Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Horribubble, Awrful, Very Bad Day

I WAS going to do something crafty last night, but it didn't happen. Then today was so SUKKY that when I finally got home, I failed to find the energy to do anything but mope and feel sorry for my lot in life, and ... OH, LOOK, it's too late now to get started, anyway

Sukky? Yeah. On the way into work today (within a few miles of work, thankfully!), the clutch in the Miata felt "different", and I realized it was all the way to the floor, and I was feeling no resistance. For those of you with manual transmissions, you know this is not a good thing. I made it to work, thanked my Mom for looking out for me once again, went to my desk and called my mechanic.

My mechanic should be sainted, he takes such good care of me. I am always afraid a noise = transmission ready to fall out, but he calms me down and usually finds a much less crisis-causing source of the rattle. So today was no different. Here's how the call went:

Me: Hi, yes, I'm fine, but the Miata: not so much.
He: What happened?
Me: The clutch hits the floor and it's really hard to shift. And the engine is racing like I have an automatic and it's in gear, but I'm supposed to be in neutral, so how can that happen? Do I need a new transmission?!?!?
He: Um, no, probably not. Do you need a tow to get it here?
Me: Nah, I'll drive. How's noon sound?
He: Great. Call me if you get stuck.

He is such a good man to put up with me.

So I left work around 11:45, headed up to the main drag (Wisconsin Ave in Chevy Chase, for you local types to get a flavor for my predicament), and within that first mile, my clutch foot hit the floor, and I could not get the car into any gear. I put on my flashers and coasted around the first corner to a side street, stopped, and thanked my Mom again.

Called the mechanic and told him I was going to be a little late.

Called my Roadside Assistance to arrange for the tow.

From this point my day went into the terlet. To cut down on what could be even more extensive whining, let's just say my vehicle was on a tow truck and on its way to the mechanic by 3:45. Yes, that's correct: 3:45. I sat on the side of that road for almost 4 hours.

I was under a nice shade tree, see*?

... and there was a nice breeze, and it really was a beautiful day:

But come on ... after 4 hours, I was hot. I was tired. I was hungry. I was getting angry. I was feeling helpless. I was realizing I would not get my car to the mechanic in time to have him LOOK at it much less FIX it today. AND, now I needed to arrange for a ride home AND a ride in to work tomorrow. #(*$*#(*)&@#)($&@#)(#)&*($

As I began the walk back to work, I stewed. I perspired. I got angrier. (Dogs get mad; people get angry. I know these things.) I treated myself to a frozen strawberry lemonade from Panera. I cooled off a little. I entered the building at work and thanked the heavens for inventing air conditioning. I arranged for a ride home & back in tomorrow. I ate 3465 pretzel sticks and washed them down with my frozen lemonade and called it a late lunch. I found out I probably get to take vacation time for my outage. I got NO work done. I felt like weeping.

5:05 pm, my mechanic calls and asks me to explain again what's wrong with my car. I told him. He told ME he got on the bed of the tow truck to check the fluids, and since they looked fine, he backed the car off the tow truck and took it for a spin. So what's MY problem?

*insert silence here* followed by a WHAT?!?!?! Yep, he even took her for ANOTHER spin, and she was still fine. Sigh.

I did not sit on the side of that road for 4 hours for there to be nothing wrong with my car! I DID NOT! So he's keeping her over night, and will try again tomorrow. (Heavy sigh.)

As my coworker and I walked towards his car for the drive home, and realized this is his car:

Sweeeeet! I got a ride home in that beauty. I smiled. HE smiled when he realized I qualified him for the HOV/carpool lane. We got home really fast. I was happy.

I get a ride back in to work tomorrow in that car. I wonder if I'm allowed to drink coffee in that car. Nah, I'd better not risk it.

So my energy has been sapped and I am too pooped to craft tonight. Let us pray that the mechanic finds out what's wrong and can fix it tomorrow. I know MY fingers are crossed.

Thanks for reading this far, and I really, really hope to have something crafty for you tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by!

*No, that lovely yellow house is not mine. Yes, I covet that house, and I have for over 19 years. I could not afford to rent the porch on that house. I am not worthy to sit on the curb in front of that house. I was informed by the owner of that house (after she checked on me after about an hour to see if I was alright) that parking is severely and seriously enforced. Um, okay, I really do not want to be here, ma'am, and I'd move my car if I could. Well, the police could give me a ticket. Why, yes they could. At this point I kinda wished they had stopped by. Maybe they could have called for a tow truck.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Market Update, A Card, and Some Clean!

Time for my weekly market update, where I show you lots of pictures of the same things, week after week, and it only goes to prove how I have no life, and that I cannot sit still for very long. Again, instead of grouping things logically, I thought I'd be illogical and just show them in the order they were taken. It will be scatterbrained, much like my attention span.

Let us begin.

Maters. I love this shot down this table, and I take it every week:

One of the customers asked what "Maters" were. They thought they were something special, not just Farmer Mike saving a few letters on his signage. ;)

Farmer Mike actually pulled out that pretty purple one to show us today. By "us" I mean me (the crazy lady with a camera who doesn't know when to quit) and our resident photographer, who probably took a really nice shot of this same bin.


I love that this stuff is still dirty. Fresh from the fields, people. Well, in the case of taters, I'm not sure if they are a Fall crop or not. These could be new. I dunno. I'll ask next week.


I get to sit next to this all day, and as people touch it and go, "Ooooooh, basil ..." I get to smell it. ;)

Blackberries and blueberries:

I got some of each, and had the blackberries to balance out the butter-laden spinach empanada I had for lunch. Ahem.


For the record, I see absolutely nothing wrong with Farmer Mike's signage.

Farmer Mike tried to sell me these "sweet jalapenos":

If you'll recall, last summer these same jalapenos almost killed me when I used them to make my poppers. My hands burned for days, and I was unable to consume the poppers, so I donated them to Farmer Mike and his digestive system. He laughed at me. I laughed right back at him this year. "Sweet jalapenos", my a... oh, let's keep this G-rated.

Sour cherries:

... and early peaches:

... and these beans:

I think Farmer Margie called them Cranberry Beans, but I'm not sure. She said they're known by many names depending on where you're from. I'll write it down next week. ;)

And she also had some corn:

Then we had a minor crisis. This guy came through to shop, then he came back because he'd lost his cane. He was certain no one would have taken it. He found it - check it out:

He said he got the "girlie" cane on purpose, and when people make fun of it, he wiggles his butt "like a girl". What a hoot!

Farmer Ryan (actually his wife ... I need to remember her name...) had the winning display for berries this week:

LOVE that checker-board thing she had going!

And more sour cherries:

She also had apricots:

... picked from their own trees. SO good!

Flower assortments at the floral tent:

And because I asked, these orange flowers are Asclepia:

I had to look it up for a more common name, and I think (I THINK) it is orange silkweed. Whatever it is, it's darned pretty! I asked what that white flower was, and he blew it off. Hitchhiker from anther plant. ;)

PUPPY ALERT! This guy was SOOOOOOO cute:

He's a Pit Bull & Lab mix. A rescue. They've only had him for two days. What a sweetie!

Here is my next inspiration source:

Her scarf was so pretty I asked to take a photo. These are NOT my colors! Hot pink and bright orange! Ack!

This young lady just got back from riding:

She stopped by my table to buy a card, and she told me Yes, they were quite hot! I was intrigued by the fact that they were not full boots.

Then these two young ladies stopped at the table across from me and I couldn't help but notice their clothing choices:

I see green and blue here, don't you? Perhaps another color inspiration? Though these are such classics ... think back to Izod and the Kelly Green + Navy Blue years. Mmm-hmmm. Okay, that green is more subtle, so Celery + Navy? Maybe Celery + Not Quite Navy? I'll work on it.

That's it for the market pics. Now I have a minor reveal for you. Over the past few days I've been working on the UFO pile on the right side of the Captain's Table. I took a Before pic the other night for posterity:

Yeah, I didn't measure it or anything, but it was pretty deep. I first pulled out all the printed sketches I'd planned to do over the past few weeks:

I still have these ... they're in a neat little pile. Then I pulled out this mostly-finished card:

Well, okay, here it is finished, but it was missing a sentiment before. I made four of them, but only printed three Get Well sentiments, so it landed in the UFO pile. I pulled out an old and as-yet-unmounted set (Really Retro) and mounted only the one stamp I wanted to use. I'm lazy like that.

Then, this morning, I tackled the whole thing, and I ended up with this:

Yes, this IS a major improvement. Sigh. (leave me alone) Let's do the numbers.

On the right side we have:

(front to back) patterned paper pieces, true UFOs, and in the back, a pile of ribbon pieces I cannot yet bear to toss.

Center section:

A full (FULL) stampin' space! Be still my heart!!! Yes, I cleaned and put away a ton of stamps. Behind that big open space is a stack of pre-cut pieces of card stock that I didn't want to put into the Scrap Heap, even by color. They are left over from, ahem, Christmas (ahem) when I made a bazillion Tea Bag Holders. They could be post-it note holders. Or more Tea Bag holders. Maybe. We'll see.

Then there's that left side:

The most notable thing here is the fact you can actually see the lamp base. And the Stampin' Scrub is not littered with stamps. Baby steps, people.

Then, OMG, I stamped! I wanted to CASE this card for my July Stamp Camps, but mine ended up like this:

... and I'm not really happy with it. First, I had a miserable time getting that image to stamp clean(ly). I ended up stamping it on Whisper White and then adding texture by running the piece through the Big Shot with one of the SU texture plates. I LOVE how that came out! I think I'll lose that tab thing and just leave it a plain rectangle. And I'll punch that bottom scallop better, too. Or maybe I'll leave it as an example to The Ladies of how NOT to do theirs. ;)

Also, that ribbon is no longer available, and neither is the button. Sigh. My work here is not yet finished.

In other news, you know I say I never go out once I'm home? Well that also holds true for if I'm still in my jammies at 3 pm, like I am now, and I don't go OUT, period. HOWEVER, my cousin is in town for a conference, and she is free this evening, so I'm going to shower and get dressed and leave the house. I am! I'm going to metro into DC to meet her at a restaurant near Dupont Circle and do some catching-up. YAY! As I type this, there's laundry being dried so I have something to wear. ;)

So carry on, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spot The Mistake!!! - The Reveal

It's (past) time for the big reveal for the last Spot The Mistake contest! Before I select a winner, let's review the suggestions and my response to each:

1. stoopid = stupid. Not a mistake ... that was on purpose.

2. red rock dirt vs read rock dirt. YES, this is the one I had in mind - "read" is not a color. Sigh.

3. skillz vs skills. Not a mistake ... that was on purpose.

4. the order you listed the berries. Well, no, not really, but it could have been. Maybe. Or not.

5. Basic Grey vs Basic Gray. Nope, though this CAN be very confusing. The American spelling of that color is "grey" where the British spelling is "gray". However, the paper company's name is "Basic Grey" while the Stampin' Up! color is "Basic Gray". So I was right. And if I wasn't, I'm sure you will let me know.

6. Captain's Table vs Captains' Table. Nope, I only have one, so the apostrophe goes before the s.

7. gods should have a capital G. Nope. Only people who believe in a singular higher being spell it with a capital 'G', so the lower-case 'g' was correct.

All great guesses! You guys tried really, really hard!

Time to reveal the lucky winner, who was chosen by an unscientific, totally unfair process. (It's my blog and I make the rules.) And the winner is ... drum-roll please ... ... ...

Jenny S. (UK) YAYAYAYAYAYA! The crowd goes wild! Whoo-hoo!!!

Jenny - please email me (see link in my left side bar) and we'll work out the details.

Thanks for playing, everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with a Market Update, and maybe even a card! (gasp!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Random Rambling Thursday

1. I spent the better part of this week making 40 (yes 40!) Milestone/Decade birthday cards. I start this effort by making up a design, then I go into Mass Production mode. I don't like Mass Production mode. There, I've decided. I embossed all the numbers for the "manly" cards, but for the "girlie" cards I just stamped them in SU's Basic Gray. I liked the more subtle look of that (not shiny), and they went better with the soft pink & coordinating colors. I now have 40 completed cards, and I am fatigued. And my arm hurts. And I wore out two punches. Have I mentioned I no longer like Mass Production?

2. A moment of silence, please, for my 1" circle punch that gave up the ghost tonight. She was complaining and sticking and finally she quit. She lived a good life, and she died doing what she did best. Well, that's a lie, because when she did her best, she would actually punch a 1" circle. Tonight, she got stuck and, well, she died.

3. The 1/2" punch isn't doing so well, either.

4. I must now add two punches to my "OMG, it's almost July 1st and I must be ready to place my Demo order to get ALL THE NEW STUFF from the new SU catalog and EXPEDITE IT so I have it in my paws before my July Stamp Camps so everyone can drool and then they will need it, too" list. Yes, I have one. Yes, it is written out so I won't need to look up anything. Yes, I took the day off to do this. Yes, I am sick.

5. My pre-ordered SU Catalogs were just this very evening dropped at my door-step. I have spammed my SU customers. I told them to NOT come tonight, as some of them would have tried. (*waves* hi, ladies!)

6. My Target now has food. It's like I've died and gone to heaven. Most of you know I don't eat at home much, and no, I don't eat out or carry in, either. I eat breakfast and lunch at work, and I skip dinner. No grocery shopping = no food left to grow personalities in my fridge, and more money for stamps and pretty paper. But if I need ONE THING, I can now get it at Target while I'm picking up some cat litter. My needs are few, and I am easily entertained. You see, tonight I had to get cat litter, as I was 100% OUT, and while I was there, I picked up some sandwich fixins. Easy, peasy. Now, since I detest having to go grocery shopping, I no longer have to! Oh, my, life is good.

7. My LSS called me this evening and told me my pre-ordered Basic Grey 6x6 pads have arrived. If you have a LSS that offers this "every time BG comes out with a new 6x6 pad, I'll pull one of each for you" service, beware. The good part is, as every collector hoarder paper crafter knows: I have them all. The bad part is: my shelf for "miscellaneous 6x6 paper pads" is overflowing. Does anyone see a problem with this? Because *I* don't. (heh heh I have them all! *insert diabolical laugh here*)

8. I had a random thought #8, but I just forgot what it was. OH! Yes! There is only ONE DAY left to play Spot The Mistake! Don't miss out on a chance to get something from my stash! Play Now. Play often!

Okay, now that I've done my brain dump, I can go to bed. Good night, and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Distraction and More Mass Production

We all know I have "issues" with focus and I am easily distracted. So tonight, I went into the Captain's Quarters to stamp all the numbers for the female version of this card:

Yeah, I call this one of my "manly" versions, and I made a whole pile of pink ones for "girls". And no, I don't have an issue with gender roles; it's just that not a lot of people buy pink cards for guys, you know?

So ANYway, I sat down to stamp some Basic Gray numbers, but then I spied some bulldog UFOs in my UFO pile, and I pulled them out to finish them. I had three bases, but only two bulldogs & sentiments, so I made two of these:

Then I went in search of my bulldog stamp, and decided while I was at it, I'd put away (put away, I KNOW!) some of my other stamps. As I was putting away (that actually hurts to type ... I just thought you should know) my Rosie's Roadshow wiener dog stamp, I found a Rosie's sentiment that would be PERFECT with it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I bought the sentiment because I already had the wiener dog. Lookie:

Yep. Perfect! I should also point out that this is a study in brown, as no two browns on here are the same. I like to live on the edge.

Then, using Basic Gray classic (dye) ink, I stamped a bazillion numbers, mostly because I couldn't get the darn things to ink properly. I finally decided I liked the mottled look, and I plan to say "I meant to do that" to make it all okay. Check it out:

This is one version of my "girlie" cards made from several pieces of Parisian Spring papers from my stash. I have several combos, but they are all this flavor of pink. The base and one grey layer are Sahara Sand.

See how the numbers didn't stamp very well? Yes, I reinked the pad. So "I meant to do that" is totally necessary, as my arm gave out with all that stamping and applying even pressure and reinking and starting over. Sigh.

After I threw out my arm stamping all those numbers, I decided to finish cutting the manly numbers, bag them up, assemble all the manly cards, apply numbers to about half of them, and call them done. I did all 20 of them. I just need to stamp the backs, then bag & tag them for this weekend.

I then assembled one girlie card so I had one to show you. Actually, they're half-way assembled - all the main layers & ribbon are done. I just need to put together the two pieces for the base of the numbers, then cut out all the numbers. Tomorrow. I'll worry about that tomorrow. Unless I get distracted again. Hey, it could happen.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Challenge Card and a Re-Do

I've mentioned one of my Tweeps is doing SCS challenges, and she has shamed me back in to doing them, too. That's not a bad thing, as I can always use one-of-a-kind cards, but it's just no longer on my list of things to do each week. Doing the challenges every day might cause my head to explode, but once in a while, or a card with combined challenges ... okay. ;) Today I did Monday's Clean & Simple challenge, which was a sketch, and this is what I made:

This card is 100% from the Remnant Heap. The Taken with Teal card base was sitting on top of my UFO pile, and when I went in search of some DSP with that color, I ran into some pre-cut 1" strips of Holiday Lounge. True, Holiday Lounge is, well, for the Christmas holiday, but who said it was ONLY for that holiday, hmmmm? I love a paper that can stand up to the challenge of being used for other than its intended purpose. As Alton Brown has taught me: you've gotta love a good multi-tasker.

I will admit I selected three patterns that (I hope) do not scream "Christmas"; I think they work. Now if you didn't know these were Christmas papers, would you have thought they were? C'mon, be honest. I can take it!

The sentiment is from the Well Scripted set, and I used Nesties to cut the circles. I thought it needed circles because of all that vertical-ness going on with those strips of DSP.

Five minutes, people. This took me 5 minutes to make. Seriously. If I were smart, which I am not always, I would grab this sketch and make a bazillion cards for my markets, since they are easy and fast to make. I could even add ribbon if I felt like it, and I probably would. But like I said: I'm not always so smart.

Also, last night, based on a comment from one of my beloved readers, I re-made this card that has one row of hearts:

... into a version with two rows of hearts:

It's getting better. I was going to add a third row of hearts (that 'rule of threes' thing), but it seemed like it would be too crowded. I'm undecided on if it needs a sentiment, like the thinking of you from Trendy Trees. I think I'll give this one a rest for now and go work on my stack of Milestone birthday cards. They'll keep me busy for the rest of the week.

Oh, and don't forget to play the latest round of Spot The Mistake! You have until Friday midnight to enter your guess.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 21, 2010

More Inspiration

Pop quiz! When is $50 greater than $100?
No, I am not crazy. It really happened to me today.

Answer: When the $50 stack is made up of all circulated dollar bills and the $100 stack is all newly printed, still-in-numerical-sequence, is-that-ink-dry-yet dollar bills. That stack on the left is 50 circulated singles, and the stack on the right is 100 new bills. True.

Okay then, moving on ... in the stampy arena, tonight I decided to use this inspiration piece to make a card:

I took this photo a few weeks ago at the market. It's a cloth purse for sale at the table across from me. I saw hearts. I saw black. I saw pretty colors. I had an idea.

This is what I just made:

Maybe not my best work, but it's a start. You can at least tell where I'm going with it. I remembered seeing this card (Carp - can't find it now. I'll link it when I do.) of just a row of small punched hearts. I thought I'd do the same thing, but put the black hearts behind the colored ones to stand in for the black in the purse.

Uh-huh. It sounded like a good idea at the time ... ...

I made the card 4 1/4 x 5 instead of 5 1/2, just because there is so much white. I'm still not sure.

I thought maybe even smaller cards, like the 3 1/2 x 5 note cards, would be better. Then I could make a 5-pack. Hmmm ... I need to chew on this one some more.

In other news, this is why I don't recycle more often:

This is the box that my 1000 merchandise bags came in about 7 years ago. I finally removed the last stack and tossed the box on the floor while I put the bags into my market bag. I came back and kitty had taken over the box. (What is it with cats and cardboard?) It's been a few weeks, and she's made it quite the nest. I took this a few minutes ago. She looks pretty comfy, non?

That's it for tonight. Don't forget to play Spot The Mistake! Make sure to post your answer on the Spot The Mistake post if you want a chance to win.

Thanks for stopping by!

Spot The Mistake!!!

Ack! I just found a typo in Saturday's post. Find it and you'll win something from my stash! You have until Friday midnight, Right Coast time. I'll pick a winner from all the correct responses via some unscientific, totally unfair process.

ETA: Make sure to post your answer(s) on THIS post if you want a chance to win!

Thanks for playing!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mass Production, Again

Today was Mass Production Day, Part First. I mentioned yesterday I wanted to make some more Milestone Birthday cards, and today I got started on that effort. This is what I was going for:

To get to this point, I started by selecting some retired Manchester DSP from my stash, and I pulled out 4 pieces - 2 each of the patterns you see here. This is SU matchy-matchy at its finest. Two of the colors that coordinate with this paper are Kraft and Baja Breeze, both of which I have in embarrassingly copious amounts. I sliced and diced and made & assembled 20 card bases + layers for "manly" birthday cards. I also used my hoarded Baja Breeze ribbon. Yay, me! :)

Next up I needed the numbers. I knew I'd eventually need to figure out what to put the numbers ON, but that could wait. So I pulled out my SU Big Deal Numbers set (never giving this up) and stamped a bazillion of each number in Artichoke Craft (pigment) ink and clear-embossed them.

Then they needed to be cut out. Since I've done this before, let me share a trick with you to keep you from getting too stabby at the thought of hand-cutting all of these numbers:

Punches. A lot of these numbers can be helped along by punching out spots with circle punches. I employed the 1/2" and 1" circles. Look how perfectly they punched out that zero! Sweet!

The 1/2" was also used to help me with the 8s and the 6s (or 9s, depending on how you turn them):

I later went back and punched out the tops of the 8s with my eyelet punch (1/8" ??) Hint: Do this before you cut it out. Much easier.

Here's the help with the 5s:

... and the 3s:

With that as my starting point, I set in to cut out the numbers. All those rounded sections are not too bad as long as you hold the scissors still and turn the paper.

Here is where I gave up for the evening:

... and decided to think about the layers to hold the numbers. I opted for the other color in the striped paper: Artichoke, which also matched the numbers.

Here is version 1 of the manly card:

... and because I was indecisive, I made some with the patterned papers switched:

I actually have 16 of these, which seems like a lot, but once I do one for each decade up through 90, plus 55 and 65, that leaves me with a bunch of blanks for customization. Inevitably someone buys the 50, then the next person says, "Oh, darn, no 50?" I was a Girl Scout. Those blank cards + the extra numbers = whatever year you want!

And because I can't count, I ended up with three pieces of that subtle plaid paper with no remaining striped pieces. What to do ... what to do ... Well, it IS double-sided paper, right? So I made 3 of this version :

Those two patterns are opposite sides of the same piece of paper. I used Mellow Moss for the layer between the DSP and the Kraft card base, but I still used the Artichoke layer & numbers. I think it works. The ribbon is (I think) So Saffron from a few SAB ago.

While I was slicing and dicing the Manchester papers, I also sacrificed 4 sheets of retired Parisian Summer papers for the girlie cards. Once I finish with these manly versions, I'll work on the girlie ones and show them off to you.

Once I have them all done, it will be 40 cards total. Wow. 8 sheets of DSP = 40 cards. That means with all the remaining papers ... times 6 ... carry the 1 ... yep, it's SABLE.

In other news, not only did I finish up the three remaining cards for my custom order this morning before coffee, I also took a break and had a pedicure. I almost never have pedicures, but I felt it was time, and I'm worth it. I have a friend who is a retired manicurist (but still licensed & legal), and she came over this morning and gave me watermelon nails:

Yeah, please get past the short and stubby toes and just admire the paint job, okay? How fun is this?!?! Let's see if anyone notices.

Thanks for stopping by!