Friday, June 26, 2009

Catching Up and a Winner!

June, june, june. How I loathe dump season at the rescue. Just one unwanted animal after another, one excuse after another. We got one yesterday that read more like a kidnapper's threat than a rescue request. To paraphrase, they announced that they were holding a guinea pig in an outdoor cage in the intense heat where she was being attacked by mosquitos. She's too much work and they need to get rid of her right away. It was a mistake to get her (Really? You think?) and she needs to be gone, now.

See what I mean?

Sadly it turns out that they contacted us from several states away so there's little we can do other than refer her to rescues in her area. It kills me to see guinea pigs or rabbits in outdoor cages or hutches. They're prey animals, so being kept in a cage outdoors, with the scent of predators everywhere, with no where to run (in the wild they would have shrubbery, burrows (in the case of rabbits), the ability to run and run and run, but in a cage they're sitting ducks, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor. Not to mention the weather extremes, parasites, ugh!
(I heart robots! And stitching on cards using shimmering thread!)

Let's go on to something happier. Last night was my flower arranging class. This week's theme was "garden style" arrangements, which are intended to look wild, or create a mini woodland scene. So fun! I love dioramas and the like so this was right up my alley. We have to use faux flowers for the class (not something I usually like, but they grow on you (no pun intended)) so I found this sprig of lantern flowers that were kind of spooky looking and went from there. I was really proud--I had no corrections from the teacher this time and not because she wasn't doling them out, either! I added some scrubby looking stuff, some vine (that looked a little too much like, ahem, bully sticks in the package, but worked great once they were cut and arranged), and a tombstone I put together using a photo I took in a Sonoma cemetery and some layers of heavy-duty cardstock. I'm rather pleased with the result.

(Giraffe matchbook mini journal. Cute, huh? I loooove the new "in colors" at Stampin' Up.)

I was also busy this week getting ready for my Stampin' Up catalog preview class. It ended up being a lot of fun (it usually does. I really like my stamping peeps) and I like how the projects turned out.

(Yep, that's them.)

(This one is hard to see, but the elephants have a neat batik look that worked well with the somewhat indianish color scheme and, of course, the fact that it's an elephant! The look is acheived by first inking up a stamp with a large, flat, solid design, using Stampin' Up classic ink. Next, ink your intricate design stamp with a Craft ink of your choice. (I used Expressions silver ink. Just in case you're itching to try these techniques, visit my webstite and click "Shop now" at the top, *or* email me.

(Closeup on the ATC. The birdpuddle is made of super thick embossing powder.)

On to what you've been waiting for...the winner of the poetry prize...


Please email me with your address so I can get your prizes in the mail! (It's at the top of the page). Hooray for you!

For those who didn't win, don't worry! I have more goodies and more contests in mind. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


So at dinner, the littlest kid is playing with his cars quietly, lining them up as if they are in a parking lot. His mother lets us know that this is how you know he is deficating.

Flash to this morning. I'm trying my best to not act like a total crank, sitting in a morning fog, no coffee to galvanize me against the chaos of bouncing, donut-filled chaos. And I hear a distinctive grunting, look over, and yep, he's lining up the cars as the morning is filled with a foul odor.

Reason number something-in-the-thousands why I will never be a mom:

I will never, ever get used to eating dinner while one of my guests takes a crap in the seat across from me.

Everything in my lovely vegan home has been touched with greasy chicken hands.

Or hands that spend the majority of their time holding their wangs through their pants (why?) or scratching their backsides with an enthusiasm rarely seen.

I'm trying to get the kid thing. I really am. It's hard to be a germaphobe and share your home with children, even really sweet ones. And they are. I melt when they speak in a tiny, high pitched tone to my nervous little dog, petting her nose so gently I could cry. I laugh when they go into long, semi-intelligable speeches about orange juice. Still, it's hard. I stand at the ready with bleach and scrubbies when the weekend's over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Swaps Galore

I love swaps. They give me a great excuse to make things when I probably should be doing other things, like work for example, or cleaning the fridge. Why? Because I have a deadline. "Nope, sorry, can't do the laundry. I've got to get these ATC's in the mail pronto! I have a deadline. " You know it's serious. It has the word "dead" in it.
So...I tend to do a fair number of swaps. Fiskateers, to no one's surprise who has read this blog previously, is the board that keeps me most regularly endebted, swap-wise. ATC's and product swaps are by far the most common ones I sign up for. I love the tiny canvas an ATC provides and it's always very cool to see the results of others' creativity, especially when we've all had a theme to think on. And product swaps are basically a nifty excuse to feel good about buying a big bunch of new embellishments because they're not for you. You're so very nice, you're buying them for other people, not spending the money on yourself. And how lovely! A few weeks later all these people send you something nice. Who would have guessed? All the goodies, none of the guilt. Ta-da!

Then there's Club Scrap, with ATC swaps, inchie swaps, birthday swaps, etc. They're fun and they give me lots of ideas for using my monthly kit. And as if that wasn't enough, you can see one of my ATC's in their print newsletter this month. I feel like a rock star! Sure, no one but me noticed, but who cares. I know I'm queen.

The rest of the swaps would fall into the miscellaneous category. There are ones I do with other Stampin' Up demos, mostly for cards and an excuse to pick up a new stamp set. Alpha Stamps has an amazing group of artists on their email list, so I do theirs when I'm feeling up for a challenge and think I might be able to run with the big dogs (even if I'm well aware that I'm just a little yip yip dog at best.) It's worth the huge amount of work and nervousness that everyone will hate what I made when that box comes in the mail with an assortment of incredible treasures by people who make my crafts look like mincemeat.

(Side and front view of the magnet I made for the Alpha Stamps swap. I used alchol ink on a dauber to color the tin green. Incidentally, the alcohol ink ate the glue that held the pad to the dauber, but I felt like it went far enough before expiring.) I glued the black dresden (LOVE dresden. Go to to get yours. So beautiful, so many uses.) with Stampin' Up Crystal Effects which held nicely and I didn't have to worry about any showing.)

(Then I stamped the glass using Stazon, punched a circle from some shiny green dotted paper from the Stamproom kit of the month, used colored wire to attach a shrink plastic eiffel tower (which I made by stamping an image onto shrink plastic w/ Stazon. That stuff is handy!) to a postcard charm I picked up somewhere. Then I poured in some green microbeads, chunky green glitter (both from Stampin' Up), and tiny watch parts into the tin to add movement. All done!)

There are also a few other message boards I check in on now and then that I pick up swaps on from time to time and once in a while, when I'm feeling really brave, I even host a swap. It's harder than it looks. There's a lot of sorting, a lot of reporting back to the other people swapping, and inevitably there will be some bumps along the way. Some people won't like the rules, some may not like being contacted too often while others want up-to-the-minute-late-breaking-news reports, like a manilla alert (vs. amber for kids or grey for seniors). And then there are people like me who for some reason can't hang onto the address to mail everything to, so we always end up asking to have it sent again at least once (sorry to all the hosts I've done this to and will probably do this to again. I really do try to hang onto the info. It's just that digital elves sneak into my email and they delete anything that will cause me particular embarassment to lose. Sigh.)

Back to's midnight and I've got 2 more ATC's do finish before I sleep.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fiskateer Mystery Chat

Check out my Fiskadogateer!
Okay, so he wasn't too fond of the ponytail holders around the ears, but he was willing to humor me for a blueberry dog biscuit.

Last night was the Fiskateer chat with the author of Paper, Scissors, Death, a fun little mystery about a paper crafter with a lot of problems and some really cute dogs, including a Great Dane and a fashionable longhaired chihuahua (I think...I have a distinct picture in my head of this little dog, and though I'm going with chihuahua, it's possible she was a pomeranian.)
Lots of questions were tossed around, and she mentioned that some Archivers stores were having release parties for her new book, Cut Crop and Die with activities (I'd love me some bloody scrappin' make-n-takes.) and costumes. I'd totally want to be the Great Dane. Floppy ears suit me.
I suggested that her next book feature a murder with a pair of orange handled scissors as the weapon. Fiskars could come out with a special commemorative edition pair with red splotches all over the blades. Marketing? Are you listening?
Well, the visiting short people are getting bouncy, so it's probably time to leave the house for a while. So far, we've only had a tube of glass eyeballs dumped on the floor, a sneeze directly in my face, and slimy bare feet shown off, then rubbed on a stack of stamp sets I will be lysol-ing once no one is looking. All in all, that's pretty good. And some of that gets excused by the cuteness of a 2 year old, running around the house yelling "Cheese" while repeatedly flashing himself directly in the eye with the camera turned the wrong way. Aww.
P.S. Don't forget to check out the RAK in the previous post if you haven't already. I've got goodies for someone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back from Savannah, chaos ensues.

(pic: My first me-made flower arrangement ever ever ever!)

It's one of those things that inevitably happens, no matter what kind of mental and physical acrobatics I try to prevent it, the very second the vacation ends, real life comes crushing down, squishing every molecule of oxygen out of my wee little body.

The airport: Due to the world's crappiest handicapped assistance, I missed my flight. 45 minutes between flights should have been plenty, but not for U.S. Air. Instead of the typical routine (guy meets you at the plane, pushes you in wheelchair to gate, gets a nice tip, everyone is happy, takes all of 10 minutes to complete the transaction) they had those glorified golfcarts ("no tips accepted" printed over and over on the sides, dammit! How am I supposed to bribe people under these circumstances?) that are always squealing their way through the corridors. Sure, they *look* like they'd get you there faster than walking, but not after they make everyone switch cars 3-5 times (keep in mind that we're all handicapped and consequently we're slow as molasses getting from car a to car b and for some reason they have to take detailed notes on every passenger after they're settled, apparently doing some sort of detailed algebra judging by how long it took.) I tried to very politely (I've worked in service and retail. I go to great lengths not to be a bitch to people trying to do their jobs.) point out that I only had 2o, then 10, then 5 minutes till my flight left without me flight left without me. Arrgh. At least it gave me time to get a vegan latte on the house, but still. I'm tired, I'm in pain, and I want to go home. Not a good start.

When I did get home, I got a few hours of sleep before Fuz started bleeding. My poor little girl, one of the rat family I adopted a year or two ago, was having a uterine prolapse. I've been up all night for two nights now, first taking her to the emergency vet at midnight, then to her regular vet in the morning (thank you Scott!) then back home (I was up almost all night worried that if I didn't check on her throughout the night, she might prolapse again and suffer for hours before anyone woke up) then back to the vet again this morning. She went into surgery this afternoon, with plans to remove the mass that was pushing everything out. We agreed that if it couldn't be removed, she would not be woken up after surgery. They just called a couple of hours ago and said we can pick her up this evening. Whew! Little Fuz has been through quite the ordeal. She's coming home with pain meds and we're setting up a sick bay cage. I'm sure Kitty and Spider (her aunt and sister, respectively) aren't happy that she's disappeared, especially since Glitter never returned and Twinkle only came back long enough to die. They seem to be hiding in their igloo nearly all the time. It has to be nervewracking to have to wait and wonder. They saw her as she was prolapsing, so they had to know something was up. Still, I always think how they must feel, watching us take her away.

This weekend, my sister in law is coming along with my nephews, 2 and 6, so frantic cleaning has ensued. Kate, my princess of housecleaning and pet sitting generously squeezed me into her incredibly busy schedule, knowing my OCD is on fire. The combination of kids and an imperfect house could send me into a fit of lunacy of the very unfun kind. Mind you, this is also my late father's birthday, falling on Fathers' Day this year for a double whammy, so this weekend is all wrapped up into one big stress burrito. I really want to be a good aunt to my little nephews. It's just so hard to stay calm when they speak in shouts and touch everything in my contamination-free-zone. OCD is not fun, folks. I'm doing my best, but sometimes it's embarassing and makes me feel like a total jerk. I hate hiding from the people I love because they scare me. My nephews are adorable, clever, funny little kids. I know there's nothing to be frightened of, and yet, I'm scared to death.

Let's not end on a mopey note. I got an offer on my 4th book of poetry, Vault from Foothills press and I just got my contributors' copies of the current issue of Open Minds Quarterly, including my poem, "A Bucket of Divinity". Want a copy? Comment below and I'll pick a name one week from today. I'll throw in a little something special for your crafting stash too, just because I'm so darn nice. :)