Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Collage Camp Special Offer....

KC Willis and her Collage Camp! Love it. I bought the DVD, and she has just announced she is having a "special"! You can take Collage Camp for only $75, instead of the usual $95. Not only that you can also buy her classes on DVD, and she is currently offering her three follow up classes for only $35.00! A real bargain.

I love her DVD, K C shares all her knowledge on gathering materials, composition and collage. When you finish you have lovely heirloom pieces to enjoy and share. I have found they have several applications. Don't take my worked for it, just visit her at the Lipstick Ranch, or here at the Camp and check out the slide show to see:


Now run, don't walk to the Camp and take advantage of her generous offer. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't Walk......

Can I just say that this is my "Favorite" Sesame Street song. I loved it when it first aired and stumbled on it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hear, Speak, and See.......

This Christmas was quiet, and while I missed the old, I made the most of the new. Our son John showed up unexpectedly Thursday night, after work. He wanted to spend time with us is what he said. It was good to see him. He did his laundry and we visited, talked about Stephen Kings new book (John and I both love them) and watched Harry Potter. Kim was home from work at 6:00, and visited with us before leaving for her boyfriends. Steph and Pat called and asked us to come over Pat's parents, but I had already showered and reserved Harry Potter so we chose to stay home.
Christmas morning was quiet and we slept in. Kim received a re-built bike from Mike, and they took a ride (yes, in the rain). I made a breakfast for us then Steph and Pat came over and we opened our gifts. There wasn't much to open, but everyone was happy and seemed pleased with what they received. Steve and I though received the best gift of the lot. You see they had all met and had photos taken. Yes even Pat, Stephs fiance joined in (I will post that one later). I think it was great that they did this for us. I also like that they really hammed it up this time and had fun. The photo above is one of my favorites. Let me introduce you: John, hear no evil (he is the bass player in a rock band called "Seasons of Eden" look for their CD, and on the RIF), Then there is Kimberly, our youngest, speak no evil (my hippie, go green, save the planet, peace child), and Stephanie our oldest, see no evil (our own "Dog Whisperer" and animal rights champion).
This is the second time, the last was over five years ago, that they have done this. The first time I cried. You see, my children are like me, I don't like to take pictures. I do not photograph well and frankly I have yet to see any pictures of me I care for. It seems my children feel the same way (except for Kim, who seems to actually like's having her photo taken. She doesn't mind and always looks good in them). Although they always look good in their pictures, we all share an aversion to picture taking. Since I feel this way I have always respected my children's right to just say no.
The fact that they went and spent a day posing, picking out frames and then presenting us with these pictures mean more than words can say.
John and Steph like to wear black, that one in the middle, well not as much (she says she did not get the memo). I like the contrast, and can't help thinking what beautiful people they are, inside and out.
The photographer who took the pictures is a friend of my son's who will be taking Stephs wedding photos. She did a great job.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is Just Different......

No, this isn't my home. Although I have a fireplace, this is very decorated and well. my home isn't. To be honest time is flying by. I do not "feel" the Christmas season. Perhaps it is because the children are older, and wrapped up in their own things. Maybe it is the poor economy and the way everyone has been snapping, impatient, and worried. The thought of losing ones job, home, and all that it entails can be overwhelming. Even more so this time of the year when we expect and want to feel more jovial and giving. It isn't the gift giving I am talking of, although for some thatmay be a factor. For me it has been the gift of time. It is as though we have all become afraid to celebrate, or spend time together just having fun lest we be thought of as spendthrifts and foolish, Yes things are bad, but they have been bad before. The media has pounded in the fact that it is because we, the American public, have not been thrifty enough. we want. we spend. (Yeah, that same media that tells you that you need that big TV, vacation to the Bahamas, and blames the lack of "spending" for the poor economy and the public facing the loss of their jobs and homes) which is not entirely true. Many have saved, but watched Wall Street steal it with Congress's blessing and get bonuses and a bail out to boot. Many pay their bills on time and their mortgages, only to lose money because banks dumped homes and the value of their property drop, and raised their rates. Believe me I have tried to get in the spirit, but it has been tense here. My position is tenuous, my daughter is only working one day a week, and I have a wedding this March to prepare for. There will be no Christmas morning of unwrapping presents here. My eldest will be with her fiances family, my youngest will be with her friend as they leave to spend the day his family. I hope to see my son at Steve's family dinner later Christmas day. It will be quiet, and that's okay. Still I cannot help missing having my family together. It cannot be helped as we know, things change. I will keep hoping things will improve and that the people in our government will stop fiddling with my future and the future of my children. I have stopped watching the news. They show so much despair and need at this time. Charities are feeling it too, after all it is hard to give when you don't know if you will need that extra to live on yourself. It will be quiet here this year, and I will just ride the waves, and hope for better times ahead. I know many have posted cheerful things on their blogs, and that for them it may be better, or perhaps they are just trying, like myself, to maintain some sort of peace or joy in their own way. I don't mean to sound melancholy, but as my friend Terri would say "It is what it is". It's not that I am really sad, but not exactly happy either. It just does not feel like a holiday for lack of a better reason. I am truly grateful for what I do have. It's just been a lot happening lately, as I said things change, and I guess they are just changing too fast for me lately. I suppose I could put on a happy face here speak of all thing merry and bright, but it is not how I feel right now, and I want be able to just say it. I will be fine, It will be okay, it is just...... different, and somedays different isn't easy. I do want to wish all a Happy Holiday, and let's all make a wish for a better New Year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Okay our cell phone contract is now up. We have been loyal AT&T customers since Cingular, almost ten years. Now I am ready for a change. It seems they have become a bit arrogant. As I mention we have been loyal customers for a long time, so when my daughters phone stopped working instead of offering to help they instead wanted to charge us to replace it. Of course that was when we found out the "new" phone we had bought her was actually a rebuild.
My friend has Verizon, her phone broke and they just replaced it, no questions asked, no insurance (did I mention we had been paying insurance on my daughters phone?). My oldest daughter has Verizon, she likes it, despite the fact that she gets poor reception in her home(?). My son had Verizon, he hated them? He has T-Mobile. He loves it.
So I have been doing the research and I have checked many of them out, their plans, customer service, etc. We have had a great offer from Sprint, but they have had a bad rap for service, and quality. I wonder, because I do not know anyone with this service I can ask. My son said he was really not impressed with T-Mobile the first year and had coverage issues, but they have greatly improved in the last couple years. Hmmmm
What do I like about T-Mobile? Well for one, "no contract". Yeah I have to buy my phone, but I do not have to worry about being "stuck" in a plan I hate or cannot afford. Still I worry about reception. I do not want to buy phones then hate it.
Sprint has offered everything we want, it is a two year plan however, still much less money and the texting my daughter wants.....but again I know no one that has Sprint that can tell me if they are happy with their plan.
I have been upset with AT&T. I have had issues with them "adding" things to our bill (they for several months allowed a ring tone company or companies to add charges to our bill. I keep having to call and get the charges off since we never have signed up for anything. We had the text, data plan options blocked since the onset, and that took four calls). They offer nothing really affordable. The problem is I have been with them for a while. At one time I had their service for my home, Internet, and cell. They offered me a great deal to bundle. That lasted one month before they decided they were losing to much money and jacked up the plan price. Instead of the 20% off they promised they lowered it to $3.00 off a month. Needless to say I no longer have them for my home and Internet. Now I need to address my cell bill.
My friend has a "go" phone and she just buys so many minutes each year. She does not use her phone as much as our family does. It might work for me, and maybe my husband, but not for our daughter. I would get a plan just for her but it actually would be more expensive to do that. She is in school full time and working part time. She cannot afford a plan of her own but can pay her part of a family plan. I need to find a solution that will work for all of us.
What I can tell you is that I talked to a Rep from AT&T. I told him that I had up until the last few years been happy with them (not their pricing or adding those charges), but noticed in the last two years we have had several dropped calls and no signal. He said "Well cell phones are constantly upgrading and your phones are old and out of date."
I thought about this, then I said to him "Really? Because we resigned only two years ago and so you are telling me that your company sold me phones that they knew would be out of date in less than a year then committed me to a two year contract knowing that there would be trouble, drop calls, not get a signal, etc.?"
Of course he stumbled around saying how things are always changing, blah, blah, blah. All he did was validate any suspicions I had that they change signals, and such every so often to get you to change phones or services. It is all a game to generate sales and upgrades. Yeah, I know I am probably stating the obvious to many. Which brings me back to what to do.
I will be making the trips to all these stores and checking them out, but I would appreciate any help or info anyone could share with me. Suggestions, warnings, or better plans out there? I have time but want to do something soon and many have holiday offers, no activation fee, phone deals,etc. I do not need texting, but of course my daughter wants it, and has offered to pay for it (with what I do not know). I would like the max minutes for the buck of course, but most important is customer service (I want to be treated as though my business is important, which sadly AT&T has not done), and call quality. We will be checking out a couple options this weekend and hope to be able to make a choice next month. I would feel so much better if I knew someone who had a Sprint plan and what they liked/dislike about them.
Yes there are other choices, PCMetro, Nextell (I beleive they just merged with Sprint), and I am sure there are others but I think I will stick to the bigger names as I like that they offer nationwide service, and some of the smaller ones do not offer this. My brother had Nextell, and my sister but he left for AT&T when he could not get service in Indiana (he travels for work). My sister left them too, for better service and prices (she lives up north).
What to do, what to do........

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Interrupt this Blog for an Important Message...

Why Helloooo there, I have a message for you. Happy Birthday to You........... who? Why you of course.... Happy Birthday, to you......mmmmm, yeah babe............. Are you taking this all in? Happy Birthday dear Debra................. let's bring it home now....... ..............Ha-p-p-y B-ir-th-day to you! Yeah you guessed right hon I am all yours...... Behold these perfect plastic pectorals, the way the light shines off my washboard ab's, and these glistening guns. Hey, I know you may have wanted one of the Chippendale men on your birthday, or that guy from the movie "The Mummy", Oded Fehr, but this is all your going to get for a dollar babe, so deal!

Monday, November 23, 2009

29 Days.......

29 Days.Org I heard about this from my friend Vicky. I love hearing about the results Cami experienced and thought it might be something I would try. I believe I am up to doing this, 29 gifts in 29 days. It changed Cami, and through giving even the smallest of things she was able to find peace, joy, some relief from her illness, it also changed her perspective on life.

Why not join me during this season known for celebrating and giving to experience the joy in touching someones life. Although my family has had to cut back and give up we still have so much we can share. I just love the thought that it might make a difference in some way for someone, including myself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Comforter Thoughts.....

Here in Michigan it has been unseasonably warm, some call this our "Indian Summer". The days have been sunny and on the warm side for November. Our nights however are on the cool side. Like every family we need to save where we can. We have had our share of pay cuts, benefits reduced, taxes increase, and try to watch our pennies like many. One of the things we did is install a programmable thermostat. It works by regulating the heat, we can have our heat lowered for the hours we are at work, go up just before we get home, and lower again automatically just before we go to bed. We both prefer to have it on the cooler side when we sleep, and it does help reduce our heating bill saving us money.
Still as we get older it seems we feel the cold a little more acutely. To compensate I bought a down comforter for our bed, which keeps us nice and toasty while we sleep. I love to snuggle into bed under it's fluffy fullness and drift off to sleep warm and toasty despite the dropping temperature and cold weather outside.
So where am I going with this story? I guess it has to do with this last Tuesday night. I had gone to bed as usual, it was cold out, but it didn't matter I was all warm and toasty as I drifted off to sleep....but around 1:00am I woke up. I was soooooo cold my teeth were chattering. I was freezing. Was the heat off completely? Oh my goodness I was cold. It was then I realized that I had no blankets over me. What the heck, where were they?
I reach next to me and there was the edge of the comforter, there was Steve, all nice and warm sound asleep. I sat up and saw that he had managed to pull the entire comforter around himself.
My husband moves around when he sleeps and when he turns over to his side he holds onto the comforter and pulls it over. This is not the first time he has done this however when I mention these things he just dismisses it saying I am "imagining" it. Since I leave before he gets up for work he thinks I must be making this up.
This time I was cold and wide awake so I decided I needed to prove my point, taking my camera I took a couple pictures to show him. I started with a picture of my side of the bed, you can see that the comforter has been pulled to one side.....
In this photo (below) you can see his head peeking out at the top of the comforter. Doesn't he look all snug and warm? Notice the way the comforter has draped down the side (his side), of the bed, puddling as it touches the floor......he looks so nice and warm here doesn't he?
After dinner last night I mentioned I had some photos I wanted him to see. We sat on the sofa and I showed him these photos. At first he laughed and said "I can't believe you took photo's". Well we have had this discussion in the past, and you always deny it. You will say to me your making that up, I don't do that. So I wanted proof Here it is Hon, the proof in pictures, what do you say now? "It's not my fault you did not buy a large enough comforter for the bed." "What? How would that have made a difference?" "Well, for one thing if I did roll over and pull them with me you would still be covered now wouldn't you?" "I think your missing the point here dear, I don't think a large comforter would help. It would just be more that you took from me and had on the floor. " "I don't pull the blanket over, I always pull them up from the bottom." I think the photo's show that you don't do that. I think it is pretty clear that when you roll over you are pulling them with you. "Well I can't help it if you let me take them, maybe you need to get your own comforter?" Hmmmm, okay, you do know that it is these kinds of things that get people on the 11:00 news right? "Wife strangles husband with comforter after she nearly freezes to death." "Are you going to delete those pictures?" Not yet, I may need them for the trial......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

About a Blog Shop

I started cleaning and sorting things in my craft room and realize I just have too much in my little room. It is time to "purge" and regroup. I am thinking I would like to open a "blog shop" and hopefully find that someone is interested in a few items. Most of them will be for altered art, some things will be flea market finds. I have a lot of old vintage jewelry pieces and parts. Old watches that can be used for parts, old keys, and bits that need to go. I have more than I need and perhaps you may find a thing or two that you have been looking for? I started with grouping earrings into bags. I separated them into hoops, plastic, and metal. Here is an example, I have a bag with all manner of hooped earrings....... Here are a couple mixed bags of things to add to the list..... I still don't know if it was a good idea to sort these or not. I thought I sorting them by color might be easier? Or do you think I should just sell mixed bags? Any Ideas? I will either start a shop or list them on Etsy? I am not sure, yet I like the idea of giving people who stop in at my blog first chance at anything they see. I would add more things as I continue to "purge" from my vast collection. I had been busy with my daughters shower invitations. I would like to do this before I start on the wedding invitations. If only there were more hours in the day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Marie Painting

Here is a photo of my latest painting...My Marie. I took Suzi Blu's "Petite Marie" class. We were to paint one of Suzi's "Petite Dolls" in the form of Marie Antionette. I had purchased a blank wood cupboard door at a garage sale this summer. It became the perfect canvas for her, complete with frame. This first photo was taken without a flash in the evening.... You see the colors appear much more rich and you do not get the reflection of the sparkle from the gold, mica flakes, and rhinestones. Below is a photo with flash.... Much paler yet the same painting.
I plan to take a photo in the daylight, which may give a more accurate reflection of the piece. There are many layers to this painting, collage, modeling paste, etc. She is a rather large approx 16x20". I have to add the hanger to the back of frame yet before I list her for sale.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

13 Days of Halloween Finale!

On the last day of my swap....... It was Halloween, and my swap partner gave to me....the cutest little handmade paper mache pumpkin with a little witch inside! A neat paper flower made from pattern paper, cool. She also made sure I stayed warm handing out candy with a fuzzy brown scarf(which I love!!!).
Here is the whole collection! 13 Days and many Halloween favors....
This swap was a lot of fun, I want to thank Renee, Chateau of Remnants for all her hard work! I now have a lot of additions to add to my Halloween decor! Also shout out to Harley of Koalafuzz, for hosting! Thank You ladies for making this a ghoulishly clever Halloween!.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Tricks and Treats.....

Below are pictures of Treat's, and my trick (yeah it was a little cockroach that runs across the floor and two glowing eyes). I guess I misunderstood about the trick. When I opened my package I thought "Were the tricks to be handmade too?" Oh dear, and no way to contact the receiver to let them know...... I am looking for them today, and hopefully they were not too disappointed.
Here I have laid out my Trick, and my Treats for the swap. It was hard not having a gauge for how much, but I knew the "Treats" were supposed to be handmade.
Cute "Pouting Little Witch Skull", one of these was a "Treat" for someone!
Here are some of the Banners I made for my swaps! One of these was included in the "Treat" package!
Here is the Journal I made for one of the "Treat" packages!
I hope everyone enjoyed their swaps, and for the person who received my "Trick", I honestly thought it was supposed to be a "trick". I hope you all had a Happy Halloween and fun with your "Treats & Tricks"! I have shown what I received in the post below.......

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat Reveal!

I participated in a 'Trick or Treat Swap" hosted by Christine Edwards. We were to send in two "treat" packages and one "trick"! In exchange she would swap them out for other tricks & treats. Today we are to post them and hop from blog to blog to reveal what you received and to find out who you received them from! I do not know who made my gifts, I hope they will stop in today and reveal themselves. I want to thank them for their Halloween Creativity and work. Please hop over to Christine's site and check out the other players blogs to see what I made, for them!
Here is my first "Treat". A cool skull with his companion a black crow. He is on a pedestal and is sporting a ruffled collar atop a pumpkin! From his glittery eyes, to the crackle finish a true Halloween Treat! What a gruesome addition to my Halloween collection!
My second "Treat" a sweet Trick or Treat gift bag, a small flip scrapbook, a decorated box with some Halloween confetti, a small "Treats" banner. Very cute.
Here was my "Trick". A very cool "preserved" skull. on the bottom of this glittery ghoul were many little eye's staring up at me. How creepy & cool. Lovin' the glittery goodness, what a clever idea.

Monday, October 26, 2009


As you may have read on a previous post, I have been participating in swaps. I join via someones post on a blog, or a group I have joined. They call out for players. They all have their own set of guidelines, requirements, and "deadlines". Many people who sign up are familiar to me. I have been in other swaps, or see their names in posts on blogs. For the most part it has been fun, there have been disappointments, surprises, and even my first experience with someone who "flaked" on a swap leaving me empty handed. So where am I going with this post? Well I am truly and sincerely interested in why it is that a handful of people are being "allowed" to ruin this form of art sharing for the many? Yes, for it has reached a point in my short experience in this medium where I am really thinking of withdrawing and no longer joining or participating in swaps. For now the good still outweighs the bad, yet all it takes is one really bad experience that has required all your focus for a few weeks to get in the way of any enjoyment. For me joining a swap is a commitment, a contract. You have read and agreed to follow all the rules and deadlines. We are adults and should know if we are capable before we sign on. We should know for the most part what is going on in our life and barring a "coma" know that we have to fulfill our end of the swap, and take this part very seriously. You should also commit to doing your "best" work. The minute I sign on I start gathering, researching, and preparing. after all as I have heard it said on numerous occasions "life happens", and for most of us, it happens most often as we get close to the deadlines. So why is it that the same people are constantly late? Why do they sign up for every swap that catches their attention, knowing they cannot possibly fulfill the requirements, or even finished the ones they have started? Why? Another thing I ponder is why for some Communication is so darn difficult? Is it too much to ask for your partners, hostess, people who receive a giveaway, or gift, to drop you a line and let you know what's going on? I am not talking about e-mails that give excuses, or those that blatantly lie (i.e. "It's in the mail", when the truth is it isn't even started), but a simple, "Got your tag", "package received", "Tags sent", "Yes I am still in it", "My arm fell off and I may be a day late if I cannot get it sewn back on in time", etc. When I sent our a "Swap" or "Giveaway" I want to know your received it. It would be nice to know that it did not arrive damaged. Not to sit and wonder "did it arrive? did they even like it?Perhaps to some it doesn't matter, after all for them once sent, soon forgotten. I find this attitude so inconsiderate and hurtful. It is like being taken for granted, and who likes that? I am genuinely upset and cannot understand the lack of simple courtesies that seems to have disappeared from our behaviour. Is it because we are allowed such anonymity online? Do we think it no longer matters? Do you think no one remembers when you flake, are constantly late, or do rushed tacky work? Still another big problem is the partner, or participant you have to chase down like a fugitive to get your response, item, or even an excuse. The time it takes from my life cannot be replaced with a simple "oh I am so sorry". It takes away from any enjoyment, or fun that the whole experience could have been, if not for the one (or two) careless, inconsiderate, people who feel they have the right to blow you off, make you wait, wondering if you are okay, if you forgot, or are in that "coma". For goodness sake have you no conscious? Perhaps what worries me the most is that I have seen this type of behaviour ruin swaps at local shops. Sure you may get some new people to join when you vacate, or get tossed out, but how long before the turnover takes it effect. Eventually people lose interest and nothing, I mean nothing, helps discourage and destroy like unfulfilled promises, poor workmanship, or lack of gratitude. Now this lackadaisical attitude has become more and more common to online swaps. I have learned though. I now have to consider carefully each swap. Do they "screen" their sign-ups? Check them out? Their work? Do they have references to other swaps they have been in? I am even more impressed when they actually contact you to ask about a person's participation. I have pondered hosting, and thanks to my experiences have filtered it down to how I would run a swap. I would not allow those with reputations for dragging their butt's, or flaking to join. I would insist that all items come to me, so that I could evaluate them. Those not meeting guidelines, or time restraints would be sent back with a note reminding the participant of what was expected. While sending them out to each player seems better because it takes this burden off the hostess, it allows those stragglers, flakers, and just plain dippy-doodle heads to collect the hard work of others with no repercussion for their bad behaviour. Then you have to address those who somehow read the directions and send in something so totally off the mark as to leave you saying WTH? You know who you are. You not only are late but send in something that looks as though you waited till the night before you sent it to even make it. You plaster a piece of paper, slap on a print you hurriedly colored or glitter glued, and send it out. Do you think that we cannot tell? Are you really suffering under the delusion that this is your best work? I have to say how many times I sit here looking at a piece I received thinking "Really? you had four weeks and this is the best you could do?". For all the people out there saying "you have to accept there are all levels and some are beginners, blah blah blah." and to you I say "how long do you get to claim that title?" (I know someone who has been saying this is new to me I am just a beginner, for two YEARS). For the most part this statement of mine is for those who have been in the game a bit, or the ones who have received your work a couple weeks ago, (because like me you are early as opposed to waiting until the last minute), and see from your work what is expected and still hand in crap. Yeah, you heard me, crap. You should be ashamed to have harmed a tree making it. So the gloves are off, and I am going to say it and "Shame the devil" so to speak. I am going to refer to a recent swap for this example. Terri's Alice tag swap. Yet as sad as that experience was, the La Vintage one Terri was in was a real head trip. First you have a hostess that changes the rules daily (maybe she took the whole crazy Alice thing literally?), and the tags, Oy. I am thankful I pulled out after the date changed the second time, but back to Terri's swap.... For one thing Terri clearly stated right from the start "MAT board" as a base, not cardstock, not cereal box, not whatever your little heart desires, etc. Second she was very clear about "embellishment", yes this was the reason she wanted "MAT board", because it holds "more" embellishment better. Then I remember, but for those who wish to read it for themselves they should refer to the sign up post, you were to be people who "took pride" in "doing good work". Yet some chose not to use Mat board, other's felt two little sequins were more than enough embellishment on a digital art print-out, another stuck a b&w print on a tag and some glitter glue, etc. A couple were late, and one, Deb McNutt who signed up for the white rabbit still hasn't sent hers and the mail out date was October 5th! * this is the third swap I have been in with her and the third time she was over 3 weeks late! I don't get it. I hear people grumble about todays children, employer's, and government. How they do not follow directions, follow through on their promises, and commitments, do their best work, or just plain tell the truth. Yet feel it is okay to not follow directions, ditch deadlines, hand in less than acceptable work. Why? How can you criticize the poor scruples, lack of discipline, double talk from others and then do the same? Sure a country will not fail, a child will not become a delinquent, and no one will die, but this is your REPUTATION at stake here. You are an example to others, and is this the one you want to set? After all it isn't the thing itself that is important but the intention and truth behind it! Are you reading this thinking, oh she is taking this all too seriously. I would answer, it depends. Yes, it depends what you consider serious? I take giving my word seriously. I think that if I sign up for something I have made a contract, a commitment. It isn't an arbitrary agreement where I later get to decide to change my mind and do what I want. Many may say "It's only a tag, or just paper". Is that how you want me to think about your work? Is that how you feel about mine? I would like to think there is a mutual appreciation for the work that we do. A persons art should inspire, not aggravate and exacerbate. Your work should make one think "Oh this is cool". You should have a hard time using that tag on a package, not thinking, good lord I can't use this, people will think I did it. I want people to see my name on a list and want to sign up because they know they will get a well made piece of art, and that it will be on time! I do not think it is unreasonable to expect the same. I also want to admonish hostesses who do not call these individuals out when they do this. We do no service to fellow swappers by letting participants go along doing as they please. When I have a hostess (fan swap) tell me she is "being nice and patient" with a swap partner because she does nice work, (even thought she is over a month late), I have to be nice or she may not send it to me", I cringe. Really? is anything she does so worth having to babysit, cajole, and wait until such a time as she sees fit to do her part? NO! She should have been chewed out and as far as I am concerned not allowed to sign up anywhere until her obligations were filled. (Yeah Deb I mean you). Instead this person was and is signed up for numerous other swaps while making everyone wait. I was recently floored to learn that the hostess of a swap in an Alice group knows of this persons flagrant disregard for deadlines, as well as the person who runs the site and still allow her to sign up for more!!! Come on ladies grow a couple! Maybe this behavior would stop if people like this knew they risked getting the boot? Maybe not, but is would sure make life easier for the rest of us. In this time of the world where Wall Street Tycoons, Bankers, Politicians, and various others think the rules do not apply to them, do we want to allow and encourage this even in these small parts of our lives? Do we teach our children and future CEO's, Public Servants, that it is okay not to do what you say? I hear so many whining about the next generation wanting everything for nothing, not knowing what it is like to wait, not have good work ethics, and then you come to where "adults" who supposedly know better are, and it hits you, that's where it comes from. From you and me, from people who tolerate abuses, poor quality, and a sense of entitlement where rules do not apply to them. I spoke today with Terri, who was a bit shocked when she received e-mails telling her it was no big deal. So then these people feel it is okay to allow this from swappers???? Perhaps you think your work does not rate enough for a return swap? Comments like "your beautiful tag makes up for a person's flaking? Is she like the town savant? We let her run amok (I am finding many, many, many, swappers with the same issue with her, yet NO ONE seems to have the guts to take a stand). Where are the keepers of these sites? what happened to statements like "Flakers, non-communication, and constant tardiness will get you expelled from the group?" Was that an empty threat? Shouldn't she and others who do this be told "Sorry we see you signed on for yet another swap. We know you have yet to fulfill your obligation on other swaps so we must exempt you from further participation until you have fulfilled these promises.". Was that so hard? Of course to do any good you have to mean it, you must stay the course. When I hear statements like "oh we know, and I don't want to be her partner, (what the heck let some other poor unsuspecting fool get flaked on) make me want to reach through this screen and give you a little wake-up tap on your head." I cannot believe we have all become so apathetic that we would just let people walk all over us. That a your word means nothing, and crime does pay, because no one wants to be the one to take a stand. When did swapping become the "politically correct" zone where gosh forbid we follow through with rules, and deadlines because, oh dear, we might hurt this persons feelings?They may be forced to act like an adult and , dare I say it, take responsibility for their actions! It isn't just this one person there are others. Will you just stand there and let it happen? I suppose now that I have had this "soap-box" moment I may find myself the one shut out. Maybe people will be afraid to swap with me. I have had to chase down a swap partner when after a month she did not fill her end of the swap, and like Deb, lied and said it was sent. I am not afraid to email people and nudge them along. I am also not afraid to say "no" enough is enough. I do not want it happening to me, and knowing that a person like this is, and has been doing this I certainly want to warn people ahead of time to watch out when they see a name on a swap. I started out asking, why? I think I have just answered my own question. I think I now know why they do it.... Because they can.......... they know you will let them. ______________________________________________________ ****Update**** I want to Thank Rebecca. She has a Mail Art Group and is the first hostess I know of that has drawn a clear and definate line with regards to lateness and flakers. She is the first (that I am aware of) that has actually enforced those guidelines! Thank You Rebecca! You have restored my faith and give me hope that perhaps, there will be a safe place to swap. Not that this will prevent all future flakes, but maybe it will happen less often!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Wedding Dress

Here is my daughter Stephanie trying a wedding dress. My youngest Kimberly (maid of honor) helped get her in and out of them. Kim is my hippie earth child. she is so different than her older sister, but it was so nice seeing them together. Steph is only having Kim and her future sister-in-law stand up. I am happy she asked Kim and her brother John to be in her wedding. (the woman in the blue sweater reflected in the mirror is Stephanie's future Mother-in-law)
Here is Steph trying one of many dresses. I am sorry again for the poor quality of the picture. Not the dress she wants, but we had to see what was available. You cannot tell by this photo but she is a tiny thing and pretty much whatever we found would need altering. You can barely see all the "clips" holding the dress on her in back. She was a good sport about trying on dresses but nothing made her feel like it was "The Dress". So we kept looking.
This is the dress my daughter wants for her wedding. She has been carrying a photo of the dress around for over a year (image below). The fact is we just cannot spend $3000.00+ on a dress. We talked to a local dressmaker who had a similar dress pattern and are having a dress made. It will be very close, but much more affordable. We found the fabric and are looking for the buckles. She is happy to get a dress like she wants and even happier to give work to a local dressmaker.
We did try on a dress similar to this one (image below) at another bridal salon and she was stunning in it. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take a photo of her in the dress. It was so close except for the sash. We almost bought this dress but when we found a dress could be made for her for considerably less, because we won't be paying for alterations. (I was told just hemming this dress would cost $120.00!)
I have to tell you that it pulls on your heart to see your daughter try on dresses. While Steph and her fiance' Pat have been living together for the last couple years, and just bought a home together, it made it real for me. She won't be my little girl anymore, soon she will be Mrs. Marchionda. Life seems to go so slow then suddenly you are there.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Wicked Swap!

It arrived Today!

The last of my Halloween Swaps.....Wicked! My partner Kristen, who recently opened her own Etsy shop, http://crepeconfectionary.etsy.com/ , sent me this very large box. I was in the front room watching "Fearless Vampire Killers", a funny Roman Polanski movie, when it arrived. My three Yorkie's, Bailey, Nuala, and Cookie were sitting with me and were all excited to see what came.

When I opened it up this is what a found....... Isn't this the coolest box to receive a swap in? Seriously she made this huge coffin and now my head is swimming with ideas (I want to make a skelly, or a corpse for it...maybe a corpse bride?)

I opened it to find......... This little box lost it's head in transit (don't worry he pulled himself together later, oop's I have it on backwards, yikes!) Next there were two cute Halloween hangers/ornaments. I do not have a tree but they will be sweet hanging from my mantle won't they? Maybe I should get a tree for them?

I really thought this was so neat. It has a spinner that allows you to countdown the 31 days of October! Bailey could not resist helping me. He loves to open gifts. He is very gentle but loves grabbing a bit of the paper and ripping until its all off. He insisted (constant whining until I let him help) on helping me unwrap my items. The package he unwrapped is a portrait Kristen framed for me. It is a holograph and I love it. I have a picture of it toward the bottom of this post, but need to take a close up of it. It is unfortunate that I did not get a good photo of it. I will try tomorrow when I have more daylight.

Then there was this ..... All right, I love sparkly glitter and these are going to fun to put on my door for the holiday! It says "Beware" "Knock if you Dare".... Here was a little "reading material" that Kristen included for me.... Inside was a Halloween Vignette. There is a clever little witch in a pumpkin patch, perhaps casting a Halloween spell? Ahh fully restored (I am so glad someone has thier head on straight now). This fella stores another surprise..... Yummy little jelly pumpkins! Here it is all together, look the photo of our "instant relative" is here for you to see. See the neat ribbon Kristen made? I will wear it this Halloween, it will look very nice on my orange and black striped shawl I made. Oh and there is also a cute "pumpkin" sucker/wand for me too!

So my Halloween Swaps are complete. Now to decorate with all my new items I have received. Thanks again ladies, Kristen (my wicked partner), Renee (watch my sidebar as I reveal all 13 gifts, one each day), Christine (and my secret trick or treater's, to be continued on the 30th), and Shannon (Sinister and Sweet partner)! Now don't forget to check in each day and look to the right in the sidebar to see what Renee has sent me. There are 13 gifts, one for each day from the 19th to Halloween! Come join me as I unveil each one!

Monday, October 19, 2009

13 Days of Halloween Begins Today!!!!

Here is a picture of the packages that arrived for me from Renee, Chateau of Remnants. Each day now I will open one of these lovelies and post it here on my sidebar for you to enjoy along with me. I will post it all together at the end on Halloween! For now lets have some fun and see what Treats or Tricks Renee has in store for me. If you want to see what I sent her just click on the right sidebar picture and you will be transported to her site! Don't forget to check each day to see what new surprise I unwrap!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So Far Today.....

As you can see I am again behind. Not like me at all. This is Nancy VanHoose's giveaway package waiting to go out to her. It was supposed to be mailed out Thursday! Yet here it sits. Why? Well I have been running since Wednesday and have just now settled down for a few minutes. I will mail it out tomorrow! Then maybe I need to take a break and get some things done that have been waiting.....
My big box of cabinet cards. Some are just frames. Perhaps it is time to put a few up for sale?
I found this "Betsy McCall" doll. Love that she is jointed like this at the knees. Her head and eyes were a mess. I was convinced I could fix her, so armed with patience, a craft knife, glue, and rubber bands I worked on her. It is tricky work as being jointed there are bands connecting her inside. Now she can open and shut her eyes, and her head is all in one piece. She has the sweetest little smile and the cutest little sandals on. I reapplied her wig, dressed her and now she sits, on my shelf with another find, a porcelain Shirley Temple doll (she is about 5" tall).
I just wanted to share a few things. I have not done much lately. Been so busy with the "wedding". We are having the dress made. Its a bit of a long story, but I will save it for my next post.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Look at What Arrived....

Isn't this altered piece wonderful? Yes, it is. I was so lucky to win Sandi's (Wayside Treasures) giveaway. She has a shop where she sells these lovely pieces. The pictures do not do justice to these lovely works of altered art. When I first held it and could look at it up close I was truly impressed with Sandi's work. Her attention to detail and impecable work are evident. Trust me when I tell you that the photos do not do justice to them. When I won, Sandi instructed me to visit her shop to pick one of her items for my prize. My first impression when I saw this bottle in her shop was that it was like one of the smaller bottles I have been lucky enough to find, but this bottle is much larger. I have altered a few smaller bottles for a Halloween Swaps. Of course they were not as decorated as sweetly as the one's Sandi makes. I look at it now and have to admit how much I love the patina, the cloudy areas formed over time on these bottles. Sandi has managed to pair this with an assortment of aged papers, soft seam binding, bits of jewelry and lace. If you would like to purchase one of these wonderful treasures for yourself, take a moment to hop over to Sandi's blob and visit her shop Wayside Treasures. I believe she is having a sale right now also!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where do I start?

I am so far behind.....I think I'm winning! Have you ever heard this? You let one thing go, and suddenly you have this giant pile of things you have not addressed. I want to say it has been crazy busy here, emphasis on the "crazy" part. My eldest is getting married and suddenly this sweet girl I knew has become the wedding crazy train! Wedding this, and wedding that, then why not buy a house and decide to move in one week also. While painting rooms (her father) and stripping wallpaper(me), packing and unpacking. Stop to go look at flowers (all day Wed and Fri), stop to try on dresses (all day Sat). To top it off I somehow became the designated chauffeur? It took me less than a week to start hating the word "wedding". You see she just got engaged the end of August and before we could draw our breath they decided on March, 2010, yeah 6 months from now. Which is fine if you plan on eloping, but a pain for wedding planning. Then throw in everyone involved and all the different stuff going on in my life, and well, I am lucky if I remember my name (although I sometimes would like to forget it and where I live). My youngest is in College and working now part time, our son John is also moving into his own place. My husband had to pick up Johns car last Friday, and put a new radiator in it for him, since he is working crazy hours and cannot make time to do it. This is in between been running to our daughters to paint on the weekends. Then we can start helping John paint the new place he is renting, and move him in. I started a sewing class on Thursdays (Steph and I had planned on doing this before the big wedding plans) and I am behind there too. I need to clean MY house and get painting and windows done here, but my life is not my own right now. Of course it was at this time I was signed up for 4 Halloween swaps, the Alice swap, the fan swap. Then my brother passed away last month, and we have been cleaning up and taking care of that. Yesterday was his 54th birthday and my sister and I spent it picking out his headstone. Which has been difficult for us to say the least. I feel bad for my sister too, because her daughter is getting married in 2011. Perhaps seeing her Aunt lose her mind will help her to decide to elope? So for those of you so patiently waiting for me to post I apologize. I did not mean to neglect or ignore. Some I think I did email or mention but to be honest I just cannot remember so I will start here...... Lori Anderson from Pretty Things sent me this fabulous charm pendant. I had made my charms for the swap and she asked about them. I sent her one and look at what she sent me. She put it together and it is so pretty. I am so flattered and thrilled to have some of her work. Again Thank You Lori.... Then there was Sweet Sweet Renee of The Chateau de Remnants. She sent me this wonderful "Pick-me-up" package after my brother passed. I love the hankie, all the little bits and the lovely card. (I had to put some things in the little bag so I could re-create the package for the photo). You were so kind to send me this. I Thank You! To Joy Northrup or Joy to the Blog, for the lovely card and wonderful ATC she sent when I guess correctly on her blog. She had a piercing on the little bump in her ear . Joy has been doing a lot of "extra" work in movies around Michigan. I am going to be looking for her now! Joy Thank you for the lovely ATC. (I kept the card and envie, it was very nice,and the ATC has been on my mobile over my computer) Then I have to mention that I have received 3 of my tags so far from Terri's (Terri's Blooming Ideas) Alice Swap. The Red Queen is mine, the Sassy Cheshire Cat is from Terri (ps thanks for adding the extra bling I requested, you spoil me), the Caterpillar is from Becky Loyall (Whimsical Musings), and last but not least is the Queen of Hearts from Rebecca Allinson (Sugar and Spice Confections). FINALLY! Today I received more "Good Stuff", My 13 Days of Halloween exchange arrived today!!!!! All these goodies are for ME!!!!! I can't open them until October 19th, then one a day until the big day HALLOWEEN!!!!! From my swap partner Renee of The Chateau of Remnants. It will be hard... but I can do it. Of course I will have to keep an eye on Bailey, my Yorkie, he loves to open presents, yeah he might do something bad, yeah I don't know about him, he is sneaky ... I will have to watch him. (Hey that's my story and I am sticking to it). So this catches me up for now. I want to say a big thank you, I have been very fortunate to have met some great people through this blog, and through theirs. Please bare with me for the next few months. You may want to start looking for me on the 11:00 news....... I'll be the crazy one throwing cupcakes from the top of the church, or perhaps doing a Thelma minus Louise in the wedding limo. Oh and no, I did not forget......Steven (drum roll here) pick a name out of the hat for the winner of my Blog-a-versary please.......... That would be "Nancy VanHoose". Yep Nancy I will be putting together some alterable goodies for you. Thanks to all my commenter's, to those who chose to follow (please stick around) I appreciate your comments and especially your company.