers technique -- I haven't done it in a long time so I'm not sure, but I checked TJ and it's not one of theirs). Not terribly fancy, but it gets the autumnal feel across, I think. Looking back at the very older cards -- yeah, there are some I was so proud of in those days that I wouldn't let out of the drawer now! lol

So, anyway, hopefully in the next couple of days I'll be off my sick couch and able to play with my new goodies! In the meantime, guess I'll just keep revamping my index image sheets and surfing the web (I'm so sick of the election already I could SCREAM!!!). No TV here, and I've read all the available books that I'm interested in, and my brain hurts too much to write on my story ... so, yeah, I'm counting on those antibios kicking in fast!

Blessings to all ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jesus Rocks!


That's supposed to be the point of this card I made yesterday (even if the verse IS from the Old Testament -- hey, He's been around since before the Beginning, so it still works!) It's actually a kind of homage to my love of Christian rock music (sorry, Mom!). However, when I finished it, I wasn't so sure I'd pulled off the intent very well. It looked sorta like I was saying the guitar or rock music was my Lord ... and then I showed it to Bjorn and he said it looked like the guitar was quoting the verse, saying the Lord was ITS strength and its song. I d'know ... what do y'all think? Maybe if I'd put a cross shadow behind it or something.

Well, anyway, this card, as I said last post, was like pulling teeth to even get started properly. I stamped about ten guitars (Inkadinkado) in various combinations of colors on colored cardstock, and embossed most. I settled for the red guitar on the gold CS for this card because it seemed kinda ... regal? The EP is stuff I got LOOOOOONNNNNGGG ago in Gilbert, AZ, I think it's called "Oriental Red Gold" or something. Anyway, I stamped it on the gold CS in Versamark and embossed with the Red Gold EP, then cut out just around the guitar, leaving the swirls and curled strings off. Then I messed around with shimmer colorwash spray (a red and a gold from Tattered Angels) on glossy white CS and got the background. I stamped the guitar on the background in Black Staz-on, then adhered the cut-out guitar over it so that the swirls and curled strings were now part of the image again. The rest of it's pretty self-explanatory. The crown paper in the circle is from the Rock Star mat pack by DCWV, and the DP behind it all is from Basic Grey. I was using last week's Mojo Madness sketch challenge turned on its side.

So, that's the latest. I haven't made anything else. Had a downer kind of day, no real reason, I just do that sometimes, so I didn't accomplish anything except getting my allergy shots and spending more money (at Michaels this time ... hey, they had inkpads on sale, and I needed a red Staz-on pad, and they had DP "books" on sale, and I had to buy the one with all the High School themed paper, and I needed a new swirl set, so I got one from Inkadinkado -- only $9.99! -- and I'm always needing cheap t-shirts, so I got one for me and one for Aidan at 2 for $5 ... at least I didn't buy the set of 24 Prismacolor markers for $189!! Good lord, who spends that kind of money on MARKERS??? The world has gone insane.)

Hey, just in case any of y'all are still sitting on the fence about who to vote for for president, Fox News reported about a Military Times poll taken among U.S. troops, and they picked McCain by a margin of nearly 3-1, and that's all branches of the military. If you're interested, the article is here. Now that tells me something.

If you're an Obama supporter, hey, I respect that, so I hope you'll still feel welcome at my blog! I promise I rarely ever talk politics.

I finished my book about the 1938 Hurricane. It was a very good book, and I actually spent some time this morning looking up more info on the 'net. Then this afternoon I started the one on the Galveston hurricane of 1900. I got the title wrong -- it's called Isaac's Storm, and it's about Isaac Cline, not a "Mr./Dr. Isaac" like I said last time. At least I got it right that he was a meteorologist! I decided I don't need to read it tonight, though. I need a couple of days' break from natural disasters, I think! They don't help depression.

So I'm off to read my own story, then go off to sleep. Hopefully I'll be feeling sunnier tomorrow tomorrow! Hope you have a sunny day, whether it's actual weather or just in your own head/heart!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Early Voting

Yay! Early voting started in Texas today, so I went on down to the nearest Early Voting site (a grocery store -- very convenient!) and cast my ballot for president/vice president and all the other positions that had people running. It felt good to get it over and done with, but I do have to admit it was a bit anticlimactic. I guess I sorta felt like it would feel somehow ... BIG, this being a rather tight and BIG election. But it just felt like, "Well, there, I went and did my civic duty, exercised my right, made my voice heard and now it's time to go turn in my overdue library books." I'm glad I did it, though. No matter who you're going to vote for, please remember to vote! (Especially if you're going to vote for my favored candidates! lol)

Now, on to other important things -- I made a CARD!!! Yes! I started it on Saturday but didn't finish it until yesterday evening, then forgot -- yes, FORGOT -- to make a blog post! I am ashamed! I promise I love y'all, but we were watching a most excellent movie ("Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" -- sounds horrible, but it's really funny in a weird, surreal, halfway intellectual sort of way), then after it was over I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. Of course, I stayed up reading until 11:30, which is WAY past my school-night bedtime, but the book is SO good ... more on it later, but here's the card:


I used the "Flourished Christian Symbols" set from Our Daily Bread Designs set, just like I said I was going to last post. I LOVE this set! I was actually trying to pay homage to a card I had saved to my hard drive eons ago (so I don't know who made it or where I got it and I have since deleted it from the computer, it's just on a printout now ...) Anyway, the original had swirls in the background, similar to what I did, and it had script words behind the focal panel, which was a large tulip, in purple and green. The right side of the focal panel was torn, and the tulip background was pretty much just a vanilla color. I can't remember all the details right now (as usual, I'm downstairs at the computer, not upstairs in the loft), but it was a gorgeous card.

So I did mine this way, modifying it in the following ways: I used the swirl from SU's "Baroque Motifs" for the background, stamped in (I think) Brocade Blue on Very Vanilla cardstock. I did the TJ "Silken Mist" tech for the medium panel background, then stamped a "German Bible Excerpt" stamp from Ma Vinci's Reliquary at the left bottom corner in Staz-On Black. I stamped the cross on Whisper White using a "double-inking" technique (my name for it) I learned from Michelle Zindorf's tutorials where you ink the stamp first with Versamark, then immediately ink it again with the dye ink of your choice (here, Pacific Point), then stamped it. (This is for colors you don't have in pigment ink, but want to emboss.) Then I embossed it in Clear Ultra Gloss EP. Then I sponged around the edges with the Brocade Blue (or whatever it was I used on the swirl), starting dark and then going lighter toward the middle. I sponged Pacific Point around the edges. After that I sponged all over the piece VERY LIGHTLY with the blue shade of Opalites (I'm SO bad at remembering non-SU ink names!). Then I wiped the Opalite off the embossed bits, and colored in the negative spaces on the cross with a white gel pen.

(TIP for white gel pen use: Hold it straight up and down and let the tip touch the paper only very lightly. I learned this through trial and error over many, many tries at using the darned thing over the couple of years that I've had it. It flows SO much better when you're not using much force, like you would on a regular pen!)

After that it's pretty self-explanatory. The punch I used is the "Threading Water" edger by Fiskars, and the mat colors are the same SU blues as the inks. The little pearls are just the stick-on kind that you can get from Archivers or wherever.

The verse is from Biblical Impressions, and the swirl behind it is just the same one from Baroque Motifs.

Anyway, it was actually pretty tough pulling this card off -- I had a lot of trouble translating the original card into something that was NOT a pretty-much-CASE, it took me forever to decide on the background for the middle panel, and ... let's just say I was mojo-ly challenged.

I finished another card tonight that I started last night after finishing this one. It was like pulling TEETH to get my mojo cranking for it, but I'll wait until another time to show you.

So I guess the book I'm reading isn't necessarily something everyone would be interested in. Bjorn and I went to the Half Price Bookstore the other night, and I was just about to leave the place empty-handed when, over in the history section, on the display was a book called Sudden Sea. It's about the 1938 Hurricane that wiped out a big chunk of the Rhode Island coast and did severe damage in several other places (Connecticut, Long Island, Massachusetts). I never even knew there had been a major hurricane up there, in 1938 or any other time (this one was a Cat 5), so, weather buff that I am, I had to get the book. That led me over to the Texas History section to try to find a book about the 1900 Hurricane in Galveston, and, lo and behold, there was one there! It's called Mr. Isaac's Storm (or maybe Dr. Isaac, I don't remember), and it looks pretty good, too. (Mr./Dr. Isaac was the meteorologist on the island at the time.) Anyway, the one about the New England hurricane is really interesting, gripping but not morbid. It was a really horrible thing how it was mis-forecast and came so suddenly upon these people, and how entire sections of beachfront homes were just wiped clean off the beaches, etc. It's a hard book to put down, so that's why I was up too late last night reading!

Well, I'm going to go see if I can get some writing or something done before bedtime tonight. The pastor is over here and he and my guys are discussing the first few "chapters" of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. I'd love to know what they're saying in there, but I promised Bjorn I would make myself scarce so that Aidan would feel more free to discuss without MOM around.

Hope everyone is doing well and craftily inspired!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My lonely craft loft

Well, my craft loft sits dark and lonely this week. I don't know what it is, but I've just been really tired and haven't had the ol' mojo at all. I didn't even make Bjorn a card for his birthday today! I'm going to have to use a "pre-made" one (i.e., one I already made, NOT a store-bought, heaven forbid!) This is what happens when I put things off -- I was all set to make it yesterday, but decided I could wait until today, then I woke up with a mini-migraine and knew the day was a loss as far as creativity was concerned. I'll be doing good to make the Berry Buckle (a sort-of "Berry Crisp" or cobbler thingy) for his candle to go in. I don't know if all this is a fibromyalgia thing (we've had very changeable weather this week), or hormones or what, but I wish it would let up!!

ANYway -- I have been honored this week with my first blog award! Thanks to Ora Lea of One American Dreamer blog fame, I now have the Brilliante Weblog award! Ora Lea, you are a dear! She and I are actually distant cousins, having discovered that we share a common ancestor via internet genealogical stuff several months ago. She is a very neat person, a wonderful Christian, and her blog and other websites are so uplifting. I'm glad we're related both biologically and spiritually!

So now I'll be choosing seven other bloggers to give this award to over the next few days. It'll be hard to choose, I'm sure!

My mom came over the other day and cleaned me out of some of my post-craft-fair inventory. She bought both of the "Holy Triptych" card sets, as well as the one all-occasion set that was left (the one in the pink paper pouch), and a bunch of cards. I gave her a discount, of course! And then I instantly turned around and bought a new stamp set from Our Daily Bread Designs. It's this one, "Flourished Christian Symbols":

I can't wait to get it and put it to use! (Maybe it'll jump-start my creative juices.)

Well, that's about all I know for now. Aidan's got a Certamen (kur-TAH-men) competition tomorrow (think Latin quiz show -- they have a team of four against a team from another school, and they each have buzzers to press if they know the answers to questions about Latin language & grammar, mythology, history and Roman daily life). His school's got a pretty awesome team, and this is just a "mini-Certamen" against a "friendly" rival. I was hoping to go be supportive, but if I'm still this tired tomorrow morning, it ain't gonna happen. Oh, well, at least he doesn't care. He'd rather NOBODY showed up to watch!

Hope y'all have a great weekend. And I hope to be back before it's over with something crafty to show!

Blessings ...

OH! BTW, Lynn, contact me via my e-mail concerning the other Christmas card sets ...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Second set of coasters

I realized that I never had photographed the second set of coasters I'd made for the craft fair, so I ran out and did that Saturday afternoon. I meant to post the pics yesterday, but we had some old friends (not in age, just as in "of old") come to visit my parents after lunch, so I spent the entire afternoon and early evening over there. It was a lot of fun -- two sisters, one the same age as my oldest brother (which would be nine years older than me), and one five years older than that. Since my brother is currently staying at my parents' house, he and the younger sister spent a lot of time saying "Do you remember so-and-so?" from our church "back home" in West Texas. She seemed to know where a lot of them are now, so David got caught up on them. I just had fun listening and remembering a lot of the families I grew up around at church. The sisters were the daughters of a couple of my parents very close friends back then, and they, as well as their parents, were involved heavily in our church's Vietnamese ministry together with my parents. Did any of that make sense? Anyway, I was around them a lot, and I really liked them, so it was fun to get to spend time with them again. However, I am one of those people who are exhausted by "social situations" instead of energized by them, so I was completely wiped out by the time I got home and didn't get anything done I had planned for the day except a little writing.

Anyway, here are the pics of the coasters. I used the "Pocket Silhouettes" set from SU, and did the "Colorwash Batik" technique from Technique Junkies, using my own colorwash concoction of Pacific Point reinker, water and a dash of Micro Pearl PearlEx. It didn't dry as dark as I wanted it to, but I still like the color.





Don't you just love the Autumn leaves in the background on these pics? HA! They're just old dead leaves that have been around forever, but they DO look rather Autumnal in the photo, so we'll just go with that, shall we? lol

Well, I think that's it for the craft fair stuff. That means I need to get my rear back into the craft loft and get to making things! I actually did make something today -- can't decide if it's worthy of showing off or not, so I'll wait until a day passes and see what I think tomorrow. I've been SO INCREDIBLY tired today, and I'm wondering if it's not a side effect of the flu shot I got on Friday. My dad and brother both said they felt rotten after theirs, so maybe that's it. I did get out today, even though it was Columbus Day ("Observed") and we didn't have to go anywhere. I went to Michaels because they had their 24-marker Prismacolor marker sets on sale 40% off and I thought I might get me a set. They're alcohol markers, like Copics, only reportedly cheaper. Well, the set was still WAY too expensive, even with the discount, so I didn't end up getting it. I haven't committed to becoming a "colorer", so I didn't want to invest that much yet.

Okay, guess I'll toddle off and write a bit before bedtime. Aidan and Bjorn have been doing their Wii Fit tonight (we've all been terrible slackers lately), but I just don't have the juice to do it. Hope you all have a great day (and I hope my Canadian readers had a great Thanksgiving today)!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

And it will be Autumn when?

Okay, I really shouldn't complain. I mean, our temps are "only" in the 80s (F), as opposed to the 90s and 100s we had all summer, but I am SO ready for "crisp and cool". Which, of course here doesn't happen really until next month sometime, if we're lucky. Still, I have no leg to stand on for whining. When we lived in Arizona, it was often November before the temps dropped out of the 90s -- we could still have 100s in October! (I remember sending Aidan to school dressed for Halloween as a Lego man, which we accomplished by putting him in blue and white sweats with a Lego logo ironed onto the sweatshirt, then painting his whole face yellow with Halloween face paint. Poor kid, he nearly died of heat stroke in the clothes, and by the end of the school day had sweated off most of the face paint! We had to do a total re-do for trick-or-treating!)

Now that Aidan's too old for Halloween, I don't care for it much anymore. I never have liked the witches, goblins, devils, evil aspect of it. (That's why I don't make Halloween cards or have any Halloween stamps unless they come in a set of all-season stamps.) I had a hard time deciding to even let him dress up for it (Bjorn wasn't a Christian back in Aidan's earliest years), but I DO love the "dress up" part, so I finally settled on letting him dress up, as long as it had nothing to do with things that would not please God, and letting him go around our block (we trusted all our neighbors there on our block in Arizona), and to a couple of other houses we trusted. At his Arizona school, they got to come to school dressed in their costumes. When we moved to Texas, they didn't do that, and their Halloween carnival was aimed at the lower grades. So after dressing up as an Elf Archer in 4th grade (a la Legolas -- and boy, did my mom and I put a lot of effort into THAT costume for very little "show"), he decided he was done with Halloween. And I was SOOOO glad! I wish I had a digital photo of that costume so I could just pop it in here to show you (I'm too lazy to go get it and scan it), but I will show you -- bravely -- a couple of pics from a Halloween party we did attend a couple of years later that some friends hosted, and which I kinda got carried away with ...

Pirates of Suburbia!
See? I have totally never grown up.


















OKAY ... on to better things! I promised I would show you the last of my Mini-magazine holder card sets, so here it is:


This is the holder that goes with the With Gratitude set I showed you here. I decided I needed a fancy box to put this set in. I made two of them and they are, as yet, unsold. Again, I used the same set (Papertrey Ink's "Firstfruits") and papers as the cards.
Here is the back view:


And the front:


Gosh, I love that Pacific Point color!! I'm gonna be sad when it's no longer available next year. I am so hoping that after a few years of these In Color years, they'll revamp the whole color system and put some of them into the regular batch. And Pacific Point had better be one of them! ;-)

Okay, I've been goofing off enough today, so I suppose I'd better go get some work done. I hope to make it into the loft today/this evening. Last night I wanted to but was too tired, so we ended up downloading a Marx Brothers film ("Monkey Business") from Netflix and watching it. I'd never seen an entire Marx Brothers film before. It was very funny!

Off to put away clean clothes and fold towels and sheets and ... *SIGH* Boy, is the stamp loft calling my name! Must ... resist ... (I wouldn't, except that Bjorn is home and I need to look like I at least know how to do some housework, KWIM?)

Happy Weekend

P.S. -- if you subscribe to my blog via e-mail and you didn't get the last one that starts out talking about the Alzheimer's research ribbon in my sidebar, please let me know. I subscribe, too, just to make sure things are going smoothly, and this is the second -- not in a row -- entry I haven't gotten via e-mail. Thanks!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More mini-mag card holders

First off I thought I would direct your attention to my sidebar, where I have a purple ribbon in honor of Alzheimer's research. (If you're reading my blog via e-mail or a feed, you'll have to go to the blog itself to check it out.) It's a pretty cool deal. With a few clicks, you can help raise $10,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. Just add the purple ribbon to your blog or website and Caring.com will contribute $10 to the Alzheimer's Association. The Alzheimer’s ribbon widget can be personalized with a loved one’s name and comes in different shades and sizes to help match your website. I mean, how simple, ay? So click on the ribbon to see how you can get the ribbon for YOUR blog or website, and at the same time help fund Alzheimer's research -- it's cool, and it's free! (Thanks, Shirley, for posting this on your blog, which is where I found it.)

Okay, tonight I thought I'd quickly show you some more of my mini-magazine card holders. First, the one that holds the "Peaceful Wishes" cards shown here. Again, just a re-vamped version of the card, using the same ingredients (except that I used a Sakura Glaze pen on the front berries instead of Liquid Pearls, like I did on the cards).

Side on:

Back angle view:

Front angle view:

And, again, I did the same thing with my Holy Triptych cards, only these are 5"x7" cards, so I had to size the template up even further.






It was fortunate that I had saved the scraps leftover from the Luke Chapter 2 Bible page paper -- they were the perfect width for putting down the spine of the magazine holder! The rick-rack on this is, I think, May Arts. I got it at Archivers. I didn't do anything fancy with the front view, so no need to show you that. I just stamped the holly (?) branch from the "Peaceful Wishes" set all over the cardstock in Versamark to make the "patterned paper".

So all of my mini-mag holders fit 8 cards with 9 envies, but I had to make the ones for the Christmas card sets wider to accommodate the layers and frufy bits. And I did sell the cards WITH the holders. I started out at $18 per set (hey, I was selling individual cards for $3 each, so 8 of those would have been $24 -- this was a bargain, even more so since they came with the cute holders!), but ended up cutting the price back to $15. With all the work I put in, that was the lowest I could stand to go. A box of store-boughts at full price can be that much, if you get the foiled kind, and mine are hand-made, so, hey ...

Anyway, that's all I have time to show you tonight. I did make one other set of cards with the mini-mag holder box, so I'll show that to you next time.

Aidan's Honor Society induction was short but sweet. I was surprised that there were only six inductees! But then again, the entire school, K-12 has fewer than 500 kids in it (the High School only has around 70 of those). Given that the kids in this school are mostly above-average (sounds like Lake Woebegone, doesn't it! lol), it does surprise me that more of them didn't meet the criteria, which is a minimum 3.5 grade point average, plus evidence of leadership skills, good character, and willingness to serve. Once the kids are in it they have to maintain the minimum 3.5 GPA, plus do 10 hours per school year of tutoring and 10 hours of community service. Heck, back in my day we only had to keep the grades up! But I like these criteria -- if you're going to be in an "Honor" society, then it needs to be more than just about grades, IMHO. Anyway, he was the tallest of the six inductees (the girl he likes was the shortest!), and he looked incredibly dashing in his black jeans, black shirt, really cool tie and black dress shoes. *SIGH* Yep, I'm a proud mom, alright. And very, very thankful to the One who created this kid!

Okay, I will end my post now, and get on with some writing that I've been wanting to do. Hey, BTW, y'all won't tell my husband that I spent over $400 today on a contact lens exam and new progressive-lens contacts, will you? (YIKES!!!!! What vanity will do for ya!) It went on the flex spending card, so maybe he won't notice (until the money runs out six months too early!) It would be EXTREMELY nice if his company could give us vision insurance.

Have a great Friday (or whatever day you're reading this)!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mini Magazine Holders for Christmas card sets

Another thing that didn't sell ... okay, I did sell both of the snowflake ones, one to a customer and one to my sister-in-law. Maybe my prices were too high (SIL got a discount), but I definitely think these are purchase-worthy:

Full-on side view: This holds the Snowflake cards I showed you in this post. I used pretty much the same ingredients, except I opted not to go with the Stickles and rhinestones (to save time). I used the instructions and template from Becky Roberts of Inking Idaho blog fame, found here and here, and then sized it up for my A2 cards (the tutorial fits 3"x3" cards, I think). I also made one for my 5"x7" cards, which I'll show you at another date.

Anyway, here's what the back looks like:


And the front:


I want to open an online store, but I was looking that up on the 'net today, and they're expensive! Cheapest I found was $15/month, and it was limited on how many items you could display for sale. So I'm still working on maybe doing it from here, but y'all aren't gonna be the ones who want to buy from me. Any suggestions? And please don't mention Etsy or eBay, I'd really rather not have to deal with direct competition.

Anyway, that's all I have tonight. Tomorrow I get to go watch Aidan be inducted into the National Honor Society at his school! I'm so proud of him. He actually had to write an essay on what community service-type things he's done and how they've affected him, and what they've meant to him spiritually in order to be picked for this (in addition to his grades and teacher/staff recommendations). He hated doing the essay, even though he did, thankfully, have a few things to write about. Fortunately he did a good enough job to get in! So that's ONE more good thing on his college application resume that will hopefully help with the scholarships and getting into the college of his choice (which I hope will be nearby ... like maybe UT?)

Okay, gotta run. It's bedtime and I NEED it! Hopefully I'll remember to tell you next time about unmounting my wheels ...

Have a good 'un!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I has a pwobwum ...

I just deposited my Craft Fair money today. And then I went and spent over half of it on more stamping stuff!! Gaaaaaa! Clearly, I have a spending problem!!!

But do let me explain. I've been wanting to jump on the Just Rite Stampers bandwagon for awhile now. All the "pro stamping bloggers" use them because they're customizable, and you can even do your own Bible verse stamps with them (which might be easier than doing it with the Just Rite Make Your Own Stamps kit). So I e-mailed the Just Rite people a few weeks ago asking them what they recommended for what I would be using them for, and they answered with some helpful stuff. So tonight I ordered what they recommended. Not from them, because they, of course, charge full price, but I found a place called Cutter's Creek that sold the stuff for a couple of dollars less AND give free shipping if you spend over $20. Given that most stores at least start you at $50 (usually more) for free shipping, I thought that was a great deal! The only drawback with them is that they're not "instant shippers" -- they're a small home-based business, and a lot of their inventory isn't actually on-site, they have it shipped from their suppliers, then ship it out, so it can take up to two weeks (I'm guessing) to get your order. But since I'm in no hurry, and the prices were better, I decided I'd give 'em a shot.

And then when we were eating out at a local Thai food place with Bjorn's sister, my dad and the three of us the other night, there was a painting hanging on the wall (for sale) that I just fell in love with. It was just a simple painting of a blue sky and falling umbrellas, lots of them, little ones. Something about it appealed to me, the whimsy of it, I guess. But I couldn't decide where we would put the painting even if we could afford it (I didn't even bother to look at the price). And then a lightbulb went on over my head (really annoying the other customers, lol), and I realized I could recreate that painting by doing a Michelle Zindorf-type technique for the sky, and just stamping little black umbrellas all over! So I had to order an umbrella stamp, didn't I? And, wouldn't you know it, umbrella stamps are incredibly hard to come by, unless you want beach umbrellas or mixed-drink umbrellas. I finally found one in a set of "silly little things" (my term) at Clear Dollar Stamps, so I ordered that, and then I fell in love with a "Faith" set they had (it actually looks kinda biker, and for some reason that appealed to the wild rocker chick in me! hee hee), so I had to order both of those. They weren't expensive, but by the time I paid shipping ... there went more than half my Craft Fair money. *SIGH*

Anyway, I will now show you one of the projects I made that I just love, but nobody bought:



I am horribly embarrassed to admit that I can't find my info on where I got the idea for this. It was on a blog, and it was tubes filled with coffee "accessories" like cinnamon, etc. When I saw it, I knew it would be perfect to make some with sprinkles for Christmas cookies. So that's what I did! I think I found the template for the "boxes" somewhere other than that blog ... boy, did I mess that up, huh? Anyway, I made three of these, using a stamp from an Aussie SU set that a friend sent me (the little guy was holding a candy cane, and that was the closest thing I had to candy, cookies, anything connected to Christmas sweets). I printed out the label with a font I bought from one of the scrapbooking font sites (it was perfect, and I didn't want to deal with trying to find a similar free one). I used a gray Copic marker to color the Koala, and then used Sakura Glaze pens for the candy cane. The rest of it's just SU cardstock and the "Cerise" retired DP. I thought these would sell in the first hour, but I still have them! Go figure.

So I also made a non-edible form of the four-tubes-in-a-box type of deal:

Dont'cha just love it? Bath salts and other bath goodies! Adorable stamp from SU! I even used my Scor-Pal to make the background look like tile! But nobody went for these either. I am baffled. Or, as they might say in Northern Ireland, I am "banjaxed."

Well, I guess I just didn't have the right market for those or something. I thought they might make great teacher gifts, but maybe people aren't thinking that far ahead.

SO ... I haven't been back up in the loft this week, mostly because I am SO TIRED!! I think I didn't get fully recovered from my virus/infection before having to jump in and finish up the craft fair stuff, do the fair, and hostess my SIL. I enjoyed all those things, but now I'm just wiped out. I do have my new TJ newsletter, though, as I mentioned earlier, and I got an uber cool stamp set on Monday that I had ordered from an eBay store -- I think the set is Stampabilities clear, or one of those that starts with "S", and it's called "Rock Star". The guitar is AWESOME!! I have no use for the couple of stamps with skulls, but the rest of the set is pretty good. Anyway, it appealed to the rocker girl in me, so I "had" to have it. It wasn't very expensive, though.

That's all I have for today ("all?" you say! "You wrote another book!"). I'm going to go lie down and rest up to get ready for bed, lol. My son is looking up obscure linguistics stuff on the internet. Is that cool, or what!?!

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

You mean ... I can rest now??

Well, I meant to try to get to the computer yesterday and let y’all know how the craft fair went, but we’ve been busy visiting with Bjorn’s sister, and I have also been really exhausted, so this is the first chance I’ve really had.

(Me and my booth, with the Teenager looking like he’d rather be home in bed. I hate how fat this picture makes me look ... and goofy. Bjorn still hasn’t figured out how to take a decent-looking picture of me!)

So ... I guess things went alright. I’m wondering if people are just kinda freaked about the economy and that’s why we didn’t have just a gigantic turnout. I didn’t meet my goal of $200 minimum sales (I made about $140), but at least I did do better than at the Catholic church’s craft fair last year. What’s surprising to me is the things that didn’t sell – no one bought the coasters, I only sold one Christmas card set, and a couple of frames, also one of the general note-card sets. I didn’t sell a single one of the Scripture flip-books, either. So most of what sold were the individual cards. People admired the other stuff, but no one bought it. And even though it was advertised as a “Christmas Arts & Crafts Bazaar”, there were only a few specifically Christmas items there (someone had some stuffed Santas and a few other fabric things). There were a TON of jewelry booths. The organizers billed it as a place to buy Christmas presents (which is why I made the frames, coasters, etc.), but I guess lots of people aren’t quite “there” yet, on buying Christmas presents. Anyway, I got the impression it wasn’t just me who didn’t have quite the success I was hoping for, so it was either the economy or people weren’t into the “Christmas Bazaar” idea yet.

I was invited to be in the Catholic church’s fair again this year, but discovered it’s on a Sunday, and I don’t really want to sell things on a Sunday, so I’ll probably skip that one. Theirs starts at 11:30, so I’d have to skip my church service, and I don’t want to do that to sell things. One of the other vendors also was telling me that her church was going to have a huge craft fair at the beginning of December, and she said she’d e-mail me about it, so if she does that (or I may just call the church and see about it), I may do that one. It’ll be too late to sell the Christmas cards then, though.

Anyway, it was both fun and a bit frustrating because, this only being my second craft fair, I still haven’t figured out how to encourage buyers without being pushy, and I really don’t know how to “read the market” yet, either. Seems like the cards are the best way to go, for me, though.

My sister-in-law said she got the impression some people might not have realized I hand-make each and every card, that none of them are mass-produced (other than me just ‘mass producing’ them by making several at once), so I need to be sure to emphasize that next time. I also think there are a lot of people who have no idea how much work goes into this card-making thing. As you fellow-stampers know, it's not just smacking a stamp down onto a piece of paper and slapping it all together on some pretty paper. It takes thought, organization and planning, and TIME to do these things, whether it's creating backgrounds with techniques, paper piecing, coloring, embossing (heat AND dry), cutting all that paper, doing the embellishments, planning the color combos and figuring out what patterned papers will go together with what other stuff (or with each other), etc., etc., etc. And making four to six of them at a time (or sixteen, in the case of the Christmas cards) ... yeah, it's not "kid stuff", it's ART, plain and simple. There is creativity and an "eye" for arrangement and order involved. I SO appreciated the people yesterday who understood all that. (Especially if they bought the cards they were praising! lol)

Well, now I can just kinda kick back and make stuff “for fun” again, though I really did enjoy focusing on the craft fair for awhile. I have neglected my TJ techniques woefully for the last couple of months, and I have an all-new newsletter to play with now, so that will be fun. Also now I can work on my story without feeling guilty. And I can SCRAPBOOK! Whoa! There’s a concept! I definitely want to get back into doing that. I was thinking I might start on my London Semester album. It has been exactly 20 years since I spent a semester in London (and met Bjorn there!), so it would be fun to go back and scrap that (I’ve already been collecting paper for it).

Lots of possibilities. And I’m still seriously considering selling my stuff online, I just need to figure out the right venue. Etsy and eBay are too competitive (and have too many competitors who undercut prices), so I’d like to just sell maybe from my blog, or from my own little online store. But I need to get a post office box first. I don’t feel comfortable having my home address “out there” on return address labels, KWIM?

It’s getting late, and I’m SO exhausted, still. It’ll be nice to get back to a more “normal” schedule next week (unless that means I’m now responsible for actual HOUSEWORK???? Gaaaaaa!).

Hope you all had a great weekend, and blessings for the week ahead!