Friday, February 25, 2011

Fly away...

Ahhh.... I FINALLY get to go away where the sun shines all day, and the ocean is clean and pretty. It's only for a few days... but that should be enough to raise my spirits. Just like a flower... feed me, water me, and stick me in the sun... and I THRIVE. Keep me in a dark, cold place and I live, but begrudgingly.

However... since LIFE isn't always fair... in order to play in the sun one must work their butt off before they go... and most likely play 'catch up' when they return. Such is the way it is in my life.

I am back to selling books on the internet... and doing quite well. Slow and steady wins the race, so I'm adding books a few at a time on a daily basis. In the past I would throw all of my inventory up on line in one giant move and then go crazy packing and shipping. Semi-Retirement (or maybe old age) has taught me to take my time... think the process through... pay attention to placement. My patience is paying off.

Working for my daughter, Stephanie brings brightness to my day. She runs her own business... Kreative Event Services (her ESTY shop is kreativees) . Her main item is Wedding Invitations... however she does invitations for all of life's celebrations also... and favors... menus... etc. She deals with the customers and does the design work... and I'm a worker bee. Lately she had me silkscreen a flower on to the front of a Wedding Invitation... and the next minute I needed to sew a table runner and ring bearer's pillow. In the next breath I was Hot Foil Stamping paper napkins and business folders... and today was spent at her house assembling these fabulous Booklet Wedding Invitations. You never know what she will have me do next. It's exciting!!

It's kind of sweet knowing your kids think you can do EVERYTHING. When they were itty bitty kids they knew you could scare the big bad monsters away from under their bed at night. A kiss on a boo boo made it all better. Whip up a paper-mache volcano? Sure. Make a Dolphin Halloween Costume for the school parade the next day? No problem. Teach them to drive? Piece of Cake. THEN... we go stupid. THEY know EVERYTHING... and we know NOTHING. One day, out of the blue with absolutely no warning... they decide we are not as dumb as we appear (although we are still considered old and feeble) and THAT is how I get suckered into doing these crazy projects. How can you say NO to a child that thinks you can 'do it all'?  

Below are photos of the silk screen job. I don't really have silk screen equipment. If you look closely you will notice I used a lot of duct tape, masking tape, cardboard, plastic cups, and ingenuity. To burn the screen I rigged a work light hanging from my guest bathroom towel bar, a cardboard box, and a black plastic trash bag. The only item I spent money on was the silk screen itself... and I got that at Michael's with a 40% off coupon. Actually, I could have used an old pair of panty hose and an old frame... but I haven't worn panty hose in YEARS, so it was actually cheaper to just buy a silk screen already made.

Flat surface made of cardboard and duct tape... using plastic cup as a 'leg'... and duct tape is a hinge at top.

Using cardboard and masking tape for registration.

Overnight drying and dining table.

Close up of finished screened lotus.

If I didn't have the stuff to silk screen, why did I take the job??? Because no one said I COULDN'T do it. We all just assumed I could. THAT'S the power of positive thinking.  Remember Thomas the Tank Engine??? I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN... I KNOW I CAN, I KNOW I CAN, I KNOW I CAN. Just wait until you see what I THINK I CAN do next!!! I'll give you a hint... it involves my bedroom walls... and I have no money for wallpaper. BUT... I have to head south and warm up a bit first.

Stay warm and THINK POSITIVE!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Believe it or not, I have only uttered 10 words in 20 hours. How many of you would have bet money that I couldn't have done that?? My throat has been sore and raspy for the past few days (weeks maybe?) so I decided to just give it a rest. Yesterday I was SHOUTING just to be barely heard. Speak about straining your voice!! 

My daughter, Lauren 'got me' and I answered, "What?" to something she said. Then the dogs were acting up and I had to remind them to NOT PLAY ON THE SOFA. Other than that... I stopped speaking at 7pm yesterday... then whispered off and on for an hour around dinner time... and then back to the silent treatment. When I awake tomorrow I will go back to speaking, and hope that the rest did wonders for my throat.

You know, when you are not speaking it's kind of funny to watch people react. Everyone begins to whisper... automatically. It makes the world a gentler and kinder place. I didn't answer my cell phone... except for one call from a person that knew I wasn't speaking. Hmmm... were they testing me, or did they forget I wasn't speaking? I'll have to think about that.

I suggest everyone give this a try for a day. It wasn't hard at all. I thought it would be, but since I no longer have a job outside of the house it wasn't hard to just glue my mouth shut.

Swallowing seems to be easier, and my throat isn't as sore as it was, so I guess the craziness is working. Who knew???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time Out...

After working hard for a few days I thought it was time to take a break. So I dug through some un-packed boxes and un Earthed my watercolor paints and brushes. Just the other day I remembered a sketch I had made of all the beautiful leaves that fell this Autumn... and decided that today was the perfect day to get started on it.
Tri-Color Maple Leaf

Oak and Red Maple

   In my head I envisioned a very loose and stylistic leaf... which I planned to outline a little 'off' with a very fine line Sharpie marker.  As you can see in the photos above my hand had a different vision... a much more realistic view. That's OK... you have got to go with the flow. You see... when creating anything you mistakenly think YOU are in control... as the piece develops you realize your hands are taking direction from some other creative, mystical power.  I can't wait to see the finished picture. I'll be just as surprised at the end result as you.

Have YOU ever created something that turned out totally different than what you planned? Was it better than you thought it would be... or worse? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

This Valentine's Day I will be happily clinking and clanking. I joined an Art Charm Swap Group... and obviously this month's swap was 'heart' related. 30 of us 'charmers' across the US made 30 charms and sent them to the hostess who sorted all 900 of them and sent each of us 30 back... all different. I decided to make a bracelet out of mine... and wear it in honor of St. Valentine.

Ohhh... Ahhhh... All so pretty.

As a general rule I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. I believe it puts un-necessary  stress on all the poor males on the face of this Earth. If you all need a specific date on a calendar to remind you to say, "I Love You"... then you are not saying it often enough throughout the year. According to the shopping guru gods, it is predicted that the average male will spend somewhere around $116.00 on a gift or dinner out... for a total of over $51 BILLION being spent on this Hallmark Holiday. Come on guys... keep your money in your pockets and show some creativity... Let your Valentine know how you feel WITHOUT doing the same old thing everyone else is doing. Feel free to help the economy by purchasing something else on another day with that money instead.

Valentine’s Day is named in honour of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers who, it is believed, was murdered on Feb. 14 AD 270. During that time, the Roman emperor Claudius II cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome, as he was having a hard time getting men to join the military, and he believed married men, being emotionally attached to their wives and families, did not make good soldiers.
However, Valentine secretly married couples until he was caught, then, refusing to renounce his Christian beliefs, was sentenced to be beaten to death with clubs and have his head cut off.
One legend suggests he left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter before his death which said “Love from your Valentine,” the first Valentine’s card.
It was the pope who set aside Feb. 14 to honour St. Valentine in AD 496. However, the day was not often celebrated until the Middle Ages. Gift giving and exchanging of hand-made cards became common in England around the 18th century, while in the 1840s the holiday caught on in the United States.
This year I am giving Hallmark a break. They came out with a TV commerical for the holiday that I actually liked. It states... Valentine's Day isn't a day for me to say I Love You... it's a day to say I Love Us. Awwwwwww... How sweet is that???

The Discovery Channel just had this whole show on Love, Lust, Sex Appeal and such. The most interesting story was how the brain works when you are in love. Dopeamine is released in the brain when you meet someone and fall in love. Scientists put a happily married man in a brain scan machine and showed him a series of photos. After 20 years of wedded bliss Dopeamine was still released when he was shown a photo of his wife. Now THAT'S a Valentine Gift!!!

So... grab the one that releases your Dopemine and tell them how you feel. Give them a huge HUG and KISS and never let them forget you love them. Keep Valentine's Day in your heart and life each and every day. And for all of you without a Valentine... feel free to send any and all chocolates and flowers my way :-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Poor As A Church Mouse

So… when do you really know when you have hit rock bottom? When I had to borrow money from my daughter to get my car fixed I thought that was pretty low; however that all went well. I still owe her the money… but at least I know it is coming and that debt will soon be paid.

Making daily decisions about what to (or not to) purchase is becoming fun. I make it a game. First I decide if it is something I really, really, really need… and then shop around until I feel I have gotten the very best price possible. Substituting store brands for comparable name brands is usually a ‘no brainer’.  Scouring store aisles for sale items is as fun as winning a contest. There are some things I simply won’t skimp on… take toilet paper for example. There is no way in the world I would purchase a cheaper quality of toilet paper. It has work to do… and it has to be soft.

Gas prices are rising so high that filling my tank has become a ‘luxury item’ purchase.  Going places further than my town requires thoughtful consideration. Can I afford the gas it will take to get there… or do I need to save my cash for monthly bills?  I am not always happy with the obvious answer. But that is not when I felt I hit rock bottom.

TODAY is the day. You might think this is silly… but the underwire of my very expensive name brand bra broke through the seam and is pinching under my arm. It hurts. I can’t afford to purchase a new one. THAT’S when I felt I hit rock bottom. Yes, I have other bras… but this one is my favorite. It fits well, feels good, and doesn’t show through my t-shirts. I have tried many other brands… they don’t even come close to my favorite. So the big question today is… where can I scrape up the $40 I need for a replacement?

I worked a side job this week and earned enough for 2 bras… BUT… the title to my car got misplaced during the move and I have to purchase a replacement… for $60… then re-register my car… another $70. Yet another decision made on the side of practicality and an empty bank account.

Please don’t think I’m complaining. I know there are many others out there in the world that would love to have a fraction of the things I do. There is a roof over my head, heat, lights, all the comforts of home. I have my health, my family and friends. Other than a non-pinching bra what more do I need?

On the bright side… by opting to stay home instead of running around I find the house is cleaner. Oh… and I have kept my windowsill herbs thriving for over 4 weeks!!! Generally plants have a life expectancy of about 2 weeks when under my care.

Parsley, Basil, Thyme, and Mint

Everyone has time tested cost saving tips. What’s YOUR’S??? Leave a comment and help me out.