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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Really? Has it Been Two Years Already???

Deb's Giveaway
Oh My Goodness! I almost did it again. I almost let this month pass without celebrating my two year "Blog-aversary". I never did celebrate my one year did I? No, I missed it. What to do, what to do....? I thought a giveaway might be nice, but what to give? Hmmmm, are you up for a surprise? How about a grab bag of arsty supply goodies(bits and pieces for altered art), a painting (from my Artfire store), or some great flea market find(some linens, some buttons, maybe a collectible)? Well I'll tell you what, why not post a comment for a chance to win, and mention which of these ideas you would like. If you are a follower you get two shots at a chance. No you don't have to share this giveaway info on your blog, but I hope you will. I won't make you follow me on twitter, face-book, or rub your tummy while patting your head, after all I don't want this be a job, just a fun chance to win.I will draw a winning name on September 30th, and post the winner and the "prize" then.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sinister and Sweet Swap Goodies!!!!

Dear Shannon (supermergentroidgal) was my partner for the Year of Color, Sinister and Sweet Swap. We had to cover five areas, Something Sinister (a lovely file box with the neatest raven decoration in it!), Something crafted (the lovely little decoupaged tray!), Something thrifted (Do you see the lovely vintage bling, music paper, and trim?), Something for the home (the very cool candle), and something sweet!(see my name spelled out with pretty bling and all the goodies in the little pail? Oh and did I mention the "dove" milk chocolates? No? that's because I am not sharing those)
Just behold my bounty of Halloween inspired loveliness!
Let's not forget to mention all the neat black and white ribbon wrapping all these goodies! I will be recycling these!
Shannon did a wonderful job, everything was a delight. Love these flowers and leaves.
This has to be my favorite. I love birds (ravens!) and this is so cool I think I may leave it up all year!
Thank You Shannon!!!! I am sorry I took so long to post. I have been running about with my daughter moving, helping her with her wedding things, my son moving, and all the swaps I had intended to post Monday. I am up late tonight because I just could not make you wait any longer. I will take some better photos for the flickr group.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goodnight Sweet Prince....

I have just read that Sheldon has lost his battle with cancer last Friday. I had not checked my friend Renee's blog (Circling My Head) since last Wed. I knew his time was close, yet I had hoped and prayed for a miracle. I had also prayed for peace and the end of his suffering. Renee said Sheldon was a Warrior, he was. Such bravery from one so young shames me, but also inspires me. As the sun goes down on one precious life I am left with hope and a sense that he is at peace and now can take his place among God's most beloved Angels. God Bless you Renee, Jacquie, and your family. May Sheldon's love give you strength now in this hour of sorrow.
Please join me in sending condolences to Renee and her family. Jacquie still faces a long hard battle with cancer, and both she and Renee can use our prayers and love at this time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tags for Terri's Alice Swap, done!

My good friend Terri (Terri's Blooming Ideas) decided to have an "Alice in Wonderland Tag Swap" She was inspired by a tag swap started by Le-Vintage. She put the call out for ten players, oh boy did it filled up fast. She called me and asked "So what character would you like Deb?". Of course I said "The Red Queen". Thinking of course of the Queen of Hearts. It was only later after talking to Terri again I realize she had two people signed up for the Queen. How could this be? Well silly me, I just assumed there was only one "Red Queen" the Queen of Hearts, not so. As many know there is only one Red Queen, a Chess piece in "Through the Looking Glass". Well I had to shift gears in thinking. Terri was gracious enough to offer to let me pick another character, but I was determined to work it out. There aren't many good pictures of the Red Queen, most are of the Queen of Hearts. Tim Burton's Queen is a blend of the two characters. I looked, searched and then finally one day I stumbled on a drawing/painting by the Character Designer, Michael Kutsche. Unlike the Queen of Hearts in the first Alice which was a playing card who ran about saying "Off with her head", the Red Queen is more reserved, prudish and a bit of a snob. True, like the Queen of Hearts, she has a bit of a temper but she prefers to change the subject or make a more dismissive remark. She was trying to teach Alice how to be a Queen. So there it was my Red Queen. I had to photoshop her and then find a background. I used a computer wallpaper, altered it a bit and there it was. Since Terri had allowed another swapper to make her tag in the shape of a heart (It was to be Rebbecca, the Queen of Hearts Tag) I thought why not make one in the shape of a Chess piece? I researched the book and found the perfect quote for her too! It was from a conversation between Alice, The White Queen and The red Queen. The Red Queen asks Alice for the French translation for "Fiddle-dee-dee" When Alice tells her she does not know, since it is not English the Red Queen mocks her. She says to the Red Queen 'I'll make a bargain with you, if you can tell me what language it is I will translate it to French". To which the Red Queen Replies 'Queens Never Bargain!" Yes! Queens never bargain, that's going to be my new motto. I love the image of this Queen who looks clearly annoyed and very stern. It was fun but a challenge to make the tag work. Using red Velvet ribbon, sequins, gold papers, rhinestones, vintage red rose foil scrap, glitter and such I think they really reflect the Red Queen in all her magisterial authority. Here is a better picture of them, and a glimpse of the back. I plan to mail them out as soon I hear that others are doing so. A lot of work went into these tags and being a little gun-shy lately. I just want to know that I can expect a tag in return. I decorated the backs too! Nice red roses on paper. You can see her rhinestone earrings quite clearly in this photo. I was lucky enough to have stumbled on the gold tassels at the store in the clearance isle some time ago. They had a little gold bell and a pearl on them. Now that I have wet your appetite, I want you to know I worked on these tags with Terri yesterday and got to see her Cheshire Cat Tags, they are over-the-top crazy good! Of course Terri never does anything halfway. Her work is always lovely and so detailed. If the rest of the tags are even half as good this is going to one terrific swap! I think there will be a lot of people sorry they did not get in on this one!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wicked Swap Received!!!!!

Yes! the first of the four swaps have been delivered and received by my swap partner. My partner for the "Wicked Swap was Kristen Thomas. Today she e-mailed me that it arrived. Thanks to the tracking I had on the package I knew she had received it, but am always so appreciative of hearing from the recipient. After all almost as fun as receiving a package is knowing the person loved what you sent. Thanks Kristen for being such a responsive partner. Now I wait anxiously for mine! I don't know if I can handle the suspense!
I want to thank and acknowledge Kirsti for the great images. Using a little little photo shop I was able to make this "Witches Journal" for Kristen. Here she can pencil in her most diabolical recipes and decadent spells for yummy things.
Some of the fabulous frightful goodies I sent. A decorated party cup full of candy, two spooky pencils to go with the notebook, a Witches sign, a picture of a found relative (who happens to be from Salem), a Boo Banner with lovely day of the dead details, a potion bottle, some tags, a metal sign (good witch or bad?), a flocked spider, a glittered star, two vintage inspired chenille Halloween figures, and what you do not see is the large glittered skull with the witch fairy on it. Oh and did I mention more candy? That too.
Not the best photos, but I was working on the four swaps at once, and did not think to take a lot of individual swap photos. So you may be able to see all later as Kristen has said she will post the photos she takes. This was the first of the four to safely arrive. Although it will not be the last, you won't see the others until some time in October. The next to arrive and be opened should be the Sinister and Sweet. I think she can open that right away, but we will have to wait on the 13 Days and the Trick or Treat Swap!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Repost : Tuesday Vent, Flakers!

I feel the need to repeat, in light of a recent swap.....

I borrowed the above picture when surfing flickr yesterday. I was trying to get my mind to a "good" place. She looks like she is going a little crazy, lost, and trying to figure out what to do next like me. You see I was a little bit miffed over a matter that seems to happen at one point or another to those of us trusting enough to join swaps. For the most part my participation has been positive. Sure I have had the occasional "straggler" here and there. The person for whom deadlines are just a sort of general"guideline" that does not necessarily apply to them. You have to nudge, beg, threaten them to get things on their way. They act surprised when you comment or ask them whats taking so long. One of the swaps I was recently in, a tag swap, Marie Antoinette to be specific, is still waiting on people. I wonder if some of these participants who make everyone wait on them suffer from what my mother used to say "Their eyes being bigger than their stomach". They sign up for numerous swaps, envisioning that they will pump out one after another, and be able to fulfill all these commitments. Some may be able to do it, some will start off with a lot of steam then peter out leaving some waiting for months, or never completing them. I know I have mentioned names on previous posts, and yes, there are still people waiting for tags, a good two month past the close of the swap! Shameful really. This is bad enough, these stragglers as I call them (and no you do not get to blame the post office, your life, the dog, the truth is you are just being rude and inconsiderate). When you "promise" and that is what this is, a "promise" that you agreed to, because the truth is no one made you sign up, you should act like a responsible adult and follow thru. So many abuse the kindness, and patience of others. It is silly really these "swappers" are supposed to be adults. If their children, Employer or a Politician acted like this they would be irritated and upset. So why is it they feel they can do this to other people? The Hostess is not your "Mother" they should not have to spend countless emails and time trying to coax you to do what you promised. I am appalled when I find out that people are still waiting on these people, these stragglers, shame, shame, shame. I hate having to "nag, cajole, and beg" someone to get my swap, but often there is little recourse. If I don't they will just stall or worse, "FLAKE". What can I say about Flaker's that does not make me want to wretch? Seriously, it is like stealing but asking and saying "please" first. Yes I said STEALING, because taking something with no thought, or real intention of paying for it, (and doing your part is the payment), is STEALING! If I say I will give you a candy bar for a dollar, and you take the candy, eat it and never give me the dollar, you have stolen the candy plain and simple. If you say I will make you oh say, a fan, in exchange for one you make, and I do not make one for you as promised and take the one you made me it is the same thing. What if you say you did the work and it was lost in the mail? Does that excuse you ? Hmmm did saying the dog ate your homework work in school? No, it didn't? Then it doesn't work here either. More offensive is when a Swap Partner decides not to communicate. Sure things happen, stuff gets lost in the mail, delivered to the wrong place, etc. but how is your partner to know when there is no communication? Of course you can always contact the Hostess of the swap, putting them in the middle, but really is this their responsibility? Personally I would be embarrassed if someone had to involve the hostess because I was not adult enough to address the matter, and work out a solution myself. Yet so many times I hear of people who do this. Take the item then bail. Leaving you empty handed and the Hostess with a bad taste for ever hosting a swap again. This has happened to me very recently, and frankly I felt like I wanted to start or find a website where these people can be exposed and stopped. As luck would have it I think I have. So ladies if you, like myself have been afraid to sign up for a swap because you have been burned you may wish to join this group:
I also would suggest this site if you are thinking of hosting a swap since they only allow members to participate. They keep a close eye out for flakers. The rules are pretty generous with one exception "NO FLAKING" if you ever do, (I think it also applies to communication and timely mailing), you are banned! If I had any advice for future swappers it would be to trust your gut feelings. I had confided to a friend early in the swap that I had reservations about my partner, with regards to this swap in question, and told her about the total lack of communication, and seeming carelessness of the person I was paired with. I even thought of holding onto my work until I received hers, but I wanted to fulfill my part of the swap and not be late in mailing it out. Now I wish I had trusted my gut. The lady has my work and I have nothing. She has not returned one email. The hostess even contacted her and requested a solution, still nothing. Now it could be that this person will try to make this right, perhaps she will even make good, but the total lack of communication indicates otherwise. So I chalk this one up to a learning experience. Although I have to tell you if I see her name anywhere on a swap list that I would consider I will have no qualms in letting the hostess know. Alright I just had to let that out. Please respect that these are my opinions, mine alone. Although I know that others have had these problems too hence the Swap-Bot and Yahoo groups (there is a Yahoo group too!).

Monday, September 14, 2009

All Four, hit the Door! Halloween Swaps are on their way!!!

Okay I am 99% packed, 50% loaded and ready to send, but most of all I am 100% poor. I had to sell the youngest child but it was worth it to get these babies on their way. As you see I have packed all the swaps in these stylish one-of-a-kind designer boxes courtesy of BK. For Renee my 13 Days Swap partner, a lovely box that once held yummy sausage patties, for Kristen, the Wicked Swap, a biscuit box. Dear Christine, Trick or Treat, will receive the Vanilla Shake mix and last but not least Shannon, Sinister and Sweet, scores with the largest box, "Tender-crisp Chicken Patties". Don't worry ladies the boxes were clean inside, but this ought to make for some interesting conversation with the neighbors. (Big Boxes = Lots of Goodies!), or not. We will have to wait and see!
So for Shannon, my Sinister and Sweet partner, here is a little "peek" at your goodies! They are in the mail today, and on their way to Ohio!
Okay so I was in a hurry, I cannot believe Shannon beat me sending out her package! Yeah but I had "4" of them so I should not feel too bad. Here you go Shannon this is all for you! I wish I had thought to take a pick before I wrapped. I hope you will like it all. (Well then put on your Witchy shoes and tap the heels together, "There's no swap like Sinister and Sweet")

Sunday, September 13, 2009

K C Willis Collage Camp Giveaway!

K C Willis is doing it again folks, giving away a $300 shopping spree! She now has a studio where she and other guest artists such as Joanna Pierotti and Sarah Fishburn will be teaching too! If only I lived near them so I could go. For now though I am happy to be in collage camp.
Go here now to sign up:
P.S. K C wants everyone to know that if you pay up front you can get 20% off the workshops at her studio. (anyone want to send a poor Michigan girl to Texas this fall?)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trick or Treat Swap...Ready to Go!

Christine Edwards of "Work in Progress" is hosting the "Trick or Treat Swap" I am sending her two lovely "treat packages" tagged so, and one "trick" package. She will mix them up with others and well it may be that three people will receive one of my packages. In return of course I will receive my three items from three others. Again, the big box in the back waiting to be wrapped is one of the gifts, "Trick?" or "Treat?", I'm not saying. I have to tell you I was intrigued to join this swap after I read the name of her blog, that is before she changed it: "I poked a badger with a spoon". Got to love a wicked sense of humor, my kind of people!

Wicked Swap..Ready to Go!

Hello Again. I just finished wrapping my swap items for the "Wicked Swap" which I will be sending out Monday to Kristen Thomas in New York!!! All these are for her (yes, even the big box in the back there waiting to be wrapped) yummy, delectable, and frightful ghoulish goodies! I hope she enjoys this swap as much as I have enjoyed putting this little cornucopia of "Wicked Deliciousness" together........ I hope you can wait!

13 Days of Halloween Swap Ready to Go!

Here it is, my first of four Halloween Swap's ready to go out (It does include the big box in the back of the picture, I just ran out of paper to wrap it. I will finish tomorrow). It is for the "13 Days of Halloween Swap". I need a good size box to pack it in, good thing I work for a BK. Monday is delivery and there should be a box that will work. So Renee of the Chateau of Remnants this big box of Halloween Goodies will be headed your way! Too bad you will have to wait until October 19th to open the first of your 13 presents........It will be hard waiting till then won't it?Heh, Heh, Heh, aren't I wicked?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Halloween Tags, and The Tag Swap!

I have entered a few Halloween swaps this year and as I have referred to in my previous post I get a bit nervous. I like doing the swaps but it is difficult for me sometime to keep a positive attitude about them when you have been burned, or had a difficult time with other swaps (I am still waiting on my fan that I was told was mailed out the 28th, 2 weeks ago). However I did join these swaps, and I am committed to following thru and making things my partners will enjoy. I am almost ready to mail them out. My friend Nancy VanHoose did some lovely tags using some cupcake liners for Halloween that were too cute. I resisted the urge to run out and get some of them instead opting to use what I had on hand. These are my tags. I papered chipboard and with some help from a few items made my own versions. I did add some gold thread loops and a backing paper to the back to finish it off and a place to sign. These were cool to make. I was thinking of labeling my packages with them, but maybe they will wind up being part of a swap gift? Not sure yet, but I am working on a few more for now. I want to get my packages out this weekend. I like having them out a bit early. I am hunting down boxes to fit all the neat things I have to pack up. I hope that my partners will be happy with my packages!
Here is a close up of one of them. I used my nestabilities and cut out the medallions from that. Then add some black glitter around the image and a sparkly chenille stem. Add the crepe and back with a disk and a gold thread and these tags are ready to adorn a gift.
Bonus, look what did arrive today in the mail!!!! I participated in this Halloween Tag Swap and today it arrived in the mail ( this one was also due the 28th). Still Sarah (Gypsy Mermaid) managed to get them together and send them back to us so quickly. Here is a look at the little book Sarah put together with all our tags. Tied with an orange ribbon!
This pictures shows of the pages, mine is the one on the right (previous post) It was on old German paper with black tulle, lace, crepe paper, and some neat trim with bats on it along the bottom.
I have to say this was a neat tag, one of my favorites, I love the bonus earrings!!!! Jill Harris of Gypsy Brocante made them! I will have to wear them, that is if I can bear removing them.
Below is a glimpse of the book in total. If I have not mentioned it before, there were 13 tags total. Lot's of wonderful work.
There are so many cool things in this little book, and perhaps I will show them all individually another time. For now I want to share with you that it came today and that fun swap was hosted by "Gypsy Mermaid". Thank you Sarah for being our Hostess. You were always in touch, and did a great job!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Moment to Vent

I have a love/hate relationship with swaps. I have been doing quite a few Lately. Signing up for them via someones blog, or an online invite. I used to participate at local shops, but that ended when people stopped following thru and the work became shoddy.
It can be a great deal of fun. You work on projects send them out and in exchange you receive other artwork from artists. They contribute to your collection, and you to theirs. Sometimes you wind up with a nice book, others like tags can be used, or saved for inspiration. There are other swaps maybe a doll, or home decoration. It can be fun, and lately I have been joining in and swapping like a crazy woman on crack. I signed up for a few swaps, not expecting to have to deal with a funeral, wedding, and school starting at the same time.
I try to give myself enough time, starting early so that should these type of events come along I won't become frazzled trying to do it all. So far it has worked, I know myself, if I do not start right away things seem to happen, it can lead to anxiety I just don't need.
After all, I consider myself to a person who follows thru. If I say I am going to do something I do it. If you give me a deadline, and rules I follow them. I take it very seriously, because for one thing I want people to be able to count on me. I want my word to mean something. The last thing some hostess needs is to have constantly have to check on you, remind you and then push you to do that which you said you would commit to do.
I have never hosted a swap yet partly because it is a lot of work, but mostly, for myself at least, I think I have not done it because it must be so frustrating at times.
There have been so many great swaps lately, and of course I want to participate in them all. Reality is though, I cannot, I have to pace myself. For me it is not about quantity, but quality. When I do a swap I want it to be something that I would want to receive and for that I need time. I read the rules, and most importantly pay attention to the "deadline". Subject matter, the cost, rules, all factor in. After all, these things can become expensive. Especially those where you have to mail overseas, or to each person individually. In other cases it is the time factor, some swaps are more labor intensive. For instance the doll swap I participated in. Thank goodness Nancye gave us lots of time, and we only had one partner.
Even then there were some tense moments. In my haste to get started my partner and I both forgot to exchange e-mails. I foolishly thought like me she had it on her page, or at least a site that I could contact her through. Well as it happens she did not, and I had no way of getting in touch with her. New lesson learned, get an e-mail address and contact info up front. make it a point to agree on keeping in touch. It can be extremely frustrating when you don't.
Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve about swaps, okay one of two big peeves, the first - deadlines! I for the very life of me I do not understand why it is that people cannot commit and follow thru on this. After all it isn't like they do not inform you right up front. Many hostesses even send you reminders, and warn you that the mailing time is close, yet time and time again there are those who feel like this idea of a deadline does not apply to them.
Yes, I know "life" happens. Of course, and many of the swaps allow for that by having several weeks to complete and mail out a project. So what are these few doing wrong? I cannot believe life is that out of control 24/7. If it is then maybe they should rethink the swap idea and take care of business at home. For some it may be "procrastination", they sign up for too many swaps only to realize a week before that they did not allow enough time. Maybe they waited thinking "hey, I have another week", only it turns out that is the week your Aunt surprises you and shows up for a three day visit. Then suddenly they panic and run late. Then there are the perpetual stragglers, as I call them. It gets to where you see their name on the list and just know you will be waiting "for-ever" as their names have become synonymous with a three, to the whenever they get around to it, week wait.
I just do not get it. I recently inquired about a swap I am in. I asked when I could expect my pieces to be sent. Sure I am anxious and excited, and I know I have to allow at least a week or ten days. We all had the same deadline right? So how long should it take? The response was "Well usually I allow three weeks after the due date for some to get their work in" (then tack on another week while I finish putting the together). Are you serious? I thought the deadline for mailing was XYZ. No wonder there are some who feel they can make everyone wait. No wonder they putz and give themselves lots of leeway. I then have to ask, "Why in Gods name do you have a deadline?" Is it me, or am I correct that when you tell someone it has to be mailed by XYZ date that it is SUPPOSED to be in the mail no LATER than XYZ? Did I miss the fine print that said "for those of you who feel the need to make everyone wait because you got busy, signed up for too many swaps, got overwhelmed, or just plain waited too long to start, take another three weeks?" No wonder this country is in such bad shape no one thinks the rules apply to them, and for those out of the county, well surely they know they have to allow for extra mailing time.
This first peeve may be some of the cause for my next peeve. "Quality", yes I will say the thing that many think, but no one dare say. Nothing can be as exciting as receiving beautiful pieces of artwork. I now say here that I have had the privilege of being the recipient of some fantastic work. To these artists I say "Thank you". You are the reason I am still doing these swaps. For the others, you know who you are, that spend five minute throwing something together and thinking "well I made my deadline", I want you to stop now and think. Have you ever sent out work that you knew could have been so much better if you just took a few more minutes to work on your project? Have you ever sent something out that you thought, I should have fixed that bubbled paper, took my time when I put this together, fixed the smeared glitter, backed that flimsy tag with some chipboard, added more, maybe added less? Would I be thrilled to get this in the mail?
Every time I do a swap I admit I obsess over it. I will often lay everything out, change it up, add, subtract. I have been known to take apart and start over, to ask for help and opinions of fellow artists. I put myself in the receiver's place, would I be excited when I opened this? Would I be disappointed? Is everything dry? Will anything stick or smear? Are all the parts adhered? Did I pad it so it doesn't crush or tear? It is because what I send out reflects me, it is my ambassador so to speak. I want it to say, here is someone who takes pride in doing good work. You can see the attention to detail, the way it was put together reflects the time and thought put into each part. A prime example of this can be found on an earlier post. I had waited four weeks after the deadline for a Marie Tag from Deb McNutt. Being me, I was a bit peeved at the fact that it was so late. Once I opened the package and saw this incredible piece of work, well let us just say if you were to ask me now, I would say it was well worth the extra time (although I still think meeting the deadlines is important and do not want to encourage tardiness). It is masterfully done, the details and level of work wonderful.
This however is not always the case. I have received my share of less that desirable pieces, and yes I know as I have been reminded on other occasions, we are dealing with all levels of skill here. Still being honest, it is not hard to look at a piece and see where thought was used, time was taken, and when it was not. I was a beginner at one point also. I have spent time examining others work, gleaning knowledge and taking what I learn (not copying, but using work as an inspiration or prompt to try a new technique) and trying to surpass my last piece. I have had occasions where I thought my piece was just wonderful, only to receive something from someone who has surpassed my work by light years, making me want to try harder the next time.
It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this is not what I am addressing here. For me it is the poorly executed work, where parts are falling off, paper is torn, creased, glue spots, glitter smeared, and the colors are all over the map. The parts are uneven, things do not line up, backs are exposed showing all the gluey, and taped parts. Images printed on cheap copy paper, poorly colored in with pencils, warped paper from using the wrong glue, the list goes on. Example: I once did a fat book exchange, the theme Christmas. I received from a woman a page with a die cut snowflake, a big one with a rhinestone in the center, ta-da! on the back of the page, which was supposed to be covered also, she glued sloppily ( she had not managed to square off the paper and there was glue all over the place), the piece of paper that she punched the snowflake out of, ta-da. This must have taken all of two minutes, and little or no thought. It wasn't even on cardstock but cheap construction paper. How she managed to accept beautifully executed pages in exchange for her work without feeling like a cheat is still a mystery to me. The next page we received from her, well lets just say those pages were missing from my completed book, at least the one I could not tear apart and do over.
Of course I mentioned these are my pet peeves, they are mine, but I do not think I am alone. Many will say nothing, many may just stop exchanging or choose to swap one on one. It is hard to say something because often we are sensitive to others feelings, so much so we do them a disservice. For how are they to know unless someone tells them? I am open to constructive criticism that helps me. If someone was to receive a piece from me that was less that acceptable, I would want to know. If they had a better way, or knew of a better paper, glue, or paint that would help I would appreciate the information. I am not perfect. I do think that it shows in my work that I have put time and effort into my pieces. That as I grow I will get better and not settle for so-so work from myself. I want people who see my name on a list for a swap to say "Oh, that lady is doing this I would love to have a piece from her. You can count on something well done and on time".
Well that's it for now. I have rambled on here, but felt the need to share with you, and just vent a bit as I wait on a couple swaps who are waiting for the stragglers to get their act together. In the meantime I have four to get out this week. I have been up late all weekend and the last few days trying to make up for the time I lost dealing with "life". Don't worry they will be out on time, a couple even early. The work is good, I am pleased with it. P.S. I am not even going to mention the "Flaker's" out there (the ones who sign up then disappear), don't even get me started on them!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fan Swap!

Well my swap partner has received her fan from me. So I guess I can now reveal the finished fan for you to see. I had participated in Vintage Rose Rococo fan swap and we were to make a Marie or Rococo inspired fan. I did not have much to go on. My partner had gone away for awhile on a trip, and although I searched her blog, I could not find a lot of her art work. I wanted to judge her style and color preferences. Since I had no reply to my queries I was at a loss. Then I spotted a photo on her blog of her bedroom that she had just re-done. It was decorated in a Paris-inspired theme, Black and White with an accent wall of teal. This became my fan inspiration. At the top I made a silver paper lace fringe. Then added black velvet ribbon and a black organdy bow, topped with a teal rhinestone. The Marie image was placed on chipboard and cut out. Then mounted on an oval stamped with french print , attached to a teal scalloped oval. I place a feather in her hair and added a pearl and jet earring. In the corners are silver filigree, then of course glitter. Trimmed with a black sequined trim (hard to see in photo)under this, and a black silk flower/pearl center for an accent. In this photo below you can see the teal ribbon, and the looped black silk trim under that. What you cannot see very well is the silver filigree placed under on the polka-dot paper below. I glued pearl trim all around, added a velvet teal layered flower and lovely black, teal, and striped ribbons.
The fan consists of seven panels, and what I thought was really cool was I found a bolt to join it that was flat on both sides, like the ones you see used for larger scrapbooks. I liked that the fan could lie flat open or closed. Kathryn has emailed me saying she loves it, and I am so glad she did because I was guessing on the colors. I only had a photo to go by on her blog and the colors might not necessarily be accurate.