November 30, 2006

good news, bad news

  • good news: I sold two Christmas ornaments thru my etsy site!
  • good news: I joined a small group of vintage/heirloom type crafters to "band together" for marketing ideas, advertising each others' shops, that sort of thing.
  • bad news: I don't have very much inventory right now to put in my shop for exposure! (I should be working on personal Christmas cards, and other things, not shop inventory)
  • bad news: I haven't sold anything since then! (okay, it was only last week, but still...)
  • bad/good news: I picked up Phoebe's ashes from the vet yesterday... now to find an urn to keep them in.
  • good/bad news: they made a small cast of her pawprints to go with them! I was so touched!! The vet's office also sent a sympathy card, that the entire staff signed, with a copy of The Rainbow Bridge poem included- how thoughtful!!
  • good news: a couple nights ago was the latest in the year that it's fallen below 50 F for a nighttime low.
  • bad news: last night, it got down to 33 F here, only in the 50s for a high temp today, and it's supposed to do it again tonight!
  • more bad news: the furnace didn't work when I turned it on! and, to top it off, no one from the heating place called me back today- the builder's Customer Service office is working on it (I should have called them first, I guess...), but they'll have to see what they can do, working with my schedule. I don't understand why they're surprised that people can't be home during the day!!! I leave for work at 5:15 am, and get home at around 3:30 pm... it's not too bad in here, probably around 65 F, but I'm glad I have a down comforter and flannel pajamas, that's for sure!
  • good news: tomorrow's Friday!!!

Well, I'm off to check out the dinner options- maybe I'll cook a pizza, so I can turn the oven on! (unfortunately, I don't think that will help too much, as open a space as the kitchen/family room is!)

edited: just wanted to say the time Blogger lists for this post is an hour earlier than the actual time I posted this... don't know why, but don't really want to look into it right now.

November 29, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The Thanksgiving holiday only lasted till Sunday afternoon at our house- lol!! We decided to get out the Christmas decorations, the Christmas music, and got to work. I'm glad we did; we're going to be gone for about a week at Christmas, so this gives us more time to enjoy them. Turns out that Tom will be doing some intensive traveling for the next couple weeks (he left this morning for Texas and will be back next Wednesday), so I'm glad we did it before he left. The camera is on fumes of battery power, and won't re-charge for some reason (it's annoying, too- it's only 5 years old, but it's already practically obsolete), but Tom did manage to take some pictures with it. This also gives you a bit of an idea of what it looks like inside our house!
The pic above is standing at the kitchen island looking towards the family room area. We aren't putting up a full-size tree this year- next year we'll have one (it will be in the Living Room, hopefully next to my piano!) Instead of a large tree, I've always hung ornaments on garland (this is practically cat-proof), so that's what we did again this year.
This pic is standing at the island, looking into the kitchen. I was going to crop out the messy corner of the island, but that would be cheating, a bit, and you wouldn't get an idea of what the room actually looks like. My Santa and snowman collection (the bigger ones, anyway) fit pretty nicely above the cabinets! Grandma's springerle rolling pin hangs above the window over the sink, just like it did in her house.

This table is in the small hallway outside our bedroom. It's a mixture of things from both our collections- Tom's spun glass snow, my bottle brush trees, etc. I've accumulated most of my decorations from antique shops, flea markets, or thrift stores (except for a few special ones from Grandma's collection, or gifts), and most of Tom's came from his Grandma. She gave him a Christmas ornament every year while he was growing up- a nice tradition! My goose feather tree (in the family room, across from the couch next to the TV) and Tom's Nativity set- the tree is decorated with some of the smaller, more fragile glass ornaments, and some of Tom's collection. My favorites are the cotton boll (lower right on the tree) and the gold-painted peanuts(near the top), both of which I remember hanging on Grandma's tree every year.

I hope everyone else is getting into the holiday spirit!!!

(by the way, the weather is turning wintry here- it may freeze tonight!)

November 24, 2006

Turkey-day crafting

So, I needed something to do while the duck was roasting... in between basting and turning the duck, that is! I finished up three Christmas ornaments that I dreamed up last week. I love antique Christmas ornaments, and have quite a collection myself- I decided to make some Victorian style scrap ornaments. Finding real antiques like these is rare, and expensive, as they are delicate and weren't made to last for 100+ years!
They weren't difficult to do, just a bit time-consuming... the angels are clip art saved from the Dover website. I cut out the two below... the background above is edged with glitter; the backgrounds below were made with heat-embossed cardstock, to look like stars.

The ruffle was made using regular tissue paper, cut 1 inch wide. I (very carefully) sewed along the edge with a large needle and thread, then (also very carefully!) gathered it into a ruffle, which was glued onto the back side of the cardstock. The ruffle was then covered up with a backing piece of cardstock, and the whole thing was flattened under the unabridged dictionary to dry.

The angels were embellished a bit with metallic pens and glitter, and attached to the ornaments with 3-D foam tape. They are going up for sale in my etsy shop; we'll see if anyone likes them! I also just signed up for Paypal, to make it easier to buy from me... hopefully it's easy to figure out! (and hopefully I'll need to figure it out- LOL!)

November 21, 2006

good mail day yesterday!

Yesterday's mail held more than the usual junk mail and bills!! I had extra ATCs from cards I made recently for swaps, so offered them up for trade on twopeasinabucket. The picture below is what I received in return. The two top cards and the colorful fibers are from Daria... I saw pics of these, but they're all much more beautiful in real life- the postage ATC with the embossed music and the shrink plastic treble clefs is just gorgeous!! The bottom ATC is from Jacque, from her vintage swap- the cute little girl and the bingo card definitely does make me want to smile!!!

Thanks to everyone who left such nice comments here about my latest craft projects!!! They really weren't difficult, just a bit time-consuming, but easy enough to do while sitting in front of the TV. Now, someone just needs to see them in my etsy shop, and want to buy them! I really need to get a Paypal account, I think that might be the ticket to selling relatively inexpensive things that people wouldn't want to use a money order or check on... I also need to make more things to sell... I also need to figure out how to market my etsy shop, since there are thousands of people selling on that site... I also need to figure out how to fit it all in! (Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... :-) )

In other news, fall is certainly taking its time in getting here- yesterday it was 89F (>30 C, for you metric folks) degrees, a record high for this date! It's supposed to be in the low/mid 70s (about 22-25 C) for high temps! I don't want freezing weather, or anything, but temperate weather would be nice!! Last year was like this too; I remember going to Thanksgiving dinner wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Cold weather will definitely be a shock when we get back to Illinois at Christmas, I'm sure! (Mom, will you turn the heat up to about 82, to get the house nice and toasty for us?? just checking!)

Fall in Illinois meant raking leaves; fall in AZ means picking up rocks! At least for me, anyway... we got a load of rocks ages ago to spread along the sides of the house, and had some left over. They sat in the road, because there's lots of small gravel mixed in, which we didn't want, and we really didn't know what to do with it. Now, I'm working on cleaning it up, since we got a letter about it from the Homeowner's Association. I'm sorting it, by hand, and the larger rocks are going in the backyard in a pile, to await further landscaping instructions... I know why this kind of stuff is called "back-breaking" work, that's for sure!!!

Tomorrow afternoon and evening I am going to start in on the Thanksgiving meal. I'm being pretty ambitious, which may backfire on me... (Mom, are you sitting down befire you read any farther? just checking!) I'm going to make cranberry sauce (Gram's recipe, and it will be served in a cut-glass bowl, just like it should be), rolls (from a mix, but still...), and wait- a pumpkin pie (with pre-made crust, but still...). Then, I need to bake the sweet potatoes to have them ready. That way, on Thursday, I only need to make up the relish tray (including my favorite green onions and cheddar cheese), mix up the sweet potato casserole, and roast the duck. So, we'll either be eating like royalty, or we'll be hitting the local Domino's for take-out pizza!!!

I have a doggie who needs the ball thrown to her a little, I think, so I should end this (more like a million times, if she had her way)... Everyone enjoy your long weekend, if you're having one!!!

November 19, 2006

today's craftiness

So here's what I've been working on; I put them for sale in my etsy shop- I've neglected it over the past few months, and hope to get it going again. (check out the link in the sidebar- don't just stop at my shop, keep searching- etsy has really amazing things for sale!!!)
This wreath ornament is totally made from paper- a thin paper ring for the foundation, then glued fern frond to it, punched from three different green papers. I added brown punched branches with red glitter berries, and a thin cream ribbon hanger. It ended up being about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, and is light as a feather.

These were a bit of work, but turned out quite cute, if I do say so myself. I made a set of 6 placecards... got the placecard idea from a recent issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine. The snowman is two circle punches glued together, his hat is from a square punch with a brim added (and a glittery hatband!), I handcut branches for arms, and gave each one a festive fiber scarf. The finished card is tent-folded, and is 4 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches tall, with a light blue rectangle added for writing the name in.

Here are three of the six; not the best picture- unfortunately we still haven't gotten the digital camera fixed, so I had to use the scanner. The card is dark blue cardstock, with white heat-embossed snowflakes.


A recent portrait of Phoebe, who left us much too soon.

Sunday evening update

Well, the weekend is almost over. Tom is on his way to New York by way of Nashville and Chicago (from Phoenix to Nashville, change planes, from Nashville to Chicago, from Chicago to New York). Doesn't make much sense, but those were only the flights available, I guess. He called from Nashville, and said the airport was crowded. He flies home Wednesday evening (yes, the busiest travel day of the year), and will be in for more of a shock then, I think.

Yesterday was horrible!!! Taking Phoebe to the vet for the last time was the hardest thing that I have ever done, no question about it... even though I know it was the best thing for her, and I didn't want to see her suffer through wasting away, not eating or drinking, and the cancer was terminal, it was still hard to let her go. Tom also had a hard time with it, even though he's only known the cats for as long as he's known me... he couldn't stay in the room, but I had to- I couldn't just leave her with the vet. Enough said- I can't think about it any more right now, or I'll fall apart again. We're having her cremated, will keep her ashes safe, and eventually she and Cleo can be together again (hopefully sometime far in the future!). I think that Sedona is a bit lost, too, actually- she enjoyed playing with Phoebe (in a rather clumsy way, to a cat's way of thinking), and Cleo wants nothing to do with her. We may eventually get a younger cat from a shelter, so Sedona can have a playmate again.

So, I am filling my day with some crafting. I should be working on Christmas cards, but I have re-visited my etsy shop (, re-activated some expired listings, and actually added some new items. Pics and details to follow in another post.

November 15, 2006

still here...

yes, we're still here... I'm amazed to realize that Thanksgiving is next week, Christmas is only a few weeks away, and we've actually been in Arizona for just over a year! Lots has been going on the last week or so; it seems like so much longer than that since I've posted... unfortunately, what's been going on hasn't been good- I can't really write the details about it now, it's too hard... nothing's wrong with Tom or me, we're fine, but Phoebe is sick. Phoebe is one of my 12 1/2 year old tabby cats. I've had them (Phoebe and her sister, Cleo) since they were 6 weeks old, they've always been together, and it looks like soon Cleo is going to have to learn to get along by herself. I know it's a fact of life, but it's still hard to face when the time comes... I never thought about it, other than to figure it would be a few years off yet. Anyway, I haven't been too creative lately, between work and regular life stuff... who knew as a kid that adult life would take so much time, and not always be easy??? Remember when you were little, and you only wanted to be older, so you could be in charge? It looked so good from a kid's vantage point! It's not as easy as it seemed, after all...

November 05, 2006

a wonderful evening was had by all

On Thursday, Tom and I spent the evening at the Mesa Performing Arts Center. We spent a lovely evening attending dinner and a music performance: a pre-performance Cajun dinner of gumbo, blackened catfish, and jambalaya on the Contemporary Arts Sculpture garden terrace, then an amazing performance by the Wynton Marsalis quintet. What an experience!!! We felt like we were "those artsy-fartsy people" for a few hours- you know, those people you see at an art gallery, or wherever, and you think "they must be so cultured and sophisticated." I happened to see an advertisement for it in the paper, and we jumped on it... The Mesa Performing Arts Center opened last year, and has many spaces for performances, along with a Contemporary Arts gallery and arts studios.

And, we both love Wynton Marsalis... Like Tom said on the way home, "he can do things with a horn that you just don't think are possible." The music was amazing. The musicians he played with were all relatively young; he makes a point of finding younger musicians and giving them venues and opportunities for furthering their careers. After Wynton, we were both most impressed with the drummer. At one point, that drummer was doing four completely different things: using his feet to control the high hat cymbal and base drum, and using his hands on the cow bell and snare drum... I know I could never do four things at once!!!

It's been nice to have Tom home for a longer stretch of time... he's been home all week (got home late Monday night) after spending four straight weeks on the road, with only weekends off to rest/recover. He took a few days off, so will go into the office again tomorrow to find out what's on the schedule next as far as work and traveling. He's spent some time relaxing, and building us a new computer to run the updated version of Flight Simulator. He wanted to buy the components and build it himself "it will be fun!" I don't understand how that could be fun, but that's the difference between us... LOL! It runs fine- much faster (and other improvements that I don't understand, too, I'm sure). Now we just have to make sure we have all the important files off the old computer.

November 04, 2006

Fall Fiesta Fun!!

Yesterday, after a leisurely morning, I headed to the rubber stamp show in Mesa, AZ. It was pretty crowded when I got there; I couldn't even get into some of the booths! I was looking for a few specific things- a Christmas card sentiment, a couple smaller size acrylic blocks, and I'm always on the lookout for new techniques.
Above are the stamps I bought (all unmounted). The corner flower stamp was bought to go with the hummingbird; not sure if it will work or not, but I'll keep my eye out for more flowers. Now I just have to get a close look at our hummingbirds to see how exactly to color them! I saw tons more that I could have gotten, but I managed to restrain myself pretty well, I think.
The picture below is of the one technique that really caught my eye; it is "encaustic wax painting" and was being demonstrated at the After Midnight Art Stamps booth. Their website has a few more examples... the paint is "suspended" (? I don't know if that's the right word) in wax. The artist (Cory Celaya) used a small craft iron, the wax/paint, and glossy cardstock- she melted and blended the colored wax onto the iron, then spread it onto the paper. It's amazing what just a few strokes of the iron and wax can create! The sample below reminds me a lot of the rolling hills and fields in the midwest,with trees in the foreground. She has a studio in Glendale, AZ, which is a NW suburb of Phoenix- she teaches classes on this, and many other techniques. They were selling kits for doing this at their booth, but I held off on spending money on it. I'd rather take a class on this first, to test it out, but in the meantime, I think I'm going to try it out using crayons and my mini craft iron!
The sample above is of different pens; I've been searching for the "best" white pen to use for coloring- some of the 2peas (Godelieve and Sylvie, especially) stampers do amazing things using white pens. The first one I bought was the White Writer, which is on the left... it has more of a "paint" finish, but the ball in the pen leaves a bit of a "line" thru the ink and it doesn't cover very evenly. Yesterday, I stopped at Target on the way home, because someone on 2peas mentioned they found the Signo Uniball pens there- Yup!!! The white uniball is a lot smoother, and a finer point. It came in a set of three, so now I have gold and silver, too. Now, I just need to do some stamping, coloring, and probably will make a big mess with the iron and crayons!!!