Sunday, March 30, 2008

Adventures in Springtime

"Is it time for our walk, Mom?"

"How about you, Dad? Feel like a walk?"

"You're kidding! It's my turn again?"

"I'm free! Finally, FREE!"

"I'm making a break for it!"

"I have to reach my spot before someone calls me back!"

"Ahhhh! The smells of other pet life...Heaven!"

"I don't know what I'd do without my daily walk..."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring has sprung

Well, don't know who is off on Spring Break because I've been such a bad blog reader lately. I've been working so hard and while I read I craft and create art, such as it is, lol. It's literally boiled down to taking each day as it comes in terms of getting things done and some days it's a singular thing done and no more.

It's times like these when the cruel realization that I probably can't hold down a full time job hits me in the most sober way. I am still too scattered brained to multi-task well enough. My blessed Hubster has gotten to where he knows these times and just kicks it up a notch and picks up my slack where he can. That took 20 years, folks. So, never say never, lol. Okay, seriously, he's a sweetheart.

So, anyway, I did a couple of atc's with this week's Bringing It Back challenge in mind. We're supposed to use punchies in our creations, and I wanted to use my frog punch and a Spring theme:

Then, I needed to make my teenaged nephew a birthday card and I was not feeling the guy-card thing at all, so I opted for simplicity and using a vellum phrase and a diecut frame from my giganta-scrap stash:

Then, I got one of those wild hairs up my butt to attempt an atc with Asian mood, but without using typical Asian elements. Whatdya think, was I close at all?:

I'm currently working on some wrapped atc background bases that are alphabet soup made with my oldest KI Memories rub-ons, and I actually have used one color completely up so far. I have six more partially-used sets to go....ho hum, lol. Next time I'll show the ones I have finished.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Big Red Scores Again!

Good morning. Well, today my money assignment is to watch MSNBC's key political shows and list all the advertisers. Seems there are quite a lot of folks who would like to write these companies...but let me save it for the paycheck and just say "I told you so" and get on to the art...

It may be clouding up outside my window, the economy may be heading into the nearest ditch, and the Democratic National Committee may be writing its own suicide note, but HEY! I hung onto my Big Red Sizzix instead of chucking it when I bought a Big Shot, and I am so avenged cuz I discovered that I can smash bottlecaps with it!

The 3 photos above show how I did it. First, the right sandwich recipe: from bottom to top, I stacked 2 white platforms, 1 sheet of chipboard (paper pad backing), and then 2 black Sizzlets adapters. I laid the bottlecap with the inside of it up, and I made sure that the Sizzix system converter was OFF the machine. And the last photo shows the bottlecap before and after. Sweet!

I was so jazzed I grabbed my old-school Crop A Dile (it was easier to reach for than my Big Bite) to see if I could punch a hole in my bottlecap, and yes, we can (as they say in yadayada-bama land). This further excited me to the point where I quickly used a couple of smashed n punched b-caps to secure some woven ribbon onto my card box for a handle that I've been meaning to make for forever.

"Patchwork Earth" atc

"Sunflower" atc

Of course I had to make some art with my smashed caps, right? So, here are 2 of the atc's I created.

Now, why would I suddenly start using bottlecaps? (You know I'm Old-School 24/7, but still...). I should fess up: I've been really into the challenges at Bringing It Back blog. It's been fun to re-visit even more of my vast giganta scrap-stash than I've thought to use. I mean, the bottlecaps that have been sitting in my stash drawer for oh, about 2-3 years kinda frightened me. But the challenges give me courage to just experiment and play (I mean, what's the downside? This stuff is so old that if I ruined it, no loss at all. And if I don't and actually make something I like, that rocks.) And I don't have to worry about stupid peer pressure...working with materials in the BTDT category...because my "cover" is the challenge! So, hey, join us if it interests you.

Now, onto the other flowers before I get to the dirt. Been reading. A Book. Don't faint now. I do this from time to time, it's just that my tastes run towards historical and political, not Oprah-bot best sellers, so I rarely even mention them. But I want to mention 2 of them today. The one I'm reading is

Valerie Bertinelli's Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time.
It's a great read! Highly recommended, if for nothing more than all the dirt on her and Eddie. Which is pretty much why I'm reading it. I dunno though. She is brutally honest and just a nice, level-headed girl. I've always liked her and I always will. You can read a little of it at the link I provided and see for yourself.

The other book is one I ordered today:

Adam Shepard's Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
I should receive this one Monday and cannot wait. It's brand new and I saw Adam interviewed on CNN. He basically took $25, his college degree and the clothes on his back and hit the road to find the American Dream by trying to build a life from scratch, to see if it could still be done. Everyone and thing in his life up til then had indicated to him that life cost so much to live that he might never be able to. He found out that old ways are still possible. It just takes saying no to all the spending, and in the bargain you learn and receive so, so much more.

Not only does that sound like my kinda story, but I want them to be Missy's, too. I plan on giving her both of these after I am through with them. Lots of great, great lessons. I probably shortchanged Valerie's book greatly, because it's biggest impact is in her learning to rely on and believe in herself and in not being tricked into not seeing yourself clearly.

Oh, been meaning to let you all know, I am continuing the RAK'ing, but I decided to do it privately. No deadlines, and from the heart. I've already contacted my next batch and totally aim to continue it cuz it makes me feel good and I want to give back. But I don't want to make a fuss over it, like it's a competition and that's how it was feeling to me. I am also preparing a box of handmade cards to send to soldiers, Mother's and Father's Day cards. It really makes me feel like I am making some little difference.

You know, we don't need any outside force or source to "give" us change and hope. It's within each one of us and only we ourselves can produce it. I am blessed to have known that my entire life, as I see an awful lot of younger people who have no clue of this truth.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wearing of the Green

Hope everyone had a great day today, and nobody got pinched. I didn't. I wore my green. Here are the rest of my Irish creations before we swing into Spring and Easter.

First, some cards:






And, some ATC's:





I actually made somewhat of a dent in some of my supplies categories, as in, out of ten drawers of green embellies (flowers, brads, eyelets) I probably used up half of one drawer, LOL. Yeah, ok, not fast progress, but being that anyone knowledgeable about our craft would take one look at my stash and join my Hubs in asking when is my store opening..... I tried. Gotta keep on pluggin", square inch by square inch, LOL.

And, the reader who gets used to that many art candies being shown in one day, week, etc., is on the path to a letdown. Had I posted on Saturday and Sunday as was my gameplan, I would have been able to show a few a day. Which makes me realize at this moment, I could have shown some of them during this week, strung it out. Oh well, too lazy to change that now.


I've been quite busy at my money-making chores. The tax returns around here have heated themselves up and I must attend to them. And, I got a paying job writing for a political blog. You guessed it, ghost writing again. I must be destined to never seeing my name in lights. And, it doesn't pay much, but hey, I'm doing what I enjoy.

So, that's why I haven't been talking about that subject here. I also applied to be part of the creative team at a new blog aimed at women my age and older, and I really hope I get to be a part of that.

I can tell you that I realize and am pretty accepting of the fact that Obama will be the nominee. Accepting and approving being two different things. Hubs and I both have spent a good deal of time finding our beliefs and opinions based on the circumstances, and I've really learned a lot about how I really feel and how much (or little) my so-called beliefs really fit me. (Same with Hubs).

We discovered that we are thoroughly disgusted with the Democratic party and what it has morphed into. This is based in part on what we experienced at our primary, how skewed the rules have become. It's obvious to both of us that abandoning the winner-takes-all tradition has been disastrous, as well as making policies that punitively disenfranchise voters, particularly the one state that the GOP used to disenfranchise our voters in 2000. Even the super delegates is a ridiculous manipulation. Everything is a manipulation. To the point of smothering the voice of the people through their vote. And we lay this at Howard Dean's feet. He is an awful chairman. We should have known, too, because he was such a divider back in 2004, a fringe sitter who got his 15 minutes.

And, I have to shake my head in amazement at this: the thing that sent Hubs into orbit was the way that Geraldine Ferraro's comments were just blanketly dismissed as racist. He's one of those white guy swing voters who lost out on good employment opps back in the 1980's Reagan Recession because blacks had to be hired first. After seeing Hubs' visceral reaction, I've no doubt there are going to be other white men remembering those similar times and they are not going to be saying, oh it was for the best. Noooo. I think there is something in those Rev. Wright tapes (coming out the end of the same week) that also gels this reaction.

It will be very interesting to see how it affects Obama. I heard that one poll from this weekend had him 17 points down in his favorability ratings. Whoa. Like I said, we will see. Hubs and I know we will be voting for McCain in November if Obama is the nominee, and for all Dems on the rest of the ballot, in hopes of electing a weakened McCain, one who will be forced into having to compromise. If Dems control Congress, McCain will be a good compromiser and it should be fine. We don't want change, we want specifics and security.

Edited to Add: Correction - we have nothing against change, but we don't want change for change's sake without specifics. Further, we have no faith that it'll work because we've seen no proof for placing our faith in his hands, aside from good speeches. God and loved ones are the only ones we give leaps of faith to.

Anyway, that's just a little "I digress". I have to save my ideas for when I'm on the clock, LOL. You can imagine that this is huge amount of new revelation for me, but I see now I've been loyal to something that is not there anymore. I certainly never saw this coming, but it sure helps calm the political despair I've been feeling the last several weeks.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Possible shoe fetish...

I really want these Keen Bali Sandals. But $60? What do you think? I don't get out much, is this the going price nowadays?

This is shaping up to be a year of omens and signs for me, I'm beginning to think. The sciatica that my f-i-l suffered from (due to the same L4/L5 degenerated disk disease he and I had in common) suddenly began afflicting me the very afternoon of his burial. Yeah. Really a huge coincidence. And, it hasn't quit. It's merely lessened in severity. Still very sore and easily triggered unless I move just right.

Well, another one of those meant-to-be coincidences occurred within minutes of me posting that I was looking for the price to drop on those border die cuts before buying. I received an email advertising them for $30 off the lowest price I'd seen.

So, three guesses what I did next. I'm now awaiting taking proud possession of them from the mailman. That was enough of a discount for me. I've begun to self-enable: I now factor in something I call a wait factor cost when supply shopping. I feel it's time. To me, not factoring that in is a bit like not counting gasoline costs when pricing goods. (Heck, what with insurance, gas and payments, transportation is expensive. Our cars are all paid off, but still.)

So, anyway, the wait cost on those borders feels like another $30 to me. I don't wanna wait anymore. LOL Perhaps I should just make the wait cost be the total price. LOL No, better to save that for something I really need to rationalize on. Yeah, knowing my own game is one thing, stopping myself is another entirely....

Today I spent almost all day uploading things I've created this year so far to my 2peas and flickr galleries, and I'm still not finished yet! I need to get that caught up. I've already almost lost one image(thanks again for saving my neck, Heather), so that kind of got me back on the task. I'm a big believer in keeping images of what I make. It really paid off for me after Diego tore up that layout. Being able to look at the image of it helps me kinda forget it's not "alive" anymore.

Anyway, even more backlogged is what I've uploaded here on the blog. So, let me work on that a bit. I am very groggy right now, so I may only get started with a few, but I'm going to upload something! LOL

Where to start? Okay, here is the handmade RAK art I made for my first 3 names I drew (Heather, Gina and Lynn). For Heather, I made this:
I love to look at that atc. It's one of my all-time top five faves.

So glad to know that Lynn is now back home after her hospital surgery. I made her this to go along with one of the Twisted Valentine atc's she had commented on:

What I sent to Gina was an atc she'd commented on from that same swap along with this card: My standards for my photos are about as low as my graphic editing skills, but even I must be truly ashamed of the colors in these photos. I tried to lighten them and instead they took on lives of their own, LOL. But, the lighting was bad to begin with so... It looked better IRL, right, Gina? LOL

Well, I think my computer is telling me I've done enough image handling tonight. Time to restart the old thing. Til next time, then....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Back from Real Life

Me, exhausted but wearing my Happy for Hillary smile, upon getting the news at my precinct caucus that she won Texas!!!!

Caucuses suck, by the way, the most un-democratic chaos that could be and IMO a direct disenfranchisement of the vote, ripe for abuse. I'm already signed up on a petition to do away with Texas' so-called Two Step, but that's another story...

I've had the most incredible life since my last post, and I apologize for being gone from here for 10 days, but I can only plead Reality (as opposed to insanity, LOL).

Since we last visited, I volunteered for the campaign like every day, then was purely lucky enough to hookup with Alex, who was scouting for volunteers to read online content and identify sites with unfair accusations and info. So, I got to start doing that. It's just the most amazing thing and right up my alley, given my love of writing and Hillary's candidacy, LOL.

And right in the middle was that fantastic winning night!

I've learned so much, too. Most of which I can't talk about, but I sure wish I could. I can say we caught professional Obama caucusers at our precinct trying to pass themselves off as eligible participants and got them booted out, which enabled Hillary to win at my precinct. Filed complaints with the state party, too. Found out we weren't the only precinct that had this happen, either. And that the reason why Texas' caucus totals won't be finalized for months is because of all the complaints filed against the ObamaBots and it will probably take that long to settle those, but you will likely not be told that by the mainstream media because it makes Mr. New Kind of Politics look bad (I'm about ready to hit somebody right now just thinking about it).

Anyway, there's tons of other volunteers like me doing the same thing nationwide, so this is nothing special to anyone but me. But I love it.

So anyway, where was I on this blog? Oh, yeah, showing more birthday photos and picking 3 more commenters for RAKs. I do have a couple more photos. And, I have the hand-made RAKS for the next 3 peeps almost done, but until they are finished, I think I'm going to wait to say who they are for. I'm really enjoying making little artfarts for you, and I've been super-productive since I can work on bits and pieces while reading campaign content. I got the first 3 RAKs mailed off last week and have heard back from them. You're very welcome, my pleasure. I'll show some photos of my artfarts next time.

Okay, so the rest of my birthday photos: here's the scene pulling up to the restaurant, Pappadeaux.

Here's my m-i-l and s-i-l on our way out:

Here's most of the cards I got:I loved how one of them is an actual teenager card, HA! Here is one I got from my girl Texas Kim, and I think it's probably the most unusually cool "nude" thing I've ever gotten in the mail! I was shocked that it made it without a smudge or a tear (I made a little front and back photo collage for you so you can see that it was mailed just as you see envelope...wowzers, huh?): Awesomely ingenious and creatively hip, Kim. Thanks! What did the post office clerk say? I'm dying to know! LOL

I also got a scrapping equipment gift. Hubs asked what big tool did I want, and I said (without hesitation), "I want the new Quickutz Revolution borders bundle!":Oh man, it's Lust with me and this bundle. Just looking at the photo makes me weak in the knees. I haven't ordered them yet, cuz I'm waiting for the price to drop just a bit. But it's great to know that it's a guilt-free purchase when that time comes, LOL. For me, this is a Top Ten contender in My Gifts of All Time.

Rosette has tagged me, so here goes (hey, girl, I hope you recognized that restaurant, being that it's in your vicinity, LOL):

A- Attached or single: Attached
B- Best Friend: Hubster
C- Cake or Pie: Cake (Duncan Hines Choc. Fudge)
D- Day of Choice: Sunday
E- Essential Item (s): cell, lipgloss, cash
F-Favorite type of music: 60's-80's rock
G- Gummy Bears or Worms: Neither
H- Hometown: Houston, TX
I- Indulgence(s): fried butterfly shrimp
J- January or July: January
K- Kids: 1 Girl
L Last movie: Bourne Supremacy on TBS
M- Marriage Date: 05/29/1987
N- Number of Siblings: 1 brother
O- Oranges or Apples: Apples
P- Phobias or Fears: heights
Q- Quote(s): "Know thyself" ~ Oracle at Delphi
R- Reason To Smile: Hubs cracks me up
S- Season: Fall
T- Tag : Tina
U- Unknown Fact About Me: (if I told you, it wouldn't be unknown anymore)...oh, okay: I've washed my face with Noxema my entire life.
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: I'm not a vegetarian.
W- Worst Habit: Smoking
X- X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds
Y- Your Favorite Food: Rib eye, baked potato, salad
Z- Zodiac: Pisces

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lucky # 13: How Sweet It Was!

As sweet as my bread pudding a la Haagen Dazs mode, which is what the restaurant comped me with for my celebration...And I got almost a dozen cards, a huge Hershey Almond Bar stash, some well-wisher emails, your wonderful comments here, and the one that shocked me: 13 red roses from my little brother:
It's all been perfect, but I so need a day to recoup and rest. Yesterday was nonstop. So, I'll be back tomorrow with 3 more RAK recipients and more photos of my big day. Maybe also a piece of art or two...

Thanks to everyone once again for making my day yesterday!!!!