Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just My Opinion....(and a few facts)

Checking, checking, one, two, three...... Is this on? Yeah, okay then...

I would like to take a moment of your time here to talk about a subject which has brought about much distress and confusion lately. The "Big 3", yeah the plight of the "Automotive Worker" to be more precise. It has been in the news all over, and I have to say I am "shocked" at the reaction from people. I have heard such disparaging remarks as "They are over-paid", "They get too many benefits", "They did this to themselves", "It's because of the Unions" . Most of these comments are of course from people who do not have a clue. I wonder if this was any other job,  would the same venom would be spat out?

My husband has worked for Ford Motor Co. going on 35 years, he has the carpal tunnel, hearing loss, nerve damage and arthritis to prove it. When he hired in he made $3.73 an hour (he has his first check stub). He worked pulling, and hog-ringing leather seats, next to a hot blast oven, back when they made them all here in America. We have seen our share of lay-offs, wage freezes, plant closings, strikes all throughout our marriage. Unions and workers fought hard to insure that they got a fair share, and because of them many jobs now offer many of these same benefits. The pay he makes he earned. Yes, like many other workers, Teachers, Nurses, Plumbers, Electricians, Road Workers, Government Employees, Carpenters, Postal Workers, all who also have UNIONS . If people took the time to investigate they might find that many of these workers have the same or in some cases even "better" benefits than autoworkers.

People are quick to point out that these auto workers are not "college" educated. True, but many jobs that are vital do not require a college education, and this fact should not belittle their importance. I do not know about you but that guy who pumps out the septic tanks, and charges $25.00 and hour is worth every penny. Why? because it is a job I do not want to do. Many Plumbers Carpenters, Truck Drivers, and Electricians started as "on the job" apprentices, does that mean they are not worth the $30-$50 bucks an hour? Is there anyone preventing you from pursuing these careers and getting paid this wage too? Can someone then explain to me why people feel such animosity for the auto worker?

I work for a company doing the payroll. One of the District Managers was saying how the auto workers have had it too good for too long. This Manager has worked for the company 25 years and makes considerably more than my husband. I asked why she thought this, "Well they get their health care paid for, and they get holidays, and vacation". I agreed, but then quickly pointed out that so did she. Our company pays for her health care(which is the same as the auto workers get), she has 4 weeks paid vacation, and gets paid holidays. I also pointed out that after only 25 years she is making way more than my husband, and she did not go to college either. Her job consists of driving around and checking the stores. So why the disdain and anger? Is it envy? I have to think it is. 

In an age where everyone has become obsessed with "themselves" and seem to take pleasure in someone else's misery, this reaction has become way to common. I turn on the television to hear things like "The Autoworkers make $70.00 an hour with all their benefits". Yet, no one seems to have heard how they got this number. For those of you interested in the truth here it is:

They took the amount paid out to every worker currently employed, then they added the amount paid to retirees, to this they added benefits paid to the spouses of deceased employees still on retirement. They took the total and divided it by the amount of "Employed" workers. 

If we applied that same thinking to the Government it is like saying "We are taking your wages, adding all the benefits we pay out to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and then dividing it by the number of people actually working, and that's how much we will say all employed workers are getting".

Perhaps we should use this math on the Nurses , Teachers, Postal Workers collecting pensions and working? Why is this formula only used with the Auto industry?

In a very recent conversation with a Nurse I met, she went on about how the government should let the companies fail, because these workers were all overpaid. I asked her if she thought that this "letting them fail" would stop with the Automotive industry? Did she really think that once you cut this major sector of the economy that they wouldn't start cutting others? If you cut the Auto workers wages to say $15.00 an hour, who is going to pay your $32.00 an hour salary? Illegal immigrants? Medicaid? She did not have an answer. The next time we met, the Hospital she worked at was fighting the Nurses Union saying they did not want to pay Benefits for retired nurses, and that they were cutting back and laying off. 

I recently stopped at a craft store and was talking to the store owner. I was telling her that I had seen a story online about all the shops that were closing or going out of business, I believe there were around 33 chains closing all or some of their stores. She said "Well I don't shop at a lot of them so it doesn't affect me".  I said to her "Really? Let's just stop thinking about you for a minute, and think about all those people now out of work. All these people now without an income, perhaps many will lose their homes, go on unemployment and not be able to find work. What are the chances that coming into your craft store to buy supplies will be a priority for them? How long will you be able to stay open if they all stop shopping?" No answer.

I run across this thinking from so many people, and for the life of me I don't get it. Senators and Congressmen say things like "Well we cannot be responsible for the bad choices of businesses" Yet apparently we can be responsible for the Bankers who acted irresponsibly, the Insurance Companies that acted irresponsibly, Congressmen, and Presidents who act irresponsibly?  I just wish people would stop and think about the bigger picture here. These times should "unite" us, not make us bicker and jealous. 

So to those of you with unkind things to say remember, while you are busy looking into your neighbors yard thinking they should not have greener grass, someone may be looking at yours and deciding neither do you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paintings Revisited......

video

I originally posted this because my friend Terri asked me about my painting. I put together this little video of "some" of the past paintings I was smart enough to take photo's of. I have to credit my daughter's Steph and Kim for insisiting I photograph my work. I have not been good in that respect. I get excited about the "giving" and often forget to take a picture. I wish I had taken pictures of all the items I made for my sisters. The tea services, clocks, plates, perfume bottles, boxes.........well at least you will see here some of the many gifts I have given, because to be honest I do not have many pieces that I "own".

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TaDa! Finally after Two and a Half Weeks!

Now for the Grand Unveiling! My "New And Improved Craft Room" You may ask why? Why did you redo your craft room? Well for one thing, it had not been painted since our son John moved out, and his sister Kim had the room. She wanted it painted blue. I never liked the color. Still I was happy enough to have a room, that I could go to and paint, make cards, or whatever I wanted. When we bought the house there were shelves that the previous owner had made on the west wall for his wife, she sewed and did minor alterations for people. They came in handy for storage and although not well made they worked. However they were "fixed"and odd dimensions which often didn't suit what I needed. Last year Steven redid the closet and made storage shelves and I moved my stamps into it. Still I had a mish-mash of odd shelving, plastic storage and things stacked in a way that made it a real inconvenience to get anything. So a few weeks ago I asked Steve if he would paint the room for me (this was on a Thursday night). He said "Sure, if you can empty in by this Saturday." (He never thought I would, but I did. I surprised him and myself) So he started the patching and prep to paint it. I ran out to look at paint chips. I originally wanted a soft light peachy-pink, but then thought no, a soft white would be best. So here is a picture of the room with the last coat of paint (I used Behr paint, a soft white called "billowing cloud") Okay, here is a "before" picture, the shelves are along the west wall, the wall facing the doorway in. (Please keep in mind these photos are 2 years old, I could not locate any recent photos, and this was after I just cleaned and re-organized the room. Of course you have to imagine a lot more "stuff" on the shelves. I had already moved the stamps to the closet.) After: We removed all the shelving on the wall (this is facing the south wall the west wall is to the right were the shelving was). A 10' gutter now houses my ribbon (I found the aluminum kid is bigger and works better). The wood shelf houses books and my buttons. I have a few ideas for that shelf yet, but that will be later on. I found the computer desk on Craiglist, and the two "Commercial Grade" drafting chairs also. They adjust and I can use them at the computer or at the island. Before: When you first walked in the room you saw this. The west wall with the handmade shelves. A line of those plastic bins on rollers (I had to remove the feet because they could not support the weight, and the metal top table I would work at). After: Now you walk in and see this. Light, and bright, yet soft. A tall cabinet of drawers houses glitter, metal bits and other things. You cannot see it but next to it is an smaller Ikea Expedit shelf with 8 cubes, 4 of which I have bins in. It houses my solid paper cardstock, wood, stickers, stencils, small projects, etc. I found the kitchen Island at Target 75% off in clearance! It holds my acrylic blocks, scrap paper, art-bin, paint, ink pads. Before: The east wall had the green dresser(now located on the west wall) and several plastic bins. Please keep in mind this was 2 years ago, and it was a lot more "packed" before I did all this renovating. My friend Terri took the wood hutch which is working for her. I am so glad she could use it. See the blue walls? It was so not me. After: Now the large Ikea Expedit shelf hold most of my supplies. The bins are from Target. They are the "Itso" brand. (here is where I mention that I received a Target card from my boss for Christmas. So he actually bought these for me) The smaller bins on top are also from Target, they are the kind Donna Downey has. I would like to mention that I did blatantly "borrow" the shelving idea from Donna Downey. You can go to her site "Simply Me" in my blog list. She graciously shares picture of her studio and sources for everything. She does mention that her room is 8x10'. I really think it is much larger than she thinks, because my room is only 10.5x 10.5'. In her photos she has room for 2 of the large Ikea shelves and still room for her computer right next to it on one side and a cupboard for her stamps on the other. Her Island is a bit larger and her room has a "bump-out" bay which provides a bit more room. If I had to guess (and I am no architect) I would say her room is more like 12'x14'. Go on check it out, her studio is great. I have been looking at pictures of studios all over and kept coming back to hers. While I may tweak it here and there, I am very happy with how it turned out. I really like the bins, they house a lot of stuff and still look neat and tidy. P.S. I tried to make a video but am "Mac" impaired and will have to wait for my daughter the "Wizard" to help me later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's All About Me!

Finally, some recognition! I guess you never knew I was this "Special" did you? Well now you know....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines!!!

Ha! Today my daughter sent me this Lovely Valentine. 
I love vintage, and enjoy a little sarcastic humor, leave it to her to find this.  I did take Steve out to dinner Friday night, and he took me to breakfast this morning. I guess for me though it was a very good Valentines day as the crappy snow kept my husband from attending the boat show. They are going to go tomorrow instead (my son, and my daughter Stephanie's boyfriend Pat). I never begrudge Steve time with the guys, I think it's great. Still we had been working on my "craft" room all week. painting, etc. Then my friend and I went out to Ikea and I bought my shelves Friday. I thought I would have to wait until Sunday for us to put them up, but no, we did that today!!! 
I am so tired. We had to walk everything upstairs and put it all together (what a pain in the butt). I scrubbed the floor and washed the blinds. Now begins all the sorting, and sifting through piles of things.  What to keep and what to toss.  Perhaps there may be a giveaway of goodies, in the near future as I seem to collect everything!!!
For now I will take a break and rest my poor feet and back. It is going to take me a while to get things in their new places. My goal is to organize and not cram things. So far I am loving the room. This is the part that takes forever, and I have to get it together soon as I need to work on the next ARt group project.
P.S. For Connie, and Betzie, your packages will go out Monday instead of today as the Post closes at noon and the roads were a mess.  
P.S.S. Francine, please send me an address! Please.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

BINGO!!!!!

Yes!!! Number 41! Come on over and Claim Your Prize!!!
For those of you playing the home edition the winner, Number 41, is Connie at the "Altered Route". Connie will be receiving "The Flying Girl".
But Wait! There were so many nice people out there 328 that entered to win the one prize. "One Prize???" I don't think so.
Not if this guilt ridden Catholic Gal has anything to say about it!
Announcing the "BONUS ROUNDS", yeah you heard right. Due to the overwhelming response I am picking two, yes TWO more Winners!!! They are numbers...
247 and 118
That would be Francine Cronos and Betzie! Now I know you are asking "What do they win?"
Behind door number one we have:
A pretty hand-painted (by me) little Valentine what-not. Perfect for those little "love taps" on Valentines, or any other time you just want "tap" someone you love. and Behind door number two: A lovely little hand-painted porcelain egg-shaped box, (painted again by me). Where you can stash trinkets, or small candies. Who gets what you ask? I don't know, the first one to respond to my email will get first pick. I feel much better now, I gave everyone three chance to win. This was so much fun I think I may do it again soon. Thank you EVERYONE who commented, it was so uplifting to hear all the support and compliments. So many talented people, gave so much and shared even more. Thank You Lisa for all your hard work. Please stand up and take a bow! You deserve that, and more!

And Now the End is Near, It's Time to Turn the Final Curtian...

Photo

Here it is the final hours. Yes for those running late you can still add your name. Because I work very early hours I will make my final entry time at 3:00 AM. After that I cannot accept any post for the drawing which I will do and announce sometime tomorrow afternoon. You have been wonderful, and I have loved meeting so many of you and finding such interesting Blogs. (As you can see my link list is now a mile long) Such talented and generous people are out here and I hope many of us stay in touch and "check in" with each other. Well I am off to bed now, and I wish all of us good luck!!!! Now for my Give away ............ I am entering this mixed media item, I call Flying Girl (Green). She is a composition of various elements, woodburning, painting, collage, and is finished with a coat of beeswax. The base is a 6" x 12" wood panel, and has a hanger on the back. So post a comment, and this little gal may be "flying" her way to you in February! Be sure to tell all your blog friends about this.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

OMG!!! Look at This!!!!

I just received my package from my swap partner, Amy Wald. We both were paired up the the Year of Color, February exchange. She got my package and today well just look at all the treasures I got from her! Gorgeous bits of ephemera, a silver plated heart dish, keys, and a very pretty handkerchief. It was like a holiday with the best things ever. All wrapped in tissue and tied with ribbon. I could not get over her generosity and flair for putting all these lovelies together. She made me the most "sparkly" little valentine! Look at the sweet peacock for my collection!! The package with the rose has flowers in it, the little cupid is so cute, and the rub-on's, the tags! Just so much .... and in this lovely little cut-work box came another assortment of goodies! Cards, a sweet lavender sachet, silk ribbon, jewels and tags!!!! I have to add here that I found it so interesting how many things we sent to each other that are so similar. I sent her a handkerchief, some buttons (did I mention I got white buttons too!), keys, ephemera, paper, some jewels, tags etc. I just feel so lucky to have received this package that so much thought was put into. Thanks Amy you made me feel like I won the lottery!

The Beckoning of Lovely...

I was recently on a blog that featured this video. It's a bit long but so worth it. I have to admit here that being a very sentimental person I did get a little teary eyed. I love it when things come together and people take a chance. So turn on your sound and sit back and watch.