Sunday, May 31, 2009
Grads, Dads, and Two Really Big Messes
First off I checked my hanging tomato plant I bought last week from Farmer Mike. He actually thinks this one may last the season (read: I can't kill it). We'll see about that. He has no idea about my special powers.
Yep, there she is! My first red tomato! And what a beauty!
Sweeeeet! And the best part is I got to it before those pesky squirrels!
Next Up: recycling, and Mess #1. I took the three dead potted plants from my front walk to get rid of them. I briefly thought I should dump the dirt out into my 2x2 garden in the back yard, but then changed my mind. I took plastic grocery bags, put them on the car seat, and put the three pots on top of them.
When I got to the recycle station and dumped the pots, I realized there was lovely, black dirt in them, including worms! And since we have mostly clay around here, good black dirt is a coveted commodity. So I changed my mind, grabbed the pots, put them into the plastic bags, and started to scoop up the wet, black dirt with my hands and put it back into the pots. I got most of it, including the worms, put the bagged pots onto the seat of the car, and headed on to my next stop: Chloe's, to drop off some more cards.
As I was leaving the recycle station, the bags of dirt had the audacity to tip over. AAAAAAAUGH! Just look at this mess! Ugh.
But I showed them! I belatedly tied up the bags so nothing else would spill. So not only were my hands caked in mud, including under my nails, but now my jeans and my car were muddy, too. And I had not even had coffee yet!!!
I got to Chloe's, washed my hands, dropped off the cards, and thought to take a pic of my box (that's it nestled onto the second shelf). Then I got a coffee and cheese danish. I think I'd earned it by then!
And just to show you there is no end to sources for inspiration, check out this bag the danish was in. The wheels are turning already!
Then I remembered I hadn't processed my veggies from yesterday's market. As usual, I buy veggies when they speak to me, and much like paper, I am weak, so I buy.
Here's my yummy loot. I made ratatouille and I also cooked up some rhubarb & strawberries. M-m-m, that's good eats. The ratatouille is already gone. :-) The basil may become pesto, maybe even tonight!
On to the really, really big mess. I bring you Mess #2:
Yes, this is my lot in life. And lest you think this mess is limited to the table top, you are so very wrong.
Here's the floor surrounding my stampin' chair. Sigh. Please remember that part of my reason for being is to serve as an example to others, and to make you feel better about your own stampin' space just by seeing how bad it can really get.
Now that I have gotten past all that, let's move on to the Grads portion of our show.
Here is a Gift Card/Money-holder I CASEd from this one on SCS. I used some retired Wild Wasabi textured card stock for the bases, and since I love the contrast, I used black behind the sentiment and for the striped ribbon on the belly band. I really like how they came out!
Here's the inside.
And these fit into the small envelopes, so they are mailable. Yay!
Here is a more 'me' version of the Duck Grad In Car. Hey, I had one left, already stamped, so I had to use it!!! In hindsight, I think I should have made his car red, to go with the whole MD color scheme. Oh, well.
Then I played with ... more ducks. I had thought this one would work, but after I got to this point, I actually decided to give it up. This one will just never happen, I am afraid.
And finally, the Dad part of this post. This is not my best work, but I made two of them, and I have about 8 more shirts in different papers to use this week. I am sure I'll think of something a little more layered or be-ribboned. :-)
Not bad for an afternoon. I think I'll go fold some towels and maybe clean something. Or not.
Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
A Glorious Market Day
I guess I should call this a critter post, because there sure are a lot of them here. It all started with this:
Sigh. Tomorrow I recycle.
Here is an actual card I made Friday night - shocking, I know. I had the DS Paper out to make cards for my June workshops, but I realized I only had 4 sheets of Kraft card stock left, so I hacked up the paper and made these instead. The idea came from this card on SCS. I used the same stamp (in fact, I think this is the card that prompted me to buy the set from CHF), but I used different paper, different matting shapes for the image, and a different sentiment. Other than that, it was totally CASEd.
The stamp set comes with a boy/male version of the image, too, so I made some of both.
Here's my new digs at the market. Farmer Mike loaned me this tent to try today, and I LOVED it! Look at all that space! I broke out an extra table and put out all of my goods.
I had help setting up the tent, but it took all of 30 seconds. Seriously! And I took it down myself in about 1 minute. With a little rearranging, it even fit in my car! Sweet! If I can set it up all by my lonesome next week, I'll buy it from him.
Did you notice the handsome tent weights? Oh, yeah. Quite the topic of conversation, mostly about how practical they are. :-)
It was a good thing I'd planned to set up with a canopy today, because we had several new crafters who took up all my space under the pavilion. Plus, we had a few more tents set up, too, so with that plus the GORgeous weather, it was hoppin' busy today!
One of the new vendors is a sketch artist, and he is GOOD! Anyone can sit for a 10-minute sketch. With all the dogs that come through each weekend, we figured he'd be a hit, and he was! Within a few minutes of setting up, he did a black poodle. All-black and all-white dogs are the toughest to do (no contrast), but he did a fantastic job!
This is Molly and her Dad, who are both market regulars. As soon as I saw him, I walked him over to the sketch artist, and he broke out into a big smile and sat for the sketch. Well, Molly sat for the sketch. (I smudged her Dad's face since I took the picture to send to him, but I did not ask for permission to post it on my blog, so he gets some obscurity.)
Molly was such a good girl. The first time I tried to get her picture she had just turned around to give her Dad a kiss. Too cute!
Oh, and her Dad asked the artist to make sure to get the martini glasses on Molly's collar and leash, and he did. REALLY too cute!
Then THIS fellow stopped by. I've posted his pic several times in the past. The bird's name is Tweety, and he is 3 years old. They live to be 25, so he's still a pup. ;-) His Dad eventually sat for Tweety's portrait, too. And he went all-out for the color option, as opposed to plain charcoal.
I just know this artist will be quite popular here. He also did a few people portraits. :-)
This guy's name is Chewbacca. Chewy for short. I thought he deserved to have his picture taken, too.
The rock lady had some new hedgehogs - so cute! She has identified her target audience: pre-teens. :-) Although several big people have commissioned dogs and a few houses.
This is her latest: a stingray! I think she has way too much fun rock-hunting!
I had a pretty decent day sales-wise. And after I'd packed up the car, I stopped over at Chloe's to check on the inventory, and I sold 6 more cards! Whoo-hoo! I'll stop back tomorrow to drop off a few Father's Day and Graduation cards. Gotta keep new stuff in the rotation! :-)
That's all for today. I hope to work on the wannabe scrap heap tomorrow, and maybe make some origami polo shirts for Father's Day to use some of the patterned paper scraps.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend! Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I shall number my random parts-is-parts so you know when one ends and another begins. Just a safe-guard in case I ramble on or something. Let us commence.
1. I actually had a good Customer Service experience this week! It was with EZ-Pass of Virginia. Even though I live in MD and only rarely cross the river to VA, when I do, I usually take the Toll Road. What a pain the the patootie to search for the exact change! So one year I broke down and purchased an EZ-Pass for my vehicle, so now when I visit my pal in Sterling (when she gets back from Greece next year) or when I go to Angela's, I get to go through the EZ-Pass lane. Woo-hoo!
The way it works is they have a credit card on file, and they automatically re-charge your account once you get down to under $10. Too easy! BUT, when you need to change your credit card on file, you need to access their Web site. Long story short, I have to call them every stinkin' time I need to update my account. I just cannot manage to remember my login, and since I have to call to get reset, I just do my transaction over the phone. This time I called because my bank did a mass-replace of all their Visa credit cards, so I needed to remember where I had it on file for recurring expenses (like EZ-Pass). Turns out I have my Amex on file there, so no need to change anything.
(FINALLY she gets to the point.) The most-helpful person on the other end of the phone said I'd had my pass long enough to be reaching the end of battery life, so she arranged to have a new one sent to me, and would I please return the old one once I got it. I think I started blubbering something about how nice she was, and we had a virtual nice-nice moment. Sigh ... all is not lost.
2. Old friends and staying in touch. I've talked before about how once I started making cards, I stopped communicating with people. And that's with people I have known for a long time. The people who fall into the category of second-tier, which would be people you know through other people, well they really get the short stick in the communication arena. And then, as you age, all of a sudden they have the nerve to die. This whole thing happened to me over a week ago, and I am still bummed.
A friend of my family has had our whole brood over to her house for dinner since I was a pup. Back when I was married and we still went, she would occasionally invite someone to join us. My friend has been a volunteer for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra since ... well, since I was a pup! So this one year she invited none other than the music director and conductor of the Phil to join us all for dinner.
We found him to be a very interesting fellow! The thing I remember the most, besides his charm and non-snootiness, was the time my Dad asked him what kind of music he listened to. When you spend your life with opera and the great composers, I guess you wouldn't listen to Top 40's, ya know? His answer was, "If I want to listen to music, I just read a score." See? What an interesting fellow to know!
Well, over the years we kids have scattered to the wind, and we no longer do the massive gatherings we used to do, so we lost touch with Mr. Music Director. Imagine my shock when I got a letter last week from my friend, and inside was a copy of the news article of Mr. Music Director's untimely passing. He was only 71. Her personal note enclosed with the article said something to the effect of how sad we did not work harder to stay in touch with such a marvelous man.
So to all of you out there with second-tier friends, I implore you to be a better communicator. I know I will try to be. You just never know when someone who has touched your life will be gone, and you did not get so say goodbye.
3. On to something MUCH less somber! Traffic! No, you are not on my b1tchin' blog, as this is not a rant. I have found that with enough time, and the right meds, you can laugh at the stupidity of others! And let me tell you, I see enough of it to laugh every day!
Here is a photo that you really need to click on to get the full effect of my tale. This is the intersection one block from my street...the first stop light I hit every day on my way to work.
Yes, it was gray and rainy, but that's not my point, though I am sure the stoopidity level was bumped a few notches because wet stuff was falling from the sky. This photo's purpose is to show you the 'me me me' in this area.
Do you see how I have the green light? Do you see the recycle truck that turned right when his light was green, even though he could not fully get into the intersection? Do you see the 5 vehicles who did the same thing from the left, and have managed to block all the lanes of traffic? I do give kudos to the two cars in front who have not entered the intersection yet, although I am not sure they could have if they'd tried. Note to self: see if we can get the powers that be to work on the timing of these lights. Something is just not right. BTW, it took two more cycles of the light before I crossed that intersection.
Same intersection, and since I was waiting for another cycle of the light, I took this shot in my side mirror so you can see a force-merge first-hand. See that car? The one without it's lights on, in the pouring rain, contrary to our LAW that states you must have your lights on if your wipers are on? Yeah, that car. She is between the lanes, straddling the line. No directional, no nothin', just between the lanes. You see, we were stopped, and she decided to wedge herself between two stopped cars, because, well, she is better than the rest of us, you see. Pthhhhhtp!
4. Do not mess with a good thing. I started selling my cards because I made too many to ever use myself. A good friend advised me to keep doing what I loved, and not to make something because someone asked for it. My answer was supposed to be, "No, sorry." Because if you make something just to sell, or if you make something too specific, and if it doesn't sell, then you are stuck with something you will not even use yourself. So my going-in business model (I do crack myself up sometimes!) was I would only use what I bought for my personal use to make cards to sell. Then I stepped over the line and started making cards I thought would sell. They did okay, but not as well as cards I made because they flowed from my crooked brain, through my fingers and onto card stock. I broke my "good thing". I find if I have to try too hard, I shouldn't be doing it. I do not "need" Sympathy cards; I think I should have Sympathy cards. Who said so?!
So my new business model is to go back to my old business model and only make what I feel like, and I'll tell everyone else, "Sorry, I do not have a card for that." What pushed me over that edge? This card did:
This is my Duck Drives Car card that I tried to make into a Grad card, because I should have more grad cards. See what happened?! Holy CARP, what was I thinking?! And when I hated it, I kept adding more to it! Aaaaugh!
Then I took out even more stamps and made a full A2-sized one. (Uh-oh, I just saw I forgot to stick on his grad cap.)
So I think I'll go back to simpler, more basic cards, and maybe leave the Duck Driving Car parts for something like "always take the scenic route" cards. (But that car is pretty cute, no?)
5. This is what the road looks like most days on my way home from work. The only difference here is I was actually moving. The reason I took this shot was to get a pic of the pick-up truck up ahead of me on the right. I have a closer (although fuzzier) pic below.
See that red arrow? It points to the truck with a BAD ATTITUDE emblazoned on his tail gate. Oh, yeah, perfect for the daily commute! :-)
6. Since I plan to have a tent set-up this Saturday at the market, I needed to stock up on kitty litter to use as my corner weights. I did manage to fit three of the containers onto the floor, and I had one on the passenger seat. I can cram a lot of stuff into this car.
Oh, and in a Miata, this is not called kitty litter. It is called "ballast".
7. More rain. The ballast came in handy as the skies decided to open up on my way home. I took this photo of the
water small river next to my car as it rushed into the drain. I swear, I thought it was going to hail.
8. What are these? These are bagels from Cosi. Does Cosi sell bagels? Only for breakfast sandwiches. By the time lunch rolls around, they are usually all gone.
I know all of this because I once asked the manager at lunch if they ever have bagels left over, and he said they do sometimes, but if I wanted any, I'd need to call around 11 and ask for them to hold some for me.
Unfortunately, I do not 'plan' my lunch that far in advance. I usually find my stomach is growling or my cube neighbor asks if I plan to eat today and I check the clock to find I need to leave the building so I can get back in time for a meeting, and when we do leave the building, we are usually half-way to nowhere before we decide where we want to eat. So calling ahead at 11:00 is just not gonna happen.
So how, you might ask, do I have 4 (now 3, *burp*) of these lovelies in my possession? Because we went to Cosi for lunch today, and I bugged the manager again to ask if he had any bagels left over, and they did! How many did I want? OMG, so I got two Everything and two Cranberry-Orange. Yes, I paid for them, but I am set for the weekend, baby! I see egg sammies on perfect little square bagels in my future!
9. Meet the Brown Bag Envelope. Yep. When I placed my most recent order with clearbags, I included a package of these. They are available in an assortment of colors and come in 70lb text weight (nice, not too thin). They are 100% Recycled, at least 20% PCW, and I think they'll be cool to use with 'guy' cards, or anything that falls into the 'rustic' category. I got a package of just plain brown instead of a variety pack - I really like the brown ones..
Holy moley, I have managed to blather on quite a bit, haven't I? If you are still reading this, I thank you for sticking with me! Now I think I'll go stamp something and see what happens. Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Movies, 'Maters, and a Card
Today was an interesting day. Well, outside of the incredibly irritating commute that got me to the office a full 30 minutes late, the need to state the obvious one too many times to co-workers, followed by the late commute home, the rest of my day was interesting.
For starters, I cancelled my Netflix account. I stopped going to movies several years ago when one too many people talked through the whole movie, their kids were running up and down the aisles, and the rest of the people were on cell phones. Too much money for that type of experience, so I just stopped going. I finally joined Netflix, choosing the cheap-cheap $4.95 option, which got me two movies a month, one at a time. I then attempted to create a queue. Not easy, since like most TV, there was nothing to interest me. I loaded up a few historical fiction movies, watched a few recommended by friends, and basically congratulated myself that I did not pay full price to see any of them in the theater.
As my queue dwindled, I started getting reminders from Netflix that I should add more to my queue. This was the beginning of the end. I finally decided the $5/month was just not worth it, as it sometimes took me a whole month to actually sit still long enough to watch a movie. Case in point: I just returned my last movie un-opened. See? Cancelling was the right decision!
As an added bonus, as soon as I cancelled, I got an email - not thanking me for my patronage; not telling me they'd take me back and the process to re-join; nothing positive at all. I got a short message: Membership cancelled - please return movie. Niiiiice, huh?
On a POSITIVE note, one of my stamping customers (the one trying to get me to looooooove the Cricut - it's not working) stopped by this evening to pick up her May SU order and also to retrieve her CSA goods from this past weekend's market (I'd picked them up for her as she and Hubby were out of town). As I filled up her waiting arms, when we got to the tomatoes she informed me they both detest fresh tomatoes, and unless there was an abundance of them in their CSA (like enough to make sauce or something), I was welcome to them. O-M-G - free home-grown 'maters!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL SUMMER LONG! I cannot stand the good fortune! Woo-hoo!!!! Doin' the Happy Dance here! I may have to compensate her with stampin' supplies when we get into July and move from the hot-house 'maters to the grown out in the field 'maters. Be still my heart.
On to the card du jour. I wanted to make a quick Thank You card tonight, and I made three of these in about 25 minutes:
Please step back from your computer screen so you can actually SEE this blurry card. In real life it is NOT blurry, but they are all written and sealed in addressed envelopes, so I have no opportunity to try for a decent photo. Sorry about that. Also, please ignore the Star Wars-esque effect. Bad camera angle on top of being blurry. Sigh.
As usual, I used the supplies that were at hand, which would be some partial pieces of Summer Pic-i-nic papers (there, I said it) and my orange striped ribbon.
This was too easy. This is even all SU! Wow. I did sacrifice a few white pieces for the bases and a piece of Bashful Blue for the layers and to punch out the scallops.
I'm working on some Dad and Grad projects. Hmmm ... that might be a good title for a future post. Until then, thanks for stopping by!
[End of whining.]
Monday, May 25, 2009
Check out this paper. It is thin and a perfect match for Kraft card stock. It is technically Teal, but I paired it with PTI's Ocean Breeze. The sentiment was printed on the 'puter cuz I failed to find a stamp like it, though I sure looked! The new Verve release has two super Dad sets, but at this point I'll wait. I think.
Here's another version of the same card. I broke open my new Pinking Circles Nesties and use them for the sentiment and layer. I got these because I thought they'd be perfect to use for string art, but now that I see them here, I think I need to get the other size so they layer a little better.
At one point on Sunday, this was one corner of my work space. I had no fewer than seven (7) projects in progress; talk about unfocussed! When I had only six sitting there, I went into The Other Room and printed off some City Cards. I then added them to the pile, making it seven partial projects. I was DETERMINED to actually finish one or two of them ... let's see how I did!
I took the two colored cupcakes (stamped images courtesy of Miss Kristie; I colored them last weekend, I think) and I made this card and the next one.
The base on this is PTI Aqua Mist, as is the ribbon. The scallop circle was cut from a piece of scrap SU Tempting Turquoise, and the sentiment is also PTI.
For this one, the base and ribbon are PTI Lemon Tart, the scallop circle is a scrap of SU Groovy Guava, and again, same PTI sentiment.
The bow on this one covers an unfortunate mis-cut with the circle Nestie (it ran off the piece of paper, and is not perfectly round). :-(
Sigh. That's all I have to say about this one.
Next up, I give you a card I CASEd when this set first debuted. I liked it, I made it, I hung it on the door/gallery, and it's still there! I liked how the orange striped ribbon, which is sooooo something I would not normally use, actually works here! So what to do this year with this set that is just collecting dust ...
... I made a few of these! This card has a story to tell. Shhhhh ... listen ... hoarding is a good thing! IT IS, and I have PROOF!
One of the things on my To Do list this weekend was to empty one box in The Other Room. I went in there Sunday to do just that, and I saw no actual boxes. I did attack a pile of some old SU business supplies given to me by a former downline who had no use for them. Apparently, neither did I. I recycled most of the stuff, and put the box of catalogs with my collection of boxes of retired catalogs. (I have a plan to get rid of about 15 retired catalogs this Winter. Really!)
I then moved on to another section of stuff, and I spied something veeeeeery interesting. Paper! (surprise!) But this was not just ANY paper. This was some SU paper from a loooong time ago when SU made 8 1/2 x 11 paper in some of its 48 colors. I have it all, of course, and I made a mental note to see if maybe I could sell it on SCS.
Then I began working on these apple cards. Notice the original version up above all that blathering. It has a red card base, topped with a piece of Summer Picnic (I soooo wanted to type pic-i-nic) DS paper. I do not like to do the insides of cards, so I thought I'd layer some Real Red card stock under the DSP, then put it on a white card base, but then ... LIGHT BULB! I grabbed two pieces of red paper from The Other Room and used it as the layers. So light, so not heavy, so GOOD! Sigh. I love it when something actually works!
Oh, that sentiment is something else I snagged at Angela's, with the idea to use it on this card. See? I sometimes have a plan.
Back to the stack of partially-finished projects. I've used the cup cake images. I've used the little Snag 'Em sentiment. And I actually did color, bag & tag all the City Cards that are stacked up there on the lamp base.
Left to tackle:
--> License Plate Father's Day cards
--> License Plate Grad cards (they are in the pile there, somewhere)
--> Grad ducks (yes, ducks)
--> Ducks driving car. Yes, I actually typed that, and plan to make them.
--> Use that grommeted card part, salvaged from one of my failed efforts, and do ... something with it.
Sure sounds like grandiose plans, huh? Hey, at least I finally have a plan! Looks like I'll be busy this week. I'll be sure to show you what I end up making, as I make them.
Thanks for stopping by!
Using Photos On Cards
I have an empty box near the front door. It used to hold 250 envelopes, but then I used it to take new cards to my car for the market, and well, now it is just empty and there. She usually sticks her front feet into it and claws at it (as cats do), I am sure to let me know how frustrated she is that I closed the front door and would not let her run free. But one night she did this:
Yes, she put her whole body into the thing and sat down.
Then this morning, we're back to this.
So what IS it with cats and boxes? Inquiring minds want to know.
Okay, on to the subject at hand: photos and cards. Every once in a blue moon* I take a decent photo. Most of the time I just get lucky, like with this one:
I was stuck in traffic on the highway coming home from Florida in 2005. Just sitting there on a perfectly GORgeous day, inhaling exhaust fumes, and fuming myself that there had better be a very nasty accident or at least some plausible reason for the delay. I even had my windows open - that's how still I was sitting!
Then I looked to to my right and saw this tall grass. PHOTO OP! So I took the pic. Done.
When I got home, I cropped it so I would lose the car parts, and this is what I got. Pretty, huh?
This is straight out of the camera, and except for the cropping part, unadulterated. No PhotoShopping, as I do not even own that product!
The photo has a sort of peaceful look, don't you think? So I made some cards with it! I made a few with just the photo and no sentiment, but most of the cards were this one:
Sympathy. I love this Eskimo saying, so I stamped it on vellum and put it over the photo. I am actually sold out of these, and when a friend asked me this weekend if I had any (she remembered it!) and I was out, I decided to make some more this weekend. Unfortunately, sympathy cards are selling like hot cakes**, so I need to have more variety in that section.
The last few batches I made did not have ribbon on them, so these are technically new & improved. :-) I needed ribbon today cuz I used red sticky tape to anchor the top of the vellum to the card, and I needed to hide it, dontcha know. One of these days I'll figure out how to stick vellum to something without the adhesive showing. So far, even vellum tape shows when I use it, and I have no plans to get spray adhesive - unless it comes in a teeny tiny can with a teeny, tiny nozzle so I can control the direction and amount of the spray. Until then, being a ribbon lover (duuuh!), I have absolutely NO problem using it to hide the adhesive.
Speaking of ribbon ... just so you know I am not making up stories about the volume of the stuff I have stashed in The Other Room, this is the spool of the yummy, thick and luscious off-white satin ribbon I got from the Ribbon Outlet nigh on two years ago. I put it on top of the card here for perspective. Do you now understand the seriousness of my situation? I will never, ever, ever, ever run out of this stuff!
Okay, folks, I'm off to play with all the stuff I've dragged out to work on the ole mojo. I think it's coming back! Yay!
Thanks for stopping by!
* From: Wikipedia: A blue moon is an extra full moon in a month, which occurs every 2-3 years. This is because there are an extra 11 days or so when you do the 28-day cycle thing, and they add up to an extra full moon, or 28-day cycle. It is so infrequent, the use of the term has come to mean 'rarely'.
** From phrases.org: SELL LIKE HOT CAKES - "Hot cakes cooked in bear grease or pork lard were popular from earliest times in American. First made of cornmeal, the griddle cakes or pancakes were of course best when served piping hot and were often sold at church benefits, fairs, and other functions. So popular were they that by the beginning of the 19th century 'to sell like hot cakes' was a familiar expression for anything that sold very quickly effortlessly, and in quantity." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997)