Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Lord, thank you for not letting me be dead.

It all started with a dream. I believed, as did my BFF Melinda, that if we got up enough speed, we could run my bicycle into a low hanging chain and snap it in two.

Melinda was riding tandem that day; her skinny frame didn't weigh much, nor did it take up much room on the back of my banana seat.  My somewhat chubby body enjoyed the premium in space and balance and we were determined to snap. that. chain.

The chain was swinging lazily, about knee-high, across the driveway of the neighborhood's meanest man. I think his name was Mr. White and, along with being stuck with the much cliched nom de' plume, he was a loner and the times he did notice you, he was always yelling. But on that sunny, fall day, he was nowhere to be seen and we decided that chain would provide the perfect test to prove our strength, courage and superiority.

I told Melinda to hold on-it was time to go. She locked her arms around my waist and I began pedaling as fast as I could. We flew down the road. There wasn't a doubt in either mind that the chain was toast.

It's too bad, really, that Beginner Physics isn't taught in 1st grade. I feel that if it were, many boys and girls would be spared the scars that would follow them into adulthood and have to be lasered off or tattooed over in their 20's. I know that had I had a mere basic grasp of Physics, I would not have tried to run, full-speed, into any stationary object. Ever. Not then, not now.

As it were, I raced down that road completely bereft of the knowledge that could have saved me a handful of painful days and nights. We hit the chain, Melinda and I, but instead of snapping, it flew up the front of my bike and clotheslined the both of us. We lay in the road, stunned, as the chain swung wildly (intact) and my wrecked bike's wheel spun lazily. Then, as if on cue, we both began crying.

My cries were guttural. Think of the wine stomping girl on TV who fell and you'll get a good idea of what I sounded like that day. Melinda, on the other hand, began screaming. Between the screams, she talked to the Lord. Most of it was babble but I had no trouble making out one thing she kept saying every few seconds; "Dear Lord, thank you for not letting me be dead. Thank you! aheeeeeeeeah **babble, babble** Dear Lord..." you get the drift.

After repeated bronchitis attacks over the past several months that have left me physically spent, I finally woke up today and felt like I was my old self. I couldn't believe how alive I felt...how cheerfully alive and ready to face the day. Out of nowhere, I looked up and said, "Dear Lord, I would appreciate it if you could pay a little more attention and put a little more effort into my continued good health."

I think I may just go looking for a chain, or two.

Recipe: Designer paper, Girlfriends stamp from "I Brake for Stamps" and sentiment from TPC 'Girlfriends' stamp set. Paper from DCWV "Snapshot Stak". Copics.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lord, I done gone crazy.

For Simon Says Stamp! I've ordered quite a bit from SSS but never entered their contests. This contest, however, featured my fave CAS stamps and Prima paper...two of my greatest loves!!! Sentiment and stamps from CAS Loving Thoughts and Prima Doodle Deux paper collection. Over the top bling or, as I call it 'blang', compliments of yours truly. Onto some more sketches, I think!

Under the Sea, it's CAS-4 and Me

Here we are again! It's another CAS challenge and we were asked to stamp on printed paper. Maybe I'm just getting to the point where that having fun is OH-TAY. I really like that.

So here's our gold tinsel glitter embossing powder and Whisper White craft ink. The stamp is from Stampendous and the sentiment from CAS 'Loving Thoughts'. After a dry spell of 5 days, I'm on a card binge. I'll make sure to upload ALL my work today.

And I'll do just that....once I wake up from my nap.

Giddy-up Cowgirl...boy....ummm...person???

It's true...there's a dark side to crafting. I know, I know...you had NO idea. We, card makers, are especially guilty of harboring secret drives to play 'God'. We alter realities at the drop of a hat and without remorse. We are arrogant; WE will show YOU how things are to be done and how to view it. "So, you think this sunflower diecut should be used for a card titled 'Thinking of You'? I'll make it into a sympathy card before you can blink! Mess with me and I may even fussy cut the doggone thing and use it as random blobs in an abstract, mixed media work! What do you think of that, homie?"

Now, you're probably saying, "THANK you for daring to come forward and shed light on the dirty, little secrets of papercrafting! Thank the Lord there are people like YOU who refuse to be a part of such a vile group and courageously expose them for the pond scum they are!" To that, however, I must say stop. Please.

Why? Because I am guilty, too.

That's right. I have fallen into the abyss and want to share my story so others will not be tempted to follow the dark path.

The image above was used in the MFT weekly sketch. I'm desperate to win the 20 dollars up for grabs and was determined to do so. I created the adorable 'TV Show' above, using MFT stamps and dies.

As I was putting the stamps back into the package, I noticed the back said 'CowBOY'. I was shocked! It couldn't be! I'd made her lovely! Do you know how long it took me to color that image with my Copics? Do you think that color of red comes naturally? I even matched the lipstick...that's right...LIPSTICK to the accessories!

Granted, this isn't a terrible thing in itself. I mistook the image and that happens occasionally. But it's what I did next that sealed my guilt. I thought about how much time and effort the project had already taken and how much more it would take to actually redo it. Being inherently lazy, there's no way I'm going to redo something that took me too long to do the first time, so with no guilt or fear of recrimination, I committed an unspeakable act.

I performed an unauthorized sex change on an unwilling...uh...thing...no, that's insensitive...uh...image.

Anyway, my feeling was that those who knew I was wrong wouldn't say anything for fear their OWN sins would be exposed. The people who DIDN'T know...well...they just wouldn't know! To alleviate the guilt that threatened to consume me, I justified my actions by saying, "He really IS too pretty to be an effective Cowboy. He looks great in red lipstick and is too curvy; maybe it's not me that's really to blame. Maybe it's just time he was honest with himself and the rest of the wrangling crew by admitting that not only does he dislike sleeping on the ground and the disgusting smell of cows, but that his rope and spurs secretly excite him for reasons having nothing to do with farm animals."

So went my justification. Until today. Today, the madness stops. I want to admit my own seduction by the dark side of papercrafting and promise to try to stay in the light: Where sunflowers are sunflowers and cowboys are..well..effeminate cowboys, if that's what they think they are and want to be. Or something like that. Hopefully, that sounds more profound than it looks.

Stamps: MFT Cowboy at Heart 
Paper: Thin cherry wood, whisper white  
Ink: Copics, watercolor pencils 
Accessories: MFT die cut clouds, barbed wire fence, banner, Tim Holtz Ornamental Die


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yippe Ki Yay (Fill in the Blank) **evil grin**

Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time. Next to Terms of Endearment, Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias, of course. I like movies with believable protagonists, who are tough as nails but whose humanity and vulnerability are so authentic, you almost forget it's the specific time of the month where you just want to sit around and watch these type of movies while crying, eating chocolate and dealing with bloat.

Don't get me wrong...Bruce Willis wouldn't have lasted 2 seconds trapped in Truvy's Beauty Shop, nor would he DARE screw around with Debra Winger's medication. But all of the people in these movies are resilient and creative. In short, they kick major heinie while wearing rumpled clothes and a tired smile.

Just like me.

Excuse me, but did you just snort with derision? Don't do that...your face might freeze and it's NOT very ladylike.

Let me just let you people in on a little secret...I would rather run over glass barefoot while spitting on Sally Fields than have to face ditching yet another project that I ruined, right as I was finishing it up. That stress alone is such that I find myself muttering random things like "There's no WAY Crystal Effects look like a snow globe" or "You can't possibly put a *&%$* card together, video yourself doing it AND blog about it...EVERY DAY." over and over.

I'm a freaking HERO, I tell you. Rumpled clothes and all. 

Think this crafting thing isn't stressful? Imagine how I felt when I found that people actually use SEWING MACHINES to stitch cards and I couldn't even thread one...much less sew a straight line!!

Do you know what it's like, trying to follow folding patterns for lever cards or trying to tie beautiful ribbons- or thread them through delicate diecuts when God has burdened you with fat fingers and man-hands?

Or how about charging different orders to different credit cards to hide your addiction, or explaining to your husband why you had to go out and buy a Hallmark card instead of making one because you're too busy trying to complete Vendor challenges and going to cardmaking school?

To H-E-double hockey sticks with Bruce Willis, sadistic Germans and Olympia Dukakis; I GOT your stress RIGHT HERE-next to my overflowing stamp drawer, 42 thousand rolls of ribbon and a box empty ink pads with retired colors I can't refill but can't bring myself to throw away.

So BITE ME, Willis!

Outer Design: MFT Cowgirl at heart, both image and sentiment
Various Designer, Kraft and self-adhesive cork    
SU! Basic Black and Image stamped in StazOn Brown
Watercolor pencils, Copic Markers, MFT barbed wire die and MFT banner die

Inner Design: Horse Stamp Inkadinkado "Horses", MFT Fence Die, SU! Black Ink

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chicken Soup with a dash of Guilt

Wanna know what's sad? I mean REALLY sad?

Life is REALLY, REALLY sad when you have to make a &%*$%& 'Feel Better' card for YOURSELF!!!

That's right...here I am, on Death's Doorstep, and neither my husband nor children have any clue that Mommy isn't doing so well.

Actually, that's not true. They notice when they can't find clean socks and have the audacity to ask 'why'. The fact is Mommy hasn't bothered to do any since she's sure this is the end and trying to work through the 5 Stages of Grief, but this doesn't seem to resonate with them.

So, I do what most every other mother in the world does; I get out of bed, do all of the daily chores while guilt tripping the HE double hockey sticks out of every.single.one of them.

By the end of the day, they're all wishing they'd kept their mouths shut and offered only words of comfort and hot soup to me. But, as children (and husbands) have incredibly short memories, this scenario never changes and I don't necessarily want it to.

Why is that? Let me ask you this...what is it that really changes a child's behavior. Heart to heart talks? Gentle correction? Or just slam dunk, knife to the heart guilt?

It also works for negligent husbands who play too much golf, too!

I'm glad I don't get sick often. There's really too much to do in a house of 5, with 4 of them sporting a Y chromosome. Besides, I need time to refill my empty guilt coffers so that I can be prepared for my next round of child-rearing, which should occur right around Flu season.

Recipe List: SU! Daffodil Delight and Pretty in Pink Ink, blended with blending tool and sponges on SU! Whisper White paper. Other paper is Designer SEI. Verve Joyful Blooms, All Aflutter and Curvy Bookplate Dies and Verve Sentiment heat embossed with hot pink powder. Other dies are Memory Box Trellis and Floral Greenery.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

CAS-3 for ME and a little bit about Dercum's Disease!!

Oh Lord, what a week. Kidney infection, non-existent Vitamin D levels (hmmm...wonder what in the world could be keeping me from going outside and keeping that old D level going?) and complications from Dercum's Disease.

For those of you who don't know what this is, or know someone that has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, please check this out! Dercum's is the 3rd rarest disease in the world. The people I know with Dercum's were all diagnosed with Fibro and I'm convinced that DS isn't rare...it's just misdiagnosed as Fibro. Please....PLEASE have your fibro friends check this out!  Dercum's Disease

I'm sorry for the seriousness but the truth of the matter is that the more people who are correctly diagnosed, more money is invested in treatment, research, drugs, etc.

Thanks for your patience and enjoy my CAS challenge. It's bingo time and I got Die Cuts, Bling and Birthday. I'm pretty run down but I PROMISE to be back to form tomorrow!

Recipe: Memory Box flower and bird diecuts and sentiment from Inkadinkadoo

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

STARS on 45

I have to say something and I will only say this once. Take note and say what you will, but I'm a person who believes that when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I can own up to it.

Besides, considering the credit card charges I've incurred, over stamp related products the last month or so, it may be in my best interest to apologize, grovel and spend some time trying to reinstitute weekly conjugal visits with my husband.

Last week, my husband lugged in yet another box of stamp products. "Can you at least explain why you have 17 different kinds of black ink?" he said, exasperated.

"Well, I use Memento and SU! for regular stamping, then Staz-On for coloring with my Copics..." I began.

"Those Copics are the markers that cost 10 bucks a piece, right? How many..."

"No," I quickly interrupted, "They're only 6 bucks. I use my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby. When you stop in every day, you can really build a collection!" I laughed, weakly.

He gritted his teeth. "Whatever. The point is that I think you have too much stuff. Look...there's a box from two days ago. You haven't even opened it! How about making a pledge to not order until you use everything you have at least once?"

"I can't!" I wailed. "It's stuff for projects I'm getting ready to start! I needed the free shipping or extra stuff so I went ahead and ordered! I'm getting ready to use it in a couple of days! It's just that I started online card classes and there's a lot of stuff I feel I need to become really good at this!"

"And THEN will this turn into a money making...no, forget that...will this turn into something that can support itself at least halfway?"

"This isn't for money, it's for my spirit, you...you...Philistine!" I sobbed.

He shook his head and walked out, knocking over a Copic marker stand for the markers I planned to get in a week...or month...or sometime in the very near future.

But that's in the past, right? So, in the spirit of starting anew (and praying my SU! order is somehow delayed...for a year, or so) I want to be the bigger person.

Which brings me to this place and this moment in time, in which I say "Honey, you were right."

I'd planned to go on a card making spree that night but, as you can imagine, right after our 'talk', I went the longest I've ever gone without making a card. Work, kids, fatigue, etc. compromised my creativity and energy. Or, as I prefer to think of it; Karma.

With this, I apologize and promise to (try to) put a moratorium on my spending and try (really hard) to USE everything I have to date. With this (sort of) pledge, I give you the final Verve sketch challenge card of April. This sketch was hard but the look was worth it, I think. You be the judge.

Card Recipe:
Stamp: Stampland Longfellow sentiment
Paper: Designer sheen and glitter
Ink: Versa Mark and Snow opaque embossing powder
Accessories: Verve Surely Goodness flower die, Verve banner set die, metal adhesive stars, crystal star clusters and Moon from Jo-lee's.