Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Eureka Moment

Every once in a while I have A Moment. You know, when you can almost feel the lightbulb over your head? In addition to the usual suspects in my stash like paper, ribbon, brads, etc., I also have a drawer of retired Stampin' Up! sets I just cannot bring myself to sell. You just never know when you might need one, ya know?

Tonight, as I worked on my scrapbook, trying desperately to get through Hannibal, Missouri, I had a Eureka Moment! I had punched out a piece of scrap with the SU Key Tag punch and written Hannibal, Missouri on it for the page. B-o-r-i-n-g! I wished I'd had some very tiny flourishy images to use to decorate the edges, when - ta-da - I remembered the Fancy Flexible Phrases [edited to change the set name from Noteworthy to Fancy Flexible Phrases. My bad. True, I touched Noteworthy, but FFF is the other hoarded set I actually used.] set I had in my Save drawer, and out it came! This is what resulted from that inspiration:

Okay, I'll admit it is not that great, but I was still pretty proud of myself! And after only two or three tries, it was even almost straight! I wrote the name of the city against the top edge of a small ruler - a trick I learned in High School - to make it look like I'd attempted to write it straight.

I would have posted earlier this evening, but the original image I unloaded from my camera to the 'puter was so large that I took a moment to admire the detail in the paper's texture. I am very easily distracted.

And just to show you I really did stamp something yesterday, here is a card I plan to use for next weekend's workshops.

Recipe (All products by SU): Stamps - Sassy Suzie; Paper - Whisper White, Old Olive, Not Quite Navy card stock, More Mustard DS paper; Ink - Black Stazon, More Mustard, Close to Cocoa, Not Quite Navy, Blush Blossom; Other - Navy gg ribbon, Old Olive and Real Red markers, Blender Pen, Sponge Dauber.

Sassy Suzie by SU (available in the Occasions Mini Catalog coming out March 1st) is soooo perfect for me. I am very glad that SU came out with it so I can share my irreverence with The Ladies at my workshops. :-)

Oh, and if you are looking for a yummy beef dish, check out Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich. Man, oh, it ever GOOD! Skip the bread and just eat it out of the skillet! And then do 20 laps around the block!

Sorry about that last outburst, but I had to share. It really was yummy! Okay, now I am off to work on my Missouri pages some more. I hope to be into Iowa by this weekend! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'll Bet You Thought I Was Kidding

In my last post on the subject of Domesticity, I mentioned the cat was burrowed and catching up on her disrupted sleep. I was not kidding! No sooner did I have the quilts put back on the bed, when this happened. I tell you, she is suffering mightily tonight. Don't you wish you had her life, though?

A Little Domesticity

I had the day off of work today because I had some workers over to do some drywall repair and few other odd jobs while they waited for the spackling to dry. The drywall work was largely on the ceilings surrounding both ceiling fans they put in last summer. To facilitate this task, I had to disembowel the bed so they could access the ceiling in the center of the room (right over the bed.) As I re-assembled the bed just now, and began putting the layers of blankets back on (much to the cat's relief! She is so low on her sleep quotient today I do not even want to think about it...) I realized I do not have "blankets ... I have "quilts" - three of them! And they are all so very different from each other, I felt compelled to do a photo journal of them. (Boy, do I need a life!)

First up, the first quilt to hit the bed is the one I made. It should be painfully obvious to even the casual observer that this quilt will never win any awards, but then that is not why I made it. Every piece of fabric in this quilt came from a box of fabric I got from my Mom. The scraps represent dresses she made for herself B.C. (before children), curtains we had in houses growing up, clothing she made for me when I was little, and clothing I made for myself before I got smart and discovered Levi's about the age of 14. So this whole thing is one big sentimental journey, and it is huge. I had it laid out on the floor as I sewed it, and I just kept adding rows until I thought it would cover my bed. So it goes on the bed first because I need to tuck it under a lot on the bottom. :-)

Check out the detail in those squares, man! I broke every quilting rule. I put all different fabrics together, like double-knit, heavy wools, thin cottons, etc. And the actual quilting on this one consists of very thin ribbon sewn through the corners between the squares. Very, very advanced. Yeah, right. But who cares? It means a lot to me.

The next layer to go on the bed is a Waverly quilt I had custom-made many, many years ago when I felt I needed a designer to help me "do" my home. (I am so over that now. ) I keep this one around because it wieghs about 150 pounds, and when it is on the bed, you know you have blankets on. It is perfect for those chilly Winter months, but it is also very expensive to clean, so it is rarely the top layer.

Check out the details of the quilting, albeit by machine. I did not select this pattern to make the quilter's job more difficult, but I do not want that job, if you know what I mean.

This last quilt is the one that is on top of the bed right now, and has a few extra pounds to it that is largely composed of cat hair. Some friends and I went to Berkley Springs, West Virgina, a few years ago and we hit a Quilt Show where I felt the burning need to buy this for my bedroom. It is hand-made, and has the name of the quilter on the inside. I love it!

So there you have it - three quilts that could not be more different, and all on the same bed! So now that the bed has been re-assembled and re-made, and the cat is burrowed and finally catching up on her sleep, I really need to get to work on that scrapbook! I was distracted today by the workers and found it easier to make some cards while they were here, so I have not been lazing or anything, just not scrappin'!

The Chronicles: Day 13

This morning I came up with a new word to describe my crafting area, aka: The Dining Room Table. It is not technically a new word, but it is new to how I choose to describe my space. :-) That word is...entrenched. You see, when I sat down at my "spot" this morning (I have the day off....whoo-hoo!) I felt suddenly comfortable, surrounded by all my things. Kindof cozy, like in a cave. And since only men have "caves", I guess we women have our craft rooms, right? Ha! (Oh, no offense intended towards any male readers.)

So since my Craft Room is under a ton of stash and I am forced to work in my Dining Room, I decided I was entrenched in my scrapbook materials. I have everything I need right at my fingertips! Check it out:

To my immediate left are all the inks I've used so far in this scrapbook. It is very easy to grab one and use it on another page, as we all know a sense of continuity is critical in a scrapbook.

In front of me are my adhesives and not-yet-put-away clear stamps. Also my eyelets stack and some number stamps that I am sure I will need again, so why put them away?

To my right are my very-often-used punches, markers and pens. You can also see my tape dispenser. I really need to move that to the left side once in a while, as I think the repetitive motion thing is throwing my back out of whack.

Front and center are my tools. Surprise! Some organization! This is the container I use for my workshops, so it is always just there, right where I need it. The one thing I am a stickler about at workshops is putting the tools back in the center when you are done with them so (1) other people can find them and (2) no one loses an eye with those very sharp snips. I am not sure my insurance would cover that.

To the far left is the Trip Report. This is my anal-retentive moment on paper. I had to write down all my notes so years later (it turned out to be four years later), when I got around to doing the scrapbook, I'd remember what the pictures were and where I was when I took them. Details!

Under the Trip Report are all the Scrappin' Kit stickers I am using up. Very convenient, and right where I need them! I can just glance over and be inspired to grab one!

To the far right are my paper scraps and some pictures ready for the next page. The paper stack is really not all that bad. Some months it is as high as the Tool holder. I am not even close yet!

Waaaaaay across the table are the scallop tag punches that jumped into my basket during my last LSS run. And, I am proud to say, I have used them several times so far in my scrapbook. Yay, me!

Here are my next two pages-in-progress. See, I really am scrappin'! I start by laying out what I think will fit on the two facing pages, then I select a background paper or card stock and slide it under them. Note: I am finally out of Illinois and into Missouri!

This is the floor area to my left. I have my 12x12 storage box of retired Scrappin' Kits and also some Basic Grey paper packs. In front of that on the floor are my chipboard letters lying in wait for me to use. And the heat gun ... well, you just never know when you might want to melt something.

And lastly: The Chair. When last we saw this chair, it was covered in lotsa stuff. I had to put some of it away to get to the cutter, which I seem to be using every 5 minutes or so.

So that's that. The workmen should be here any second to do some drywall stuff for me, so I'll sign off and go finish a few pages for Missouri today. Ta!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Spot The Mistake" Contest Results

I used to pride myself in grammatical correctness, but I am humbled by the responses to the contest. When I first had the idea to do it, it was because I'd found one - ONE - typo, and instead of correcting it, I turned it into a challenge for everyone else. Unfortunately, my post was apparently riddled with errors. Who knew? I am definitely slacking...

Before I announce the winner, I'll respond to the suggested errors (and please take these comments as they were intended...feel free to insert a "LOL" after each one, k?):

1. Fiskars was misspelled. Yep - it sure was!
2. There should not be an apostrophe in bad's. Yep - it should have been bads.
3. The word it's should be its (not possessive.) YES - And this is the one I wanted to correct!
4. There should not be a "the" before SU (in 2nd to last paragraph). Yep, again.
5. In the first paragraph, it would be swore off them instead of swore them off. Hmmm ... maybe. I guess I could have said, "I swore off going to those stores." I think I'll let this one go, though (hey, it's my blog!). It is important to note, however, that if that statement had been properly written, it would go something like, " ... I stopped shopping at those stores ..." Proper people do not swear. :-)
6. Anywho should be two words. NOT! It's slang for "anyhow", so I did it on purpose. Nice try, though.
7. Durn should be darn. Yes, quite true, if I had not spelled it that way on purpose. :-)
8. Naive should have a semicolon after it instead of a comma. Yep - right about that!
9. The word(s) scrap book should be one word. Maybe. I have seen it both ways, and I struggle with my sentence construction each time I use it. I'll give this one a half point (honorable mention.)
10. And last, but not least: the fish isn't really a Cod? Well, for this one I defer to the label on the side of the stamp that says (and I quote): "Cod".

My non-scientific selection process is: The winner will be the first person to have identified an error that I deem a true error (my blog, remember?). Therefore, the following people have won:

Jackie, for catching the Fiskars and the possessive bads.
Kentucky Girl (A grammar geek you say? I say: a woman after my own heart!), for catching the possessive its.
Linda, for seeing the extra "the" before "SU".
Sheila, for seeing the erroneous comma instead of a semicolon.

Since that's more than one winner, each of you will win ... drum roll, please .... a Studio G Clear Stamp set from my stash! I spent A LOT of money when I cleaned out the Mike's Dollar Spot that day, and they are still in the bag. In my attempt to purge some of my stash, four of them have now found new homes. I ask each of the winners to please email me your snail mail address (send it to and I'll get these right out to you.

Thanks for playing!

And one final note: I am a subscriber to Scott Adams' DNRC newsletter. For the uninitiated, that's Dogbert's New Ruling Class (think Dilbert.) At the end of the newsletter, Mr. Adams includes the usual disclaimers, including the warning to not reply "to the email address this was sent from", or maybe it was "include the email address this was sent to". I am old, it was a long time ago, and I forget. Either way, the sentence ends in a preposition, so I replied, pointing out the error and offering a suggestion along the lines of "it should be from which it was sent, or to which it was sent" (you get the idea.) His response? Two words: common usage. Bah, I say, bah!

End of our grammar lesson; now back to my scrapbook (all one word.)

The Crooked Stamper Meets a Scrapbook

I finally 'get' scrapbooking! I am a card-maker, and I always said a scrapbook page was too large of a palette for me to cover with things, and that's why cards worked for me. But I've gotta tell ya, I have never used so much of my stash in one sitting in the 5+ years I have been collecting it! In a short 8 hours yesterday, I had so many, "Oh, I have that!" moments I had to stop counting!

Here is just one small example of my realization of the meaning of "scrap" and using everything you have:

Here is a really bad shot of a page of faux hinge stickers I rescued.

I thought I was brilliant when I decided to cut them in half and put them on opposite pages of a 2-page spread. It does look very cool.

[Please ignore that annoying flash reflection.]

And then I got really brilliant! I decided to use the left-behind hole thingies from the faux hinges as faux brads!

I tell ya, it went nuts from here. I used a flower sticker from part of a retired SU Scrappin' kit and I went back later and actually used the left-behind edge of the die-cut; I cut it out and used it as a frame for a page comment on a later page. Not that I need to be so frugal...I am sure I have enough stuff to last a lifetime. (What is that acronym? SABLE? Supplies Available Beyond Life Expectancy. Yep, that's me!) But there is something about actually using all the parts-is-parts of things that makes me happy. I think that's the extra punch scrappers get that maybe we miss as card-makers. Or maybe it is just easier to pull off.

Anyway, I have managed to scrap my way West from Maryland into Illinois, and I should be into Missouri by this afternoon. The way this is progressing, since it was a trip about all the little things, after all, this is gonna be one honkin' scrapbook! I am seriously considering Volumes I and II.

And keep those comments coming for the "Spot the Mistake" Contest! I have an idea for the give-away, and I am still working out a plan for my non-scientific selection of a winner. :-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

All New: "Spot The Mistake" Contest!

I just saw a grevious mistake in my last post. If you spot it, post a comment to THIS post. And crooked stamping does NOT count! Think about something that bugs me a lot, and you will know where to start looking. I will go dig up something to give away. ;-) I will pick a winner from all the correct answers using an as-yet-undefined non-scientific method. One entry per person, please (sheesh, like my beloved 2 - or maybe 3 - readers would double-post!) Please respond by 6 pm Sunday, Feb 24th, and I'll let you know what you have won!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hey! It was on Sale!

Time for a deep, dark secret about me: I am not a shopper. Not in any sense of the word. Not only do I not spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out who has the best price on something I might want to buy, but (outside of stamp stuff) I do not buy anything! I am allergic to shopping malls, stores, crowds, noise, pretty much all of it. So it was not too tough for me to give up haunting the local big-box know M's and ACM's. I swore them off to try and save money. HAHAHAHA! Okay, I did not go to them for months, but I just found online stores to haunt instead. Hmmm ... maybe it's just going OUT that I do not like. Disturbing, non?

Anywho, I decided I wanted a rotary cutter with optional cool cutting blades, and I wanted it cheap. I thought about the Fisker's hand-held handle thingy and remembered one of the aforementioned stores carried it. On the way home this evening, I stopped at the store and went straight to where the cutting stuff used to be. Durn them if they hadn't moved the cutting stuff and replaced it with Cuttlebug stuff! And it was 30% off! And it was LOCKED! I am so naive, I had no idea people would walk off with these things in their pockets. I actually had someone go get the key and unlock those babies for me, and I got a few. Hey - 30% off!!! She had to take them to the counter and hold them for me. I need to get out more.

Then I was off to the cutter stuff. Found all the blades, but no handle thing. They did have a table-top cutter, though. Like I need more stuff that takes up table space! The nice lady that helped me fill my Cuttlebug needs offered to help me decide what to do. As I prepared to put back the blades, she pointed out that all the Fisker's products were 40% off! I am weak, so I caved and got it.

So far, that's two bad's. As I walked out of the cutter area and past the {shudder} paper, I stopped to gaze and drool. I even fondled a few pieces. AND IT WAS ON SALE, TOO! But, lucky for me, the ones I liked were not on sale...the other ones were. So I w.a.l.k.e.d a.w.a.y. No really, I bought zero pieces of paper. (Pats self on back.)

So that's a bad, another bad, and a good. Not too shabby. Now I get home and am faced with the growing pile of stuff on my work area. So what do I do? I challenge myself to USE all this new stuff. Yep - actually use it. Unfortunately that meant taking out the Cuttlebug (had to move the scrap-book-in-progress to make room for it) and the new table-top cutter (put it on top of all the stuff on the other table) - and I USED them! Ta-da:

I got the set of sentiments (River City Rubber Works) during my recent LSS run. It is a clear set with all the occasions. Sold! As I muttered, "Hmm, I wonder if they have a Cod stamp...", I spied one (also by RCRW) and it joined it's friends in my shopping basket. So I have actually used something I bought less than a week ago!

The wavy top of the Blue Bayou card stock was cut using my new Wave cutter blade. Then I felt compelled to run the piece through the Cuttlebug using the bubble folder (sorry, that one was already in the collection.) BUT, I did manage to include a piece of ribbon from my stash instead of using matching the SU double-stitched ribbon, so I can save the SU ribbon for my workshops. And the blue ribbon was very easy to find in it's newly-organized box of Just Blues! :-)

Now I need to go clean up the card-making stuff and get back to work on the scrap book. Time's a-wasting!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Chronicles: Day 7

The Chronicles are back. I was silly and closed them way too soon! True, I had successfully covered my Dining Room table, but I neglected to realize just how DEEP things could get. Check it out:

I am working on my South Dakota scrap book, and have managed to work my way to Day 3 - woo-hoo! But I know I need to have a theme, or to somehow at least attempt to tie things together as I move from page to page, so naturally, the best way to do that is to have everything you might need within view ... or reach ... or to at least know it is in there, somewhere. So nothing gets put away.

As I tend to do, I stand things up on the floor next to my work station...things like a 12x12 Craft Keeper that holds all my large chipboard stuff from SU.

That's the Craft Keeper, right next to the chair leg, with the numbers (the part I wanted) outside the pack, of course. Also standing by are a zip-top bag that holds a lot of my rub-on and stick-on letters, and the paper bag holds some of my new stamp purchases that I thought I might be able to use, but that did not happen. There are a lot of things stacking up under my trusty paper cutter on the chair, too. And that magazine on the floor is one I just now hacked to get a few things for my College page, but since it gets recycled, it did not go into the round file (trash can.)

The long table is not doing too well, either:

The Blues and Greens scrap boxes are out so I can use the Daylight lamp and get just the right scrap to use...and I am using a LOT of scraps! The Atlas came out tonight so I could get more detail for the side roads I took on the trip. The scrap-book-in-progress is open to the left of the paper cutter. And yes, I have to move stuff to cut anything.

So you see, things are going downhill fast. BUT, I have completed a bunch of pages for the scrap book, and I am loving it (though the cat is a bit hissy.) I now see why card-makers have so much stuff! It is soooo much easier to use the stash on a scrapbook page! Just so you know I am actually scrappin', here is a sample of one of my early pages:

I used up a lot of things on this mostly-boring page: parts of an old SU Scrappin' kit, some chipboard letters, some retired ribbon. And I broke out my not-so-long-ago-purchased calendar set from Stampendous. I plan to have one of these on the first page for each day of the trip. This one is September, but I cheated for the month of October and made one calendar (without the circled date!), then scanned it in and copied it many-to-a-page. Sorry, but stamping the same month 14 times is just not part of the plan. ;-)

This is my typical style - not too fancy and right to the point. On later pages I did start playing more with papers and embellishments. I may go back and add things to pages like this one. We'll see.

So I am making progress, and the heap continues to grow. I guess The Chronicles will stay open for a while!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Chronicles: Day 5

Before we get to The Chronicles, let me first come clean in the Ribbon Department. You may recall I had three things to do on Saturday: take the cat to the Vet, start my taxes, then start on my South Dakota Road Trip scrap book. Well, I went to the Vet, and kitty now has a chip and no collar. Done.

Then the phone rang - it was my trusty cohort M., on her way to one of our favorite stamp stores about 45 minutes away in Virginia, and did I want to go along. Hmmm ... stamp store ... taxes ... hmmm ... the stamp store won! While I was there, I bought some more ribbon. Bad, I know, but I HAD to get it! Check it out:

The two sheers are white with swirls and cream with swirls, and were too beautiful to pass up. The ropey one is a really cool (neat) blue & green. And the one with the dog bones just called to me, ya know?

So I get home and look what was in my mail box:

My latest delivery from my Really Reasonable Ribbon Club membership. Can you say Yellow and Green? :-) So I guess I have a bit more ribbon winding to do.

Then, I was good. I went to the computer and loaded my Tax software, updated it, imported last year's return, copied the spreadsheet from my laptop to the other computer and started to finalize my 2007 stamp-related income and expenses. After about an hour I'd had enough, so I took a break...and I am still ON that break, and it is now Sunday evening! HAHAHA!

But, I have completed nine pages for my scrap book. Nine pages and I am still on Day 2 of a 16 day trip. Uh-oh. So as I was working on the next two pages, I looked up and realized the stuff on the table had reached critical mass. I think the moment has arrived!

I have gone from clean to a total mess in only 5 days! My goodness, what will happen between now and my next workshop!?!?! Yikes!

So ends The Chronicles. At this point I think I will have to start putting things away to do much more work, as I am beginning to lose things under there. Not a good thing. The GOOD news is all this scrappin' has me using a LOT of stuff from my stash! I have been quite resourceful - lots of chipboard letters, miscellaneous brads, retired-and-hoarded ribbon, lots of the stickers from a partial Scrappin' Kit - like I said: LOTS of stuff getting used up. YAY!

Ah, well, I am off to spool up some ribbon and maybe work on a few more scrap book pages.

PS: Before I forget, I ran into a college Sophomore today who did not know the significance of the year 1776. He just looked at me blankly. And he is a History major in college, but he was quick to point out he was focussed on European history, not US History. Yes, he was familiar with the Fourth of July, but had no idea the original event we celebrate occurred in the year 1776. Once I explained it to him, he said he'd had US History in his Freshman year of High School, as if to say, "How do you expect me to remember that?!" OMG, this disturbs me, a lot.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Chronicles: Clean + 3 Days

This is how things begin to go wrong. I did not do any crafting last night, so there is no 'Day 2', but I made up for it tonight. :-)

Several years ago I took myself on a Road Trip to South Dakota. I made it into a 2-week trek across the country, and planned the whole thing out. Well, it was planned to the extent that I knew what wanted to accomplish each day, but not to the extent of having hotel reservations. There is a big difference in what some people consider 'planning'.

The basis of this Road Trip was (1) to see South Dakota, (2) to take as few Interstates as possible - back roads was the plan, (3) to see as many weird things as possible, and (4) to have a great time!

I started with a Road Atlas, some maps from AAA, a book entitled Eccentric America, a book about SD and the Badlands, and a book about US Road Trips. That last one was by sections, like taking Rt 66 from one end to the other, or taking Rt 50 from one end to the other. Personally, I followed Rt 20, but I'll get to that some other time.

This blog entry is NOT about my Road Trip. Rather, it is how this Road Trip is still in the forefront of my brain, and how it relates to The Chronicles of clean transforming to a mess. You see, I had planned to do a scrap book of my trip, but all the memorabilia have been sitting in a box since 2004. Time to get it out, I say! Plus, this gets one box out of the very-large-storage-room-that-should-be-my-craft-room room.

First, I unloaded the box onto the large table. I have now successfully covered about 90% of the table top.

I made three piles of stuff: SD, of course; UT - from another trip as yet un-scrap-booked; and DC - now how did that stuff get in there?!

The SD and DC stuff will go back into the box. Uh-oh, that means the box will go back into the wanna-be-craft-room. Sigh....

Here is the SD pile o'stuff. When I travel I am really quite organized. Really! I start out with the books, maps, and a binder that we will get to in a minute.

That bag in the back used to hold all this stuff, and it was saved because it is covered with Bison, of course!

These were the books and maps I took, and I used them almost every day. Parts of them will undoubtedly make their way into the pages of the scrap book.

The Book. Before any Road Trip, I actually lay out what I think I can do as far as driving plus attractions each day. Then I put that on separate pages, by day, into a binder with pocket-divider pages between each day. I use these pages later to hold all the brochures, receipts, postcards, and other things I pick up along the way. This allows me to keep the trappings of my trip organized by day, and in some semblance of order. It also makes The Book really fat!

Oh, do you see that strip of paper peeking out from under The Book? I found that strip of stickers in the box. It probably slipped into the box from the table in the Craft Room that is also covered with stuff...who knows when that happened. It will have to be used in the scrap book, of course! I also found some other stuff in the box that I do not want to talk about.

This is an example of one of the pages in The Book. On the left are my original plans as far as what state or city I think I'd like to see, how many miles it is from where I left off the day before, and how long I think it will take me to drive it. All those scribbles to the right are my diversions. :-) See, this is how I know what I did! It also serves to help me backtrack to where I want to be in case I make a bad decision. Hey, it happens.

This is another page of notes, with a lot more diversion.

This is a typical pocket page. I literally stick stuff in here that relates to that particular portion of my adventure. Here we can see a National Park Service pamphlet, a bag of post cards, and some other touring stuff.

This is a glimpse into my psyche, and it is not a pretty sight. This, my dear readers, is my Trip Report. I keep notes as I go along from day to day, and when I get home from a trip, I actually write it all down. Okay, I type it into the computer and print it, but you get my drift. This Trip Report covers the WHOLE trip. Thank goodness, because all this time later, like I'd remember what road I took into Wyoming, and why I took it. Sheesh.

So you see, I have much to work with. I think after I take the cat to the Vet tomorrow morning, then start my taxes, I will start on this scrap book adventure. Once that gets under way, I will let you know how long it takes me to lose the top of the Dining Room table. :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Chronicles: Clean + 1 Day

I smell like Rosemary. And Pastrami. But now that my sandwich is gone, the Rosemary is winning again. Ah, post-massaaaaaaage I feel wonderful. And heaven knows I needed it, what with all the craft-related injuries I sustained last week. Between rolling 200 spools of ribbon, then bending over to talk to little people for 2 hours, then slicing and dicing card stock and putting together kits for my workshops - it's a wonder I was still vertical! I was much more of a mess than I usually am, and yes, my massage therapist yelled at me. Take breaks! What were you thinking?!?! Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So Tuesday afternoon & evening we were blessed with the arrival of a very thin layer of ice covering all external surfaces - sidewalks, steps, car windshields, car doors, car door handles, trees, bushes, grass... In fact, the grass was so icy I had to literally push one of my two hardy customers up the grass to the sidewalk and then we baby-stepped to her car. Think about the Tim Conway old-man sketches on The Carol Burnett Show, where he took very small, shuffling steps, and you'll get the picture. Man, it was nas-ty!

After the workshop was over, I cleaned up. Well, my definition of clean, anyway.

The large table got cleared off and pushed back against the book cases. See that neat stack of mats on the left? And the paper cutter to the right? This is how it starts out post-workshop. Not too bad, huh?

Also note the cat and her toy. Standard issue around here, as I'd opened my SU box of goodies. :-)

Here is the Dining Room table post-workshop. I actually did a fairly good job of putting away all the stamp sets - usually they are piled up on one of these two tables. See, I was good!

Please note the smaller table is gone, the folding chairs are folded and stowed, and a body can actually walk into the room without contorting and shifting around tables.

On the left of this table are my standard stampin' mat, covered by all the left-over grid papers so I can work through them over the next few weeks. Also, the heat gun stayed where it was (you just never know when the urge to melt something will hit me), and the markers came out of hiding and are now in front of the heat gun. You can still see the wood of the table. I doubt this will last long.

And now for a slight diversion from the subject at hand (I had to do something crafty here!) This is a box I started to make for The Ladies late Saturday evening, but stopped after one - I was tired. I did not even finish it, but I think it is still very cute. (Template can be found here.)

I'd found these candy-coated mini kisses at the store last week, and wanted to give these boxes to each of my customers filled with the candy, but even though that did not happen, they still got the chocolate - I simply put it out in bowls on the tables. They were most appreciative. :-)

OKAY! Enough blabbing! The following is why we are really here - The Chronicles. I spent part of Wednesday evening playing, and this is how the table looked after that one session:

Hard to believe, but all this came out for one card that is still largely unfinished. How does this happen? I dunno. But hey, it's just me and the cat, so no harm done. I will keep a close watch over the next few days, trying to find the exact moment when the wood of the table completely disappears. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Clean Slate and a Controlled Test

When you go on a diet, one of the first things they have you do is keep a journal of everything you eat. As humiliating and eye-opening as this is for dieters, that is not what I will be doing here. What I WILL be doing is a 28-day study of how my Dining Room and Kitchen transform from a workshop-viable space to ones that look like a toronado hit, then hit again before I had a chance to clean up from the first one.

I had workshops on Sunday, both morning and afternoon sessions. Since I have another session on Tuesday night, Monday is kinda of a free night to make sure I have all the cleaned stamps back at their stations, grid paper replaced, scraps replenished, and basically everything done so when I get home at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, and my first customers follow me in the door like they did last month, all I will have to do is turn on the lights and greet that cat (not necessarily in that order) for us to begin.

So tonight is a perfect night for me to start capturing the Before pictures in preparation for the daily journal of how this all falls apart so quickly. (Is a daily journal in a blog rendundant?)

Here are a few Before shots of what this place looks like for a workshop...

The Dining Room table:

The Dining Room table is where I live when I am home and not nestled into the sunken portion of the couch cushion that perfectly fits my behind. As I clean up from the workshops, this table will be the first to sustain damage in the way of stuff 'stored' there for later. This is also where I sit and play with stamps, paper and ribbon when I have time, so I guess that makes sense, in a way.

The 6-foot table:

This is the larger of the two additional tables I use for my workshops. This one, however, never actually goes away. After a workshop I fold up the folding chairs (!) and then just push the table up against the book cases. For the next month it will hold all the stamping mats (from under the grid paper) in a neat pile, and my paper cutter will come out of hiding and reside at the end of the table.

The 4-foot table:

This table will be the first thing to actually get put away when I clean up. All the stuff from the top gets set on one of the other tables, and this guy gets collapsed and stored up against the wall, along with all four folded folding chairs. Otherwise I could not walk into this room for a month without going postal.

The cat, resting up from her all-day nap:

And no, she was no help in beginning this chronicle, nor do I expect her to be any help in the future. At least we understand each other.

And last, but not least, the Kitchen table (aka: The Shopping Station):

I think I misspoke when I said the Dining Room table would take the first hit. In fact, the Kitchen will be the first fatality, because when I come in the front door in the evening, the first thing I do is toss the mail onto the Kitchen table. There it sits and piles up until the night before the next workshop, when I go through it, decide what gets recycled, what gets filed, and what should have been paid by now, thus clearing the surface so people can sit there and see the catalogs and order forms.

Amazing, but this tiny place can actually accomodate 8 women moving about for several hours. Well, okay, it holds 7 women much more comfortably than 8, but if they are good, close friends, 8 is doable.

So there you have it - the Before images that may not be seen again until this time next month. Starting Wednesday night, I will chronicle the evolution from Workshop Stations to a total mess. Let's see how long THAT takes to happen! I'll give it two days. ;-)

Update: And so it begins. Look what just arrived:

This is the box that just arrived on my door-step. It contains my most recent Demo order. Normally it would get opened, then shoved under the long table to sit until I figured out what to do with everything, but noooooo, people need to sit at that table tomorrow, so now I need to figure out where to stash it. Sigh.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Lame Post

Tonight I am tired, and just about ready to hit the hay, so I went to and took a quiz...Who were you in a past life. Usually they ask you a bunch of questions and come up with a contrived answer, but this one only asked one question: What is your profession. So I answered honestly, of course: computer analyst, and this is what it spit out:

In a Past Life...

You Were: An Arrogant Astrologer.

Where You Lived: Quebec.

How You Died: Killed in Battle.

Oh, really....definitely time for bed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A typical Saturday ..

My Saturday's are usually quite hectic, especially the one prior to my monthly workshops, and today was no different. It actually started last night when I did my annual volunteer thing for the city where I live. They have a Valentine Family Fun Night where they set up long tables and a lot of supply tables with card stock, ribbon, stickers, and a ton of other stuff, and families come to spend an evening making Valentine's Day cards. About 150 people come every year, and this is my third year as a volunteer. I have a little embossing station set up at the Glitter Table, and I usually have a pretty long line, with repeat customers. :-) This year I was down to one heart stamp (and I managed to forget it, and had to run home real quick - yikes!), and I bring my Versamarker and several embossing powders. It is a mad rush for about 1 1/2 hours, then everyone is gone. The kids really have a blast, and so do I! But I get home very late - like after 9 pm, so my body is wasted after a full work day plus all that bending over to talk to kids, some of whom are only about as tall as the table. Oh, my achin' back!

Were you aware that you can sustain minor injury with repetative motions? Like winding over 200 spools of ribbon onto wooden clothes pins? My massage therapist warned me about that, and she will probably yell at me next week while I yelp when she works on my arms and hands. Between that and the bending over the embossing station, I was pretty achy this morning.

So errands finished, I started to cut the card stock for my workshops on Sunday and Tuesday. I only have 15 people coming, so compared to some other Demos, that is not a lot of kits to make, but remember, I was wounded going into this! By the time I was collating the stacks o'card stock into the kits, I found myself having to bend backwards to stretch my back between kits. I am a mess.

So I finally got 3 of my 5 stations set up by doing a little cleaning and putting away and setting up and shifting and putting away some more. As I put away the bag from Recollections - ha, 'put away'...I moved it from the Kitchen where people sit to place orders (the Ordering Station) into my Craft Room (another HA!), and I took a second to check out the contents of the bag. Guess what I found - more ribbon. Sigh...4 packs of three ribbons each that had to be wound onto clothes pins and stored. Just a small diversion.

Then, as I prepared to clean off another section of table to set up station #4, I found a card just asking to be completed, so I took a break and made this:

Recipe: Stamps - by Creative Mode; Paper - Sahara Sand, Close to Cocoa, Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White, misc polka dot paper; Ink - Basic Brown, Close to Cocoa, Creamy Caramel, More Mustard, Pumpkin Pie; Other - Blender Pen, Misc ribbon.

Maybe not my best work, but I love this guy! And when I paired him with the polka dot paper, I had to pull out my nifty new storage box of pink ribbons :-) and I selected a narrow hot pink polka dot to go with it. My watercoloring skills need practice, but I am okay with how this turned out. I started with a Blender Pen and Creamy Caramel, then added Close to Cocoa, and it looked boring. I added some More Mustard and it really brightened him up!

Well, I've got to go clean up now and set up my last two stations. Technically I am still way ahead of schedule, as I am usually doing this about 11:30 pm, so all is not lost. Once I am done, though, I plan to lie on the floor and see if my back stops aching. Ugh, don't get old!