Saturday, September 29, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, I know...a "few' stamps...still!

What a day yesterday! 7:00 a.m. drive to Staten Island; meet a ScraPink crop to welcome everyone, offer a grand prize of a full set of Tim Holtz(tm) Distress Crackle Paint(tm) by Ranger Industries and do a meet and greet. 8:45 a.m. drive back to N.J. to meet MOCHA-the Monmouth/Ocean County, NJ Stamp Club, where I taught a Crackle Paint Bandanna Frame Class. It was a great day; organized and fun-I saw women that I've not seen or stamped with in years! Thanks, ladies!

When I was asked to teach, they were meeting not far from my house, so I offered that the members could invade my stamp stash.

You have to realize I've been stamping for over 14 years, and about 12 of that has been teaching and submitting projects and BUYING stamps! Since I've been with Ranger, to make samples, teach classes, etc. I have to be current. I can't teach or create samples with outdated stamps or from companies that are not around anymore. So...I need to part with them. It's a difficult thing, as I've got attachments to many of these little wooden and rubber gems! Believe it or not, I remember where I'd purchased them, the companies they're from, when I've used them....they're a part of me...but now it's time to share them with others that have the time to play with them!

I had about 20 women attack my garage with a vengeance, and did they have fun rooting through my old papers and stamps. In the end, another dent was made in my "rubbah", and the ladies were AWESOME because they neatened the stamps back up again and placed them back and my garage. So here's what I still have....mind you, if I had my way, I'd wouldn't give away any of them, but I'm trying to be realistic and lighten my load so I can concentrate on moving forward!

It's such a great day today, windows open, nosy Oliver sitting in the window and it's going to be an artful day of fun and friends. I hope you all have the same!

By the way, anyone want to buy some lovingly used stamps? ;-)

Stampingly yours,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

When the Going Gets Tough...Turn the "Otter" Cheek?!

It's been a yucky, sucky, icky, crappy week. Last week with my being sick (sans my poor loss of Pearl) was better than the week I've been having. I'm trying to stand back and not let myself get overemotional about what to do, what to do, what to do. I'm going to just mull and stir it around for a while, but I'm definitely in a much better place at this very moment. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself that it will all work out, take a chill pill.

I was going through my pics, and this one I took of an otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (one of my all time favorite places) just makes me smile and sit back and contemplate the good things...my friends, my family (Yay, my niece Alex...first two Field Hockey Games of the year and she's already scored 4 goals!), a roof over my head, lots of artsy things to do.

In the meantime, I'm going to be teaching on Saturday, and I think I'll go and finish up the sample. Simple is what I'm going for, but effective. Show some fun ways to work with the new Tim Holtz(tm) Distress Crackle Paint(tm) by Ranger. When I get it finished I'll post it.

Finally, my pal Miss Margot was talking about stats...she's got me going on them, and I was so thrilled to see I got a bunch of hits today...when I checked, lo and behold, it was from my buddy Donna Downey...it turns out that she's from my neck of the woods, so we're both "Jersey Shore Babes". I made for her a special soldered sign with her name and "moniker" Inspired...she loved it and I was so happy that it got to her unbroken!

It's almost Friday, my friends, enjoy! I've got something fun planned for next week on this bloggie thing...all technique all the time!

Have an Otterly Great Rest of the Week, Robin

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rocking Chairs and Life...Go Figure

I'm on the internet a lot for work...really! I'm always checking sites out, sourcing companies and being the more or less "official" instruction checker outer of the office, I am always trying to be as specific as can be in citing sources. I'm quite the stickler on that, as the Design Team we had this year at Ranger can attest. For anyone out there that thinks it doesn't really matter...it does! Just imagine...whether sending in a project for an article, submission for a book, website or class. People want EXACTLY what you are showing...no close calls, thank you! It's worth it to do the search and get the item number. How happy would a store owner or manufacturer be (especially with stamps) when a consumer has the item number...instead of...."well, it's a flower...maybe it's a tulip, but may not be, and it may be by this company or...". You get the picture. For those not familiar in the rubber stamp realm, to say you want a, for example, Hero Arts http://heroarts.com flower image...well, go onto their site or just google "Hero Arts Flower Stamp"...I dare you! You'll see!

Well, as usual, I digress...in my sourcing I came across a company that I used to buy (and still have) tons of their stamps when they did wholesale to stamp stores-Viva Las Vegastamps! http://stampo.com. Some crazy images, some awesome people images, but the best sayings...snarky as all hell-I was checking out directions yesterday and saw their site and was happy to see that Stampo's still around...so I grazed a bit through his catalog (note that if you had it mailed to you, it's over 10 lbs or something insane like that!), and found the following saying, which just struck me as soooo funny and so true. It didn't have an author, which is another persnickety thing...going back to the give credit where credit is due!, and I again googled and found the author is Stephen Wright...it's no surprise why it was so profoundly droll and funny. I just wanted to share it with you! Happy Tuesday, R.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ode to Burt & Carolyn-47 years strong!

I hope everyone's been having a good weekend. I actually got some things done and am still working on getting back to better health. Fun, fun, fun laundry and all that other mindbending stuff. I'm teaching the local stamp club at their stampathon this weekend and have to get my act together, but hey!-I've still got 5 days (but I'll probably get it together tomorrow night).

Tomorrow is my Mom and Dad's 47th Wedding Anniversary. I just think that is so awesome. They are one another's best friends. They bicker, tease and work together as a team. We've all had our ups and downs on things, but that's what life is all about. In the end, I just love them as all get out and think they did a pretty damn good job with us (I'm the oldest of 3 sisters). It's hard to get anything for them, so that's when spending the afternoon putting a fun and different card together is so worth it. I thought I'd share it with you!

As I have indicated previously, I've got a bag 'o Bandanna Technique and Wrinkle Free Distress Technique watercolor paper. Luckily I had some blank ones and in digging in this bag of tricks it hit me what to do. I've got a bunch of the word stamps from Magnetic Poetry http://wordsandcrafts.com/. They are so much fun and look great when stamped with Jet Black Archival Ink over Tim Holtz' Wrinkle Free Distress Backgrounds. So stamp, stamp, stamp, cut, cut, cut. Now, glue time!

My glue of choice is Pioneer Photo Album's Glue Stick; all I can say is that-IT WORKS! My other favorite, favorite, favorite tool is QuicKutz' QuickStik(tm) http://quickutz.com/. I think I've used this thing for everything BUT what they sell it for-it's great to pick up pieces of paper and to run then across the glue stick, which is what I show in the following picture. It is the BOMB for picking up flat back Swarovski(r) Crystals http://swarovski.com/. The trick is that on the opposite side of where the "sticky" stuff is that there is a plastic wedge type end and a "pokey-outey" end that you use instead of your fingers to push what you picked up down. When I was at Bead & Button this year I went on and on about it to the beaders and bead stores. (I absolutely love figuring out things from one "part" of the industry to use for another!)

So I had a lot of fun putting the words down; some with specific meaning, such as their wedding date, family total (3 daughters, 2 granddaughters, 1 grandson) and just other cool words that are (or sometimes aren't) fitting.

I glued all of these down on folded Black Linen Cardstock, justified right. To the left I placed a piece of watercolor paper that I had created previously using Mini Misters(tm) filled with water, Perfect Pearls(tm) and Distress Ink(tm) reinkers and sprayed over Heidi Swapp's Mini Heart Masks http://heidiswapp.com. As always, the inky stuff is all Ranger http://rangerink.com! It creates a subtle, but sparkly effect.

My parent's picture had been previously scanned and I sized and printed it out on my Epson printer, cut out and added the extra "47 Great Years", but outlined these words with a white, opaque pen so it would pop. Needless to say, when Brian and I dropped by with the card and their "gift" certificates for Vesuvios (best pizza EVER!), they loved it and Mom is going to bring it to the beach to show their "wedding" days. Here's the finished product. Simple, whimsical, but most importantly, meaningful. That's what counts! Love you, Mom & Dad!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Technique of the Week #3

Well, I'm pretty much back on track and want to get some more techniques out there. These are some of my most favorite that I love to use in a lot of my work. Enjoy and try 'em!

Distress Bandanna Technique: I absolutely, absolutely love this technique. What I love about this is that this started with Tim Holtz'(tm) http://timholtz.com Wrinkle Free Distress Technique. This is what my take on it is. My rule is, and I stress this when I teach, is to give credit where credit is due. If you take it from there, give yourself credit piggybacked onto what someone else came up with. Thus, here it is. I like to use watercolor paper; refer to my Technique of the Week (TOTW #2) for the paper I love! On the Non-Stick Craft Sheet (Ranger of course http://rangerink.com), "smoosh" various colors of Distress Ink(tm) Dye Stamp Pads next to, but not on top of one another. I most likely used the following colors in this sample: Scattered Straw, Spiced Marmalade, Broken China, Shabby Shutters and Worn Lipstick. Generously spritz with water...I cannot stress this enough-if you don't use enough water, you'll just create blocks-not so hot! Press the paper down and "squeegee" your hand across the paper-don't move the paper, otherwise you will just muddy it up! Turn over and immediately dry with Heatit(tm) Craft Tool. You want to "freeze" the colors in place. When dry, start "hitting" or "tapping" the paper on the remaining ink and dry again. See the cool splotches of color? When you get the to the desired look, STOP! Ink image with Pitch Black Adirondack(r) Acrylic Paint Dabber stamp and speed drying with the Craft Tool. Option: make a paint of Perfect Pearls(tm) Perfect Pearl color and splatter pearly highlights on the paper...it really pops!

Now the fun part....get a nice, white, opaque pen and have fun doodling! Add dots, fill in areas, jot lines, highlights...have fun. I have a whole zippered bag of papers I've made, stamped and doodled that I then use for my jewelry or other projects...it's fun to have a bunch made up and just doodle when traveling. Can you tell I absolutely LOVE this technique!?!?

Painted Perfect Pearls(tm): Another of my favorites. It's sooooo simple and so elegant! This also works with any type of image-surprise yourself. Simply emboss the image with Clear Perfect Medium(tm) Stamp Pad and Clear Embossing Powder and the Craft Tool. Okay...here's my most favorite non-Ranger product...Yasutomo's Niji Waterbrush http://yasutomo.com. It is the best by far! You have such control using it-I use either the small or medium nib. Just fill it with water and make sure the nib is damp. Just dip the nib into the chosen color of Perfect Pearls and mix onto the Non-Stick Craft Sheet. You now have paint-because of the binders mixed into the Perfect Pearls, when it's dry, it is still set. You can create wonderful shades of color by mixing it with like colors (Forever Red-Blush-Interference Red) and to lighten up any color, mix with Perfect Pearl. Have fun painting! I like to emboss a bunch of images and just paint. When you need to use something for a card or other project, you've already spend the time painting, so now you are ready to go! To "fill" in the blank area, splatter with a paint of Perfect Pearl or other chosen color. I ideally like to use Black Linen cardstock-it is great for painting or dusting with Perfect Pearls!

Watercolor with Adirondack(r) Dye Stamp Pads: This is a fun contrast of using the same type of techniques as noted above with Perfect Pearls, but with dye ink! Stamp and emboss the image with Clear Perfect Medium and Clear Embossing Ink or stamp with Jet Black Archival(tm) Stamp Pad. To create your paint palette, there's two different options. You can either push the top of the closed stamp pad lid into the ink pad. when you lift it off, there is ink there-just dip the Waterbrush in and paint! Or, just hit a corner of the ink pad onto the Non-Stick Craft Sheet. Whatever works for you! I ideally like to use the Brights and Earthtones for painting, but with certain images, I use Lights-especially for skin tone-I will use a combo of Shell Pink and Sandal...but that's for another day! Again, I finish up with the splotching, using the colors used when painting the image.

This is the simplest of images, but is so wonderfully versatile with the many different ways that a stamp can be used. Don't limit yourself. Try something you wouldn't "think" would work-you may surprise yourself.

For those that have been sticking to my blog-thanks. I'm learning a lot-have had some wonderful help from my friend Margot Potter (Thanks Miss Margot!) and have been enjoying the fun of sharing!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Onward and Upward...and Oliver

What a week it's been. I still can't kick this cold, but I am starting to feel the upswing toward better health. I will probably go to work tomorrow, but I just didn't have the energy to do so today. I also don't want to make people in my quarters sick. Better safe than sorry. Lots of sleep, lots of water, lots of sleep.

I've had Oliver keeping me company. He's my youngest of my cats-he's about 3 years old and my loving nickname for him is Shithead. He doesn't have 9 lives, but about 42 of them. He was from a litter of cats that were rescued from docks in NYC; I think that's why he loves water. Brian thinks he's part dog, and I tend to agree. This is a picture of him the day I got him. Debbie in my office took it; he's hiding in a basket with my stuffed Hawaiian kitty. The sweetest thing, with his blue eyes and awesome markings. it looks like he's wearing brown lipstick.
He is such a climber. Somehow he ended up a few times on the top of the shower railing in the bathroom. Many a time I've found him on the book shelf when you walk in the house, having climbed up my great-grandmother's desk (with scratch marks as proof), or on the cornice in my bedroom. That was okay when he was younger, but when he topped 12 lbs, all I would do is picture him bringing the cornice down onto the glass top desk with my computer, printer, nearby TV...you get the picture, it's not a pretty one.
The other reason I think he's got the extra lives in him is that a few months ago he somehow got one of my large Big Eye Needles stuck in his cheek and neck. The vet said he'd never seen anything like it in the 18 years he'd practiced. The long and short of it is that they couldn't find it during surgery, so now he's got stories to tell all the other girl cats about his war wounds, which you'd never know he has now. He's unbelievable.

But he makes things a lot better with Pearl not being around. He can make a maze of yarn in no time flat and will do whatever he can to get me to pet him, such as burrowing his nose into my hand until I give in and give him some lovin'. While it has been the pits to be home and sick and to deal with the loss of Pearl, it's been nice to have the unconditional love of this crazy furball. Minnie just sits in her little bed on the chair and watches and sleeps from the sidelines.

His eyes have changed to a beautiful gold, but he's still got that brown lipstick-y mouth and his chirpy meow; maybe there's some bird in him, in addition to the dog? Well, he's still my Shithead...er, I mean Oliver, the Wonder Cat.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Queen Pearl, I Will Miss You...

Well, tonight it happened. I had a feeling that Pearl wasn't going to be much longer, and in fact, the signs were there...she didn't eat her treat and was under the desk. I just checked on her a while ago and found she was gone. I know she's just a cat and she had a good life, but this is the longest I've ever had a pet. 13 1/2 years! It just makes me miss my grandfather, as they were such buds and I still picture him walking around the yard with her on his arm. Good memories, that's what counts.

This is an ATC that I made this past year which had to do with crowns, and she was definitely the queen and will rule the Land of Kitty Cats. Meowing at them that she wants her food now, nosing in on the pasta and ice cream and showing she's the boss.

I've been dealing with a cold so at the moment I'm more congested then ever! Tomorrow (well, now, today) I will heal my body and my soul.

Good Pearly Thoughts to You All,


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Margotastic Saturday!

Saturday was such a fun day! I had the privilege to be part of Margot Potter's fan club by helping her and her family, Drew and Avalon at the new A.C. Moore in Manahawkin, NJ. She had a fun little jewelry making MITI and book signing. It was such a blast to watch customers come in and one of us saying hello and saying, "would you like to make something for free?" We were laughing at how people kind of freak out when you say hello to them and they almost immediately say no, but then when they realize thy're not being asked to perform brain surgery, they become interested. One woman said she did not make jewelry, but by the end of putting together the fun little fob of crystals and charms, she ended up buying two of Margot's books. That's what I call a success-making someone feel empowered to do something that they didn't expect they could do. I think that's why I am on the top of Miss Margot's fan club-and makes me empowered to keep pushing to the next level of getting myself "out there!" We then enjoyed a fun lunch on LBI and then home again.
This is one of my most favorite times of the year, except for allergies...I woke up all puffy and ooky....ick! Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow...wishful thinking!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Technique of the Week #2

I was playing one day with a stamp that really hit me when I was teaching at a store. It's from Art Impressions http://artimpressions.com/ (Roses in Vase K-2591). I thought it would be fun to see how many different techniques I could create with this stamp-it is a fun exercise to think "out of the box"!
One of the things I love to push when I teach or when I demo is to not look at a product for what is initially shown it can do. Many times when I'm working with Tim's products (such as the Distress line), I try to show the "girlie Distress" look. Same when I work with Adirondack(r) Alcohol Inks or with Perfect Pearls(tm). It's fun to just play one day with ONE stamp to see how many different techniques or....one TECHNIQUE with as many different stamps that you have. I like to cut up my paper ahead of time into postcard sizes. I can then have fun with that piece of paper without worrying about size, etc. and then I can cut and layer it later for a card or other aspects of a project. Have fun with the technique and not worry about the "finished" piece (if you're under a deadline, this does not apply!)

I'm going to show a few of the samples with this stamp and over the next few weeks give other examples of techniques. For you stampers out there...try this! I'd love to see what you come up with...

"3-D" Stamping: This is a VERY simple and effective example of what can be created with monochromatic tones. This is using the Adirondack(r) Dye Lights, Brights and Earthtones Stamp Pads in one of the new color "trios": Salmon/Mountain Rose/Red Pepper. This works great with a stamp like this that is cut close to the edge of the design. I used Starwhite Vicksburg cardstock, http://foxriverpaper.com which is nice and smooth and not too absorbent. I love it for stamping. Stamp the image again and "hunker down" so you can see where the rubber is near the paper and ready to stamp. line up the rubber as close as you can to the first stamped image. It's okay if it doesn't stamp directly on register-in fact you don't want it to! Repeat again with the darkest color. It's as simple as that. It's fun to do this technique with a sentiment to create the funky, 3-D effect! You can repeat this technique for an Andy Warhol-type effect, creating a fun look for a card or scrapbook page.

Distress(tm) Tinted Image: While most only think to use this
idea for photos, as Tim has taught it, don't forget to try it with a stamped image! Be sure to stamp the image onto Inkssentials(tm) Gloss Paper with Archival(tm) Jet Black Stamp Pad. This is a dye ink with a formulation that when the ink is dry, it is waterproof. This is key so that the black ink will not rewet when other inks are layered over it. Use the Cut n' Dry(tm) Nibs (if I've not said this before, these are all Ranger Industries' products I'm talking about! http://rangerink.com) to "color" in the image. I believe Tattered Rose and Worn Lipstick Distress was used for the roses, with Shabby Shutters and Peeled Paint for the foliage and Broken China and Faded Jeans for the water. The key is that when done with the coloring in (images like this are like using a coloring book for adults!) to use the Cut n' Dry(tm) Foam or the new Inkssentials(tm) Ink Blending Tool and Foam to cover the entire image with Antique Linen Distress, then edging lightly with Vintage Photo. It makes for a subtle effect that is great for any cardmaking or paper crafting project.

Finally, Tim Holtz' Brushless Watercolor, which is one of my all-time favorites. "Color" the stamp with corners of either the Earthtone or Brights tones of dye pads (The lights are just too pale for this). Don't worry if ink doesn't hit the entire image-water will take care of that. After getting the entire image inked, use the Inkssentials(tm) Mini Mister(tm) to mist the image, positioned level into your hand 2-4 times. Immediately stamp on Watercolor Paper. I like Strathmore's 300 lb Cold Press paper. It's not too bumpy and you don't lose the detail of the stamped image in the texture. It's also heavy enough to handle water. Immediately after stamping, dry the image with the Heatit(tm) Craft Tool. This is also important to do so that you "freeze" the variations of ink and not allow it to soak in and more or less allow the colors to level out. My little added color is to pick up some inks and mix on the Non-Stick Craft Sheet and splotch them onto the image. This just gives the paper enough background so it doesn't appear to be floating into the sky.

Word of the day: splotch (splŏch) n. An irregularly shaped spot, stain, or colored or discolored area. What a great word...can't go wrong with it!

Well, everyone have a great day.

Inky Hugs,


Monday, September 10, 2007

This is Robin on Her Computer...

Computers are a savior and are the bane of my existence. I wish I had one when I was in college! I remember the craziness of having to write papers with footnotes on a typewriter...even the ones with "memory"...not like the beauty of a Word Document.

This is an emblem for a shirt from a company called Computer Gear http://computergear.com. I've purchased a few shirts for Brian with appropriate verbiage: "No, I will not fix your computer." or "Insufficient Memory Installed." I will be the first to say that while I can type like a wild woman, I am definitely not savvy when it comes to computers. That's where Brian is a computer "God", as he has probably taught me the most regarding my computer and what to do and not to do. He explains things in "human" terms. But that's my home computer. My work computer, well that's another thing. All of a sudden my Microsoft Outlook wasn't working correctly. I rely on a lot of my filed emails for so many things-when I don't have access, UGH! It's almost back to working order now due to our computer tech's work on it this weekend (Thanks, Scott!), abut he has to come back to do more.

I'm a pack rat-I admit it. At home, my office and on my computer. Brian says read it and delete it! I can't do that! Maybe it's lawyer-make-sure-there-is-a-paper-trail in me, or the "CYA" mentality...either way, I needed to clean out my old emails, which I did...I purged, and it did feel good! If I need something, I can always rely on someone else's pack rat mentality...

On the crochet front, I'm almost through my second skein of yarn and realize that I need more. Luckily the stores near me have it (I wiped out Wal-mart of the 3 skeins they had!) and I can get my back-up yarn later this week. It has moved up from snake to scarf; it will soon turn into a "throw" and behold, will soon actually look like a blanket. I crocheted my little heart out Saturday and Sunday nights, watching the Blue Planet series of shows on the "Deep Sea"...unbelievable footage! It's funny when sitting in bed, pillows abounding me to allow me to sit up, how I slowly end up almost supine, suddenly thinking, "How'd I end up like this?", having to readjust again. I'm sure NO ONE knows what I'm talking about! (yeah, right)

Crochetingly yours,


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pearly Update

This is a sweet picture from 2002 of my grandfather and Pearl, napping together. They were definitely buds. I'm trying to look for the picture of them sharing ice cream, but for the life of me I can't locate it for the moment. I took Pearl to the vet today and although she's still not gaining much weight, he thought she was doing really well and I refilled the thyroid prescription and he gave me an antibiotic. Like I said the other day, she's got a few more lives left in her. He didn't know how long she had, but she was doing well despite the prognosis!

While I was there I could hear this meowing; there was a beautiful gray striped and white tabby named Scooby. He was so friendly-according to the vet, a family just abandoned him at their office and he was looking for a home. People can be so awful. Although I get crazed at times as to the cost of animal care, I just love those "ani-mules" so much, the periodic cost- that's part of the responsibility.

It's so nice to be around home for another weekend. I'm almost lost to figure out what to do first! Just to make my life even more crazy, I've decided that I want to learn to crochet. It's amazing what's on the internet by way of teaching tools. I went to my parent's this afternoon and my mom taught me a stitch that I think I'll actually be able to do to make a baby afghan for my friend Danielle's baby-to-be! There's so much I want to learn and do...I think this will be my "before I go to sleep" project!

Enjoy the weekend!


Friday, September 7, 2007

Why Isn't There a Switch?

There really should be a switch. It's almost 2:00 a.m. and my mind will not stop. Sometimes it's in a good way, with never-ending ideas, but other times, it is in a BAD way-the things you can talk yourself into. How is it that our mind screws with us? Hey, isn't it supposed to work "with" you? How does an itch on my leg become my questioning my career path? How the hell does that happen?

It's also that damn caffeine. Brian and I make our daily trek for "linner" or "dunch"...that's what I call when we meet up between 4:30 and 5:30. We've both usually not had lunch yet-I'd continue to work as does he, so we have our one proper meal. They have the best darned iced tea-fresh brewed, 3 lemon wedges and 3 Sweet n' Lows. They got to the point that that give us a pitcher. I always, always think, "hey, it's early enough, I'll be okay by the time I go to bed." Now it's freaking 2:00 a.m., I've already watched the new "Mad Men" show and all that's left on my DVR are shows of "Psych" I've not felt like watching yet.

And then it goes...clean the home, what to do with the cat, what to do with my weight, what to do with my job, what to do with my creativity, what to do with my future, what to do with my runaway train of a brain (hey, I can even rhyme at this time of day!?). I went to my favorite, Google(tm), and googled "Runaway Train" and came up with the lyrics to Soul Asylum's song by the same name. I really don't watch videos anymore-but I looked on YouTube and remembered what this song was about-missing kids. Some of the lyrics at this time of the morning are prophetic: "So tired that I couldn't even sleep/...Runaway train never going back/Wrong way on a one way track/Seems like I should be getting somewhere/Somehow I'm neither here nor there..."

Well, watching that video, that does shake me back to reality. That's a serious issue-I just had a stupid itch on my leg! In the end, I know that I'm not missing, I'm not lost (possibly waylaid a bit from time to time), but just need to step back, put something soothing on the tv with the timer and just RELAX and put my mind on the same sleep timer...and hopefully it will switch off, and get ready for another day! Maybe I can replace the switch with a dimmer....

Pleasant Dreams to All,


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Pearly Girl

It was May 1994; 7 months since I moved back "home" from being married. I had moved in with my grandfather and was missing my dog that I had to leave with my ex. My sister, who had a cat, said "get a cat." It's less maintenance. Pop won't mind...in fact, he liked cats. My mom went with me to the Monmouth County SPCA and I was walking down the first aisle of cages, and a head popped out from a plethora of furballs...and I saw this chin. And this nose. Staring right at me. My mom said to keep looking, but no....I needed to see this one. And she was a girl and I wanted a girl kitty. She crawled all over me-up my arm, my neck and down the other arm. I was hooked! I brought her to the vet, they said she was in good shape and then home. It took a few days to name her. Pop wanted to name her "Blackie", but for reasons I will not repeat, I said to keep thinking. He then said she had a line of white fur along her neck like a string of pearls....so there she was named: Pearl.

Pain in the ass, cute as can be, verbal to the nth degree, escapee, mouse catcher (2 field mice in 2 days...another story for another day)...the Pearly Girl. Then came along Minnie (Minnie...Pearl...get it?) It was only 3 years ago that Oliver came along. But, Pearl was my favorite-she was also Pop's. He taught her about outside, pasta, sharing ice cream and the cellar.

Pop's been gone going on 3 years; Pearl's moved with me back to Pop's house (which I now own) and she runs the show. Meowing on cue in the phone, especially when she's hungry, dealing with Oliver when he was a kitten. Getting older, becoming the barfy cat...especially on my work chair...ugh!

Well, I'm now dealing with my 13-1/2 year old Pearl coming to the end of her road. The vet said she's got a tumor and that it will just be a matter of time. She's been sneezing and having a runny nose of late, but she is still eating like a little pig and meowing at me as much as ever, although not able to jump up onto things...She still has that awesome nose and chin-the picture above was taken yesterday-even at 4 lb, 6 oz., she is still my Pearly Girl-my solace is that I know Pop will have company soon and he can walk her outside and let her run around all she wants, and they can both share as much ice cream as they want. Here's Pearl in 2002:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Technique of the Week

I'm going to try and offer some information as often as I can. At the moment I'm not buried with work-my plan is to keep this thing blogging along. One of my most favorite new things is the Tim Holtz(tm) Distress Crackle Paint. I know that it's not out there yet, but it will be soon enough. As I usually do, I started with painting a few colors, then a few more...I then realized that there are 24 colors of paint and 26 letters to the alphabet. Alas, the Alphabet Exemplar was born.

Some of the things I've learned so far when working with the Crackle Paint:

1. Don't go too thick with the paint when working on paper. I'm too impatient and like it when the cracks are more evenly distributed than when I get the gloppier ones when I go too thick.

2. This alphabet was painted on Desert Storm cardstock, from Neenah Papers. You don't want to go too thin with the paper as I think it will overtake and warp the paper too much.

3. Be patient. Allow the paint to dry by itself. Put it far away so you're not staring at it, waiting for it to crackle...the "watched pot never boils" thought process is key here.4. To allow the paint to pop more, you can use blending foam and the matching ink over it and then dry it with the Craft Tool.

5. I absolutely love to stamp over the Crackle Paint with the Adirondack(r) Paint Dabbers, then using a white, opaque pen. It's amazing how detailed an image you get and it really pops. The letters on the exemplar are actually from American Crafts, and they transferred flawlessly! http://americancrafts.com/

6. Don't go crazy with too many colors. If you do add some additional color, let the first color start to dry first before adding the other so as to not contaminate the brush.

I'm still playing with this paint and will work toward some home decor type items, but one thing at a time!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Remember the First Days of School?

Well, so far, so good! Thanks for the encouragement. I know that it's the crazy time of year for those with kids. Since I don't have kidlets, I just feel the pain for you and then go home (only teasing). I just remember how the littlest thing was the be all and end all of the universe. My poor Mom-the calls to her, devastated that I left home: my lunch, or lunch money, or homework, or (OMG!) my gym suit. Those of you who know what a gym suit is, welcome to my world-the closest thing in the latter 20th Century to wearing bloomers, I swear!
As a "grown-up", I would kill for those worries and not the ones I live with now...what bills to pay? Can I get this done? What do I do with my life? Hell, I'd wear those bloomers for those days again (although with my 5th grade figure please).
To all of those with kids (1) in school; (2) getting ready for school, (3) all or none of the above, enjoy the moment!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Labor Day...laboring with this blog thing

Welcome, welcome! I've had so many people ask me if I had a blog, would I start a blog and if not, why not? Well, with the urging of many, most specifically the marvelous Margot Potter, "self-proclaimed Bead Queen of the Universe(tm)" http://margotpotter.com/ and Jen Starr, Inky Scrapbooker Extraordinaire, http://jenstarrdesigns.com/ here I go!

I've enjoyed the weekend so far by having fun working on some of my projects. There's been lots of things going on; it never seems to end, but there was time to create. I was just at Beadfest in PA and purchased some new beads from the wonderfully talented Joan Miller http://joanmiller.com/; I was determined to get some new knotted necklaces done, and here it is.

I've also been creating some new soldered pieces. There's a new solder that I'm really having fun working with. A designer of some awesome pieces told me what she was using, assuring me I would have better success, and I have. It seemed odd that I had to order it from CA to get solder that comes from NJ! Go figure. It's called DGS Lead-Free Solder from Canfield.
Enjoy your day off on Monday. I know I will. It goes so quickly, but we're coming upon my second favorite time of year...autumn, first in line is spring...
Inky Hugs,