"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Art Day Accomplishments

Got some great embellishments done yesterday at an Art Day hosted by a close friend, Beverly (check out her blog at http://www.gottheartart.blogspot.com/).

I love paint chips as they fill so many of my crafting needs: 1) they come in every color of the rainbow; 2) they are sturdy, so they work well with punches and die-cutting machines (note to self--try using in an embossing folder); 3) they also come in great textures and shapes (some also have windows already cut in them); 4) they are readily available; and 5) they are economical (read free).

Some chips I ran thru her Big Shot using the scalloped Spellbinders shapes ( http://www.spellbinders.us/) so that I could do the spirelli technique. I usually use various Kreinik blending filaments as my thread--see this cool article http://www.kreinik.com/articles/news.php?newsid=78

Other chips were die cut with Spellbinders dies (they hold the embossed details very well). Finally, Dutch Boy paint chips have these great square windows so fibers can be threaded thru or stamped images placed behind.

Came home tired but with lots of elements to work with for cards, bookmarks, ATCs or even holiday ornaments. What more could a girl want?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Icky Feelings Behind Ike

Well, www.weather.com is predicting all sorts of severe weather even into northeast Texas due to Hurricane Ike.
A well-meaning friend sent the standard hurricane preparation e-mail around at work today, and I lost it.  Tears and all, I even called my boss to see if I could have part of Friday night off (before any of the weather is even scheduled to be here). 
Gratefully, she has some common sense and a soothing manner.  She knows I live on the second floor in a well-built apartment complex and that my building has both a building to the south of me and one to the north, so that my balcony and front door are somewhat concealed from bad weather.  Her practical suggestions included listening to music or watching movies rather than the radio or TV, and working my regular schedule to stay busy.
She's right of course--I allowed the "what if's" to take over for a moment or two...thanks to the Creator for good friends who are supportive but who also don't allow me to lose self-confidence.
To all those in the path of Ike...my thoughts and prayers are with you...stay safe...leave if you need to; possessions are not the important thing, people (and pets) are...
Blessings to all...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ode to Organization

Okay--I used to pride myself on 1) my phenomenal memory, especially for numbers; 2) my ability to remember where I stored something for easy retrieval; and 3) my PC storage system for information access.

Nobody ever told me that getting older just might mean that I should re-think the amount of information I expect my brain to store just in case it should be needed...

Has anyone else ever saved beaucoups of bookmarks to their PC and then can't remember why they were saved or been totally unable to find a specific cool idea and you just KNOW you saved the link???

My past several hours have been spent re-organizing the blog links I have saved because they were interesting. Since I can't "label" them with notes in IE7, I am making a paper list of many that I know I will want to access older posts from on a regular basis--especially those showing specific papercrafting techniques. This list will then go into my small notebook that stays handy at all times, along with my wish lists for tools, stamps, art supplies and other miscellaneous crafting info.

The project started because my dear crafting friend Beverly had sent a link to an inexpensive coil binding machine as an alternative to a Bind-It-All, and now neither of us can locate that post. (Of course, she has been busy setting up her new blog http://gottheartart.blogspot.com/ and has even tried to tell me over the phone how to post pictures).

So if you know of an inexpensive coil binding machine for personal use, please send the link...and if you know better ways to organize computer info, please help!!!! Meanwhile, I'll be back soon with additional posts on organization for those of us who suffer from CRS as we mature (CRS=Can't Remember Stuff/S***).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Testing...Can I Read Instructions?

One reason posts have been few and far between is my inability to post directly into my blog from anything other than my home PC.  I read this wonderful "help" article on Blogger.com and think I am now set up to be able to post from any PC anywhere via e-mail.
I laughingly call instructions "destructions" because so many times they are hard to interpret, but I may have understood these and am trying it out.
If this posts correctly, look out world, here I come on a regular basis!
Let's see if the "destructions" work....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If at First, You Don't Succeed...

We all know the ending to that phrase, but sometimes trying again needs to occur after rethinking the whole proposition.

I have (temporarily) decided that a Memory Works website is too much to handle as I cannot check for orders on a daily basis. I have not given up my Consultant status, but for the moment, I am not swimming upstream to turn this into a sideline business. Age has taught me that when the time is right for an experience, all the pieces fall gently and gracefully into place.

I may set this up at a later date (and will certainly post if I do), but for now, my concentration is on learning to share thru my blog and continuing to work on TGAN and my various personal crafting projects.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav on My Mind

I've been a bad blogger this summer; did not really mean to take all summer off, but it happened. Many times, I would think of things to post and then could not access the appropriate computer, so I am now learning to post by other methods and you will see more frequent posts (and pictures when I learn how).

The end of August brought many feelings about Katrina that are now doing somersaults due to Gustav. My gratitude is overwhelming for all those who helped me back on my feet 3 years ago and my prayers go out to all those experiencing Gustav. Those of you who returned to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were much braver than I.

I could post political thoughts today (I have many LOL!) and certainly have crafting and book posts to make, but they must all wait a bit longer, as the weather in Louisiana and Mississippi is uppermost in my mind. Blessings to all those affected...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

May was Manic!

Where did the month go? Movies were seen (Iron Man and Prince Caspian--both ranked 5/5 with me), and Prince Caspian is on my "Buy" list when it comes out on DVD. Iron Man ended in such a way I really feel they are planning a sequel. Also saw Smart People and now I understand all the buzz about Ellen Page; having had NO desire to see Juno, I was unaware of this young woman's talent. She is certainly an actress whose career I will follow.

Books got read and my Paperback Swap BIR list got updated with the reviews--25 total with the majority being cozy mysteries. I also read both of Claudine Hellmuth's collage books from the library and simply must track down copies for my own. The stand-out book of the month was without a doubt Trace Adkins' A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck which now ranks as one of my all-time favorite reads. He has always been a favorite performer of mine, but my admiration grew as I read his well-reasoned commentary on America today. Lots of deep thinking in that slim volume!

New shifts at work ate up some of the month as well. I temporarily have the mid-day free and work mornings and evenings while we train new staff. That has turned out to be quite fun in a way and a blessing in disguise because of the errands that can be done locally in the afternoons--I will almost regret going back to the old 8-hour straight schedule later this summer.

And speaking of summer--it has come to Dallas! I am trying to be as energy-efficient as possible but must admit that I had to turn on the AC and lower the thermostat to 80. Whether it be obesity, age-related hormones, or just plain being spoiled, I can no longer work well if the room is hot. The blinds are staying closed except in early morning and I purchased fans for the bedroom and living room (already had one for the office where the biggest majority of my day is spent).

Speaking of the office...courtesy of my IRS refund, my crafting area is slowly coming together! My home PC is on a more suitable desk, my sewing machines have a table soon to be dedicated strictly to them, and my crafting table is ready to be organized (do piles of things count as organization???) The digital camera is scheduled for pickup this weekend. June planned purchases include 2 Iris carts to organize my supplies as well as the long-awaited all-in-one printer. There are currently stacks all over the floor, but I really want it organized by the end of June. I plan on a couple of hours of cleaning and organizing tomorrow because Saturday is our monthly stamping group (gratefully not here LOL!)

Memorial Day was of course a workday for me as most holidays are, but before I close, and although I am tardy in saying so, I am truly grateful for all those who have put their lives on the line to defend our freedom, and I light candles for those who paid the ultimate price that I might live in this great land. May those in uniform be always cradled in the Creator's hand. We are indeed the home of the free because of the brave.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Green Products I Recommend (my recent Wal-Mart trek)

Yes, I confess I love Wal-Mart (as if you as my friends didn't already know that LOL!) I was there Friday night and picked up a fantastic new publication from National Geographic called Green Guide www.thegreenguide.com/ggbt that just started a print version (their website has been a source of knowledge for me for quite some time). A print subscription is only $15/year and this is the first issue ($4.95 cover price). Great articles include info on safer foods, green cleaners, ingredients to avoid in cosmetics, the recycling codes (and safety of using) regarding plastics--very informative but also very user-friendly. A magazine that I will refer to over and over--I saved a stamp and paper and subscribed online!

Found another green product I'll happily purchase going forward--100% recycled content toilet paper (I know--I could have worded that differently, but I was hoping to get a laugh or raised eyebrow from some of you LOL). White Cloud Green Earth is a 4-pack (440 2-ply sheets/roll) of toilet tissue made from 100% recycled fibers. Priced between the cheapest 4-packs and the premiums, it is a solid value. Not the truly softest (but not the commercial quality TP that reminds me of newsprint) and not snowy white (hypoallergenic and probably not bleached as many papers are) but even the packaging is recyclable (and there is 15% less of it that in some 4-packs). The only true downfall is that the website is printed too small on the labeling for my seasoned eyes to read, or I would attach it here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blessed Beltane/May Day to All

"I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers;
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers,
I sing of May-poles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bride-grooms, brides, and of their bridal-cakes." ~~ Robert Herrick

Today is May Day--historically a day for celebrating the earth and the renewal of life. Flowers and gardens are reappearing. What better time to read a garden mystery? Courtesy of my friend Beverly and her Mom, Veda, I have a new author to collect--Janis Harrison. Book four of her series, A Deadly Bouquet, really sucked me in today and left me wanting more of Bretta Solomon. I give it a 5/5 stars and entered it into my Amateur Sleuth Challenge list (see the bottom of my blog).

My compost bin is coming along well, but I still have no worms. I hope to find some at a local garden center this month.

Renewal is happening in other areas as well. My work hours will be changing Monday to accommodate staff changes--I'll now work a split shift Monday thru Friday with the advantage being I need not go back to Saturdays. My evenings may be interrupted, but I'll have a long enough break during the day to run errands.

Soon, you will see a post letting you know my Memory Works website is live. Once the new catalog is available in print, I'll open the website. We carry great products and have a monthly kit that combines great products from some of the paper industry's most popular companies.

Speaking of paper, Saturday is National Scrapbooking Day. If you are a scrapper or papercrafter, I hope you spend time that day creating. Here's one of my favorite sites for downloads (now she's featuring Mother's Day thru May 11): http://countdown.tentwostudios.com

What are you celebrating this May Day? What renewal is Blessing your life?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Week 2008--Can I Have A Greener Future?

There's a new "widget" at the bottom (I don't know how to make it fit in the sidebar) that shows ideas for making our lives greener. Readers who know me know I was a Girl Scout and as an adult spent several years working in sanitation/recycling, so my love of the environment has been a part of me from girlhood. (Kinda amazing for someone who has often been told her idea of "roughing it" was a motel room with a black & white TV LOL!)

Earth Day was Tuesday; Arbor Day is tomorrow. I currently reside in an apartment with no recycling facilities and no collection facilities nearby. Some may think greening my life isn't worth it--after all, it's just me, right? Nope--wrong answer. One person can make a difference.

I will be adding more "green" to this blog since I want to share the small successes this coming year. The washer/dryer I am purchasing is Energy Star rated as is my PC, and I am switching bulbs bit by bit in the apartment fixtures to CFLs (my lamps already are). When checking out at the store, the clerks at Braums and Wal-Mart are quite used to me having my own, reusable bags (http://www.ecobags.com has several great styles); I purchased mine at different times from Whole Foods, Central Market, Target, and Half-Price Books and paid very little for them. The other advantage is I know approximately the weight limit for each bag and my own limitations on how many full bags I can carry home (any trek less than a mile doesn't deserve bus fare).

Our daytime highs are in the eighties now, so I am running a small portable fan in my office during the day and my dining room ceiling fan in the evening. Luckily the wind has been active and my windows are situated to give a breeze; I am quite determined to not run the air conditioning until at least May 1st. (I love my electric bills being below $50/month!)

Of course, public transportation has provided my mobility since returning to the Dallas area in 2005. DART continues to expand and I am seeing a steady increase in ridership, especially on the trains (what is the price of a gallon of gas these days????) A day pass good anywhere in Dallas County for unlimited rides that day--bus and/or train--costs $3 and I can read to my heart's content rather than grumble at traffic conditions.

I'm looking for a very small supply of red wigglers for vermicomposting (it is only me after all) but haven't been successful to this point. I may ask on Freecycle. My patio only has room for one worm bin and I am too frugal to pay $29/lb plus shipping when I don't think I generate enough waste to support that many worms.

I have a water pitcher for the refrigerator that filters my drinking water and have totally discontinued using single serve bottled water. I have reusable bottles for when I go out, and from some of the studies I've read, I am happier with the tap water I get from the city than I could be with some of the bottled waters that may not be as regulated for quality.

So, I'm partially green. Hopefully by Earth Day 2009, I will have reported many more small changes that help add up to a measurable difference...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

March Reading List

March was a month full of fun reading to counteract work stress. Out of the ten books I finished, only one was a lackluster read. Of course, finally getting a library card is adding to my TBR mountain--five of my completed books came from the library. (Please don't ask how many I have checked out right now LOL!)

The lone disappointment was The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I really wanted to like this book--the entire series wins raves and great reviews, but it just wasn't my style. I may read some of the others eventually from the library, but they won't rate using PBS points.

My annual re-read of The Hobbit took place in March. Surprisingly, perhaps because I had just seen a documentary on JRR Tolkien, I realized--for the first time--the writing style was much more juvenile than his trilogy. If I were to classify this novel today, it would be juvenile fiction--great juvenile fiction, but juvenile just the same. I'm not following it soon with The Lord of the Rings, primarily because I'm busy putting together the world for TGAN and her setting needs to be as unique as possible.

Patricia Sprinkle's series excited me--I read both Who Invited the Dead Man? and Who Left that Body in the Rain? and now I'm hungry for more; these were library copies, but I want to collect them. Just Desserts by G A McKevett is a new series I found thru PBS that I am collecting. Both Sprinkle and McKevett write of normal looking Southern women who may be polite but can kick a** when necessary and who have brains despite the fact they were brought up to be ornamental. As a member of that same generation of Southern belles, I really relate to standing up for what is right and doing it with a smile while you offer coffee, sweet tea, or a whuppin!

Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss was an okay read. I found it at the library and since it seemed to be a first effort, I checked it out before using PBS points. I'm glad I did. Although I'll read more by Ms. Bliss, they aren't "keeper" material for me.

On the other hand, Death of a Musketeer by Sara D'Almeda went straight from the library list to the "gotta have in hardcover" list! I've always loved the Musketeers and this series premise is phenomenal! I can just see many of my favorite Musketeers thru the years (Michael York, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Keifer Sutherland, et. al.) portray their roles in this story. Lovers of swashbuckling adventure will almost swoon at the love for the characters that shines thru as Ms. D'Almeda creates her story lines.

Charlaine Harris' first novel, Sweet and Deadly, is also worth collecting. I had already read and loved Grave Sight so I expected something paranormal yet fun and I got it!

Crewel World, Monica Ferris' first novel in a series was so good, I jumped at the chance to get an anthology edition of her first three Betsy Devonshire novels when I went to Half Price Books. The other two in that anthology may have to wait a bit since I'm trying to participate in a couple of group reads in April.

Finally, I read The Iron Lance by Stephen Lawhead. I truly enjoy his works--this is the first of a trilogy set during the Celtic Crusades. I have the other two volumes and hope to fit them into April somehow.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Two Busy Weeks

Are days and hours getting shorter? I log off the work PC at 5:30 and the next thing I know, I turn around and it is midnight! Blog ideas flit into my head while working on something else and then they fly away like Tinkerbell headed for Neverland...guess I need to work on my focus.

Much good has been accomplished lately, and I love my busy life. I actually took a vacation day (more for my mental health than anything) and used it to attend the Grand Opening of my local Half Price Books (www.halfpricebooks.com) where I picked up quite a few bargains. I spent fifty cents for a paperback Russian/English dictionary that has already contributed to several collaged bookmarks made for friends. The store was smaller than I expected, but the selection is marvelous. It also sits between a Home Depot and a Lowes so I restocked my paint sample supply. I stil haven't worked up the courage to ask for old wallpaper books though; I don't really know why that has always been so hard for me--I read where others do it all the time. Maybe next time...

Recent art purchases include a Melting Pot, UTEE, and a Crop-A-Dile thanks to 50% off deals at Michaels. I also got a great buy on Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 through a friend...and continued to research digital cameras.

So, I'm a few steps closer to posting pictures of my work; just not there yet. Living on a cash-only basis has many rewards but it also means progress is measured differently. No debt hanging over my head is liberating...choosing between art supplies and groceries is sometimes tough LOL!

One of the mantras I picked up lurking on a Yahoo group site is "Make Art Everyday" and I have been able to spend some time each day since this blog started in some artistic pursuit. It's as if simply putting my hopes and dreams and wishes out into cyberspace is making me more aware of them on a daily basis. If I'm not playing with paper, I'm researching history for my novel or I'm looking up techniques for altered art or cardmaking.

So, sporadic or not, this blog has already made 2008 the year I move forward on my "bucket list" goals. Life is good and living may not always easy, but it is certainly rewarding.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Has Sprung in North Texas!

Life is always so interesting in North Texas! Last Tuesday, I'm working busily during a severe storm and so very grateful I had not needed to travel to the job on the bus in the rain. Bam! I lost all Internet connection two hours prior to shift end. My boss "loved" it when I called from my cell to say I could not log back in until the connection was restored. (insert sarcasm here LOL)

We had several people taking off Good Friday, so it was easy to make up the time. I may no longer draw the same salary that prior jobs have provided, but I enjoy going to work every day when I log in from my own home office and that is worth much more than money.

I also realized something Wednesday while the apartment complex was taking care of the flooding that had occurred below me during the storms. I may never be comfortable living on the ground floor again. Even 2 1/2 years later, the fear in severe storms still returns.

The positives are piling up for both my novel and on turning my paper crafting hobby into a profitable sideline. Saturday, I walked to the closest branch library and picked up some basic time lines for British and European history so that I could refresh my memory on events that may or may not make their way into "The Great American Novel" (I call her TGAN for short). Katrina was on my mind there as well; the history section had several volumes on post-Katrina Louisiana and I tried to check them out but found myself shaking as I was holding them--guess I'm not quite ready yet.

I love the library--it must be in my blood! My first job ever was as a volunteer page because I was too young to work for a salary at the time. When I turned 16, I was hired as the youngest page (to that point) the Dallas Public Library had ever employed.

While waiting for collage elements to dry this weekend, I researched Pay Pal payment acceptance and will be establishing my Memory Works' Consultant website within the next couple of weeks. The link will be posted prominently here when the site goes live, so come visit and shop!

I am still researching digital cameras but have arranged the purchase of Photoshop Elements to learn digital design. I'd love to find some online tutorials for total newbies (any ideas?)

I have the distinct feeling that my "Books Read" list for March will be much shorter than the prior two months' this year--too busy moving on with life. Something about Spring makes me want to accomplish some more of my dreams. Research and playing with paper, ink, paint and glue are so much more fun than Spring cleaning, don't you think? After all, art today may keep the doctor away...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Movies, Messes, and Musings

It's Sunday, and I had plans to accomplish a lot of things around the house. My craft table (AKA dining room table) is covered with unfinished St. Patrick's Day card elements. My desk has Memory Works paperwork to be reviewed, classical music notes to be filed, unpaid bills to sort, quotes to add to my quotes file...it's after 6 PM and "John Adams" starts on HBO in an hour, so this blog entry will be the last thing done before then.

Yesterday was a great movie day--I braved the Dallas St. Patrick's Day parade throngs to see "The Other Boleyn Girl" with my dear friend Ruth. Neither of us had been to the Angelika Theater before and we loved not only the surroundings but also the fact that we were two of less than a dozen people at the early showing. The movie is marvelous (note to self: research what happened to Henry's illegitimate son by Mary Boleyn--unless that was a plot device). Both Ruth and I are Tudor buffs and I have adored Natalie Portman for years (another note--research her new line of vegan shoes). After a great lunch at a rather over-priced but still wonderful seafood restaurant (Hook, Line and Sinker at McKinney and Lemmon), I ran a few errands and came home to empty some of the saved programs on my DVR.

I pulled one of the 3 Johnny Depp movies I had recorded--"The Libertine" and thought I would stay with historical, period piece movies. As it not only had my heartthrob Johnny but also John Malkovich (another perennial favorite), I thought it would be a very enjoyable movie. Well--why didn't I remember that Johnny loves off-the-wall characters. Great story (based on a real person) but I was a bit caught off-guard by some of the visuals. I guess I had forgotten some of what is allowed with an "R" rating. Still, I cried at the end and will be researching John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (can anybody see what a nerdy geek I really am?). Okay--so it is not a movie I choose to buy for my collection; perhaps one of the other two on my DVR will be ("Benny and Joon" and "Sleepy Hollow").

Over the past 48 hours, I also cleared a 2-hour History Channel program on Alexander the Great, several Carol Duvall episodes, another History Channel program on Judas Ischariot, and spent 45 minutes on hold with Time Warner Cable to ensure I would have HBO in time for "John Adams" tonight. Do they call that customer service? Yes, thanks to cordless phone technology, I managed to monitor my corned beef on the stove, read thru some e-mail, search the web for paper companies and place a Memory Works order, but still--holding for 45 minutes? My company (my day job is phone customer service) would never stand for those hold times! And, once I got the repair division, the agent could only make an appointment for a technician to come out; he could not/would not send a signal to the box to reset it, saying that I might lose service altogether if he were to do so??????????? So, next Saturday morning will be spent awaiting the TWC repairman.

Lest it look like all I have done is stayed glued to my TV, I must interject here that I read and do paperwork often while emptying the DVR. My craft table is arranged in such a way that I can watch TV and work simultaneously. My TV is on a turntable so it can be repositioned to be seen from the kitchen if I have my contacts in (I only have a 20" screen). I am Blessed with remarkable recall--I needn't watch a documentary to retain much of the information; listening closely is often enough and if I do miss a point or two, a DVR makes it easy to rerun a section of a show. The DVR is probably one of the greatest technological advances of my lifetime.

Oops--it's 6:58, so to HBO I go for now...more musings later.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

St. Patrick's Day and Easter Designs

I absolutely love these designs! http://countdown.tentwostudios.com/ They are great for packing tape transfers, ATC's, bookmarks--this is the first place I go if I want something that I don't rubber stamp. All of Lisa's sites are full of ideas and creativity...go check it out, but be prepared to stay a nice long while.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Today in History, I Started a Love/Hate Relationship

Today, in 1959, when I was 4 years old, Barbie was born. http://www.barbiecollector.com/collecting/story.asp
I actually owned one of the first Barbies and since that was an era of having few toys, my Barbie was very well-loved. I remember some years later, we were given an opportunity at a Mattel promotion to trade-in our older Barbie for a new one and so I did. That was long before people thought to purchase dolls for their future collectible value as happened later with the Cabbage Patch and Beanie Babies hysteria, so I do not have a stash of perfectly preserved MIB (mint in box) Barbie items on which to base my retirement.

I played with my Barbie for years and added various family members as well. She was always a fantasy because she had the nerve and drive to be whoever I wanted her to be--doctor, lawyer, movie star, the first female President, and so many other professions that seemed unattainable for women in the early Sixties.

Then came high school and the dolls were stored in the attic. I went through the hippie stage and learned of Women's Lib. I married before I was ready and had children soon after, fulfilling my mother's dream for me, and my Barbies came out of the attic so my daughters could play and imagine their futures. One became so enamored of Barbie that even as an adult, she found herself collecting various styles.

I loved Barbie as a girl and am impressed with many of the collectible issues as an adult. Were finances different, I might even own a few primarily because of the subjects depicted (the two witches from the Wizard of Oz and the Arwen/Aragorn set from Lord of the Rings come to mind).

So, where does the dislike crop up? I cannot help but believe that Barbie, the first true fashion doll designed for girls, was the beginning of the cultural phenomenon I call "thin is in". Before Barbie, women could be built in any fashion and be seen as women--actually, many full-figured women were admired throughout history. Barbie is not the total cause of course, lest I be castigated by Mattel for maligning their toy; she has served a wonderful purpose for girls everywhere as they learn to fantasize their possible adult lives. I just wish they would come out with a true-figured model...perhaps the new sets could show Barbie wearing glasses and having gray hair. Or even (gasp!) a pot-belly from having children???

Nope, it ain't gonna happen. Society is too used to "thin is in" and those of us perfectly healthy women who are larger than toothpicks will continue to be looked past as if invisible. Beauty still means more than brains in our society, and perhaps even a plus-sized Barbie would not be able to change that idealogy...but what if Barbie had a brain????? (hmmmmmmm....)

Yesterday was Art Day for Me...

Once a month I get the honor of playing with paper arts (usually card ideas) with some dear friends. David graciously opens his studio on a Saturday afternoon and we all come for ideas, project sharing, and the opportunity to work with tools and stamps we may not have at home. It's wonderful!!!!! Only paper artists can cut, paste and color to our heart's content no matter how old we get in years (okay--we can add preschool/kindergarten teachers to that list I suppose). Seriously, I believe my ability to "think young" is due in large part to playing with color--colored paper, paints, markers, crayons--and I get to cut and glue, too!

David is my source for wonderful, white-core cardstock and other Close to My Heart products, so I want to plug him shamelessly here: http://www.davidm.myctmh.com/ especially since I seem to be a collector of CTMH MyAcrylics Stamps!

We actually spent time yesterday talking "Angel Policy" as a couple of us were expressing the desire to sell completed cards. Beverly, one of the group who has done craft booths in the past, has become a dear friend, so I know I'll be leaning on her wealth of knowledge as I pursue marketing some of my work. Although after seeing a selection of her cards yesterday, I'm not so sure I've got as much talent as I originally thought!

And we were also blessed to have Karen, our newlywed Stampin' Up consultant with us yesterday. Their cardstock is my other obsession; whenever I want solid-core papers, I pull out my SU! and start tearing away! Karen is reachable at http://www.karenpruett.stampinup.net/ and is my primary source for wood-mounted stamps.

So--back to the "Angel Policy". I've been in business before, so I know much of what has to be done tax-wise and with legalities such as city codes. I'm reasonably good at public relations and marketing. I now am faced with "studying the fine print" before proceeding with saleable stock. Not following rules puts negative karma into the universe and I certainly need no more of that LOL!

Yesterday was a total learning experience even if very little actual art was accomplished. I die-cut some shamrocks for cards to send and made a wonderful tag card with supplies provided by Karen. That card actually gave me the basis for an ATC idea for my Red Hatter buddies...

I also got a quick education in digital cameras versus scanners. Let's list the pros/cons and make a buying decision, shall we???? I have a perfectly servicable printer for the moment. I have no extra space at present to add a scanner. Digital cameras are now quite reasonable in price. My PC has the ability to download most memory cards direct into the PC. Digital prints are cheaper printed elsewhere than on a home PC. Looking at it on paper, the camera is the way to go, so I'll be spending the next few weeks also looking into purchasing a camera.

All in all, I cannot think of a way to have spent a Saturday afternoon that would have provided me with more fun or more knowledge all at the same time. I love my art buddies!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Books Read 2008

I am a devotee of Paperback Swap (http://www.paperbackswap.com/), and I have decided to keep a log of books read this year. Here's the list for January 2008 in chronological order:

Bound for Murder by Laura Childs (a keeper for sure!)
New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith (first of a series--another keeper)
Mozzarella Most Murderous by Nancy Fairbanks (another series I collect)
The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders by Nancy Pickard
Murder Most Frothy and Latte Trouble both by Cleo Coyle (I keep them all!)
Face Down Upon a Herbal by Kathy Lynn Emerson (new to me but I want the series)
Magyk by Angie Sage (Young Adult--the rest of the series is on my PBS wish list)
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (my worst January read; I don't understand the hype)
The Poyson Garden by Karen Harper (great Elizabethan mystery; want the series)
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (fantastic stand-alone story)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (started my annual re-read of this series)
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (I love Jamie and Claire!)

In February, I finished the following:

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (volume 3 of the Fraser time travel saga I read at least once a year!)
The Scottish Rose by Jill Jones (time travel romance--looking for more by this author)
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (Jamie and Claire and tears and laughter)
Beads of Trouble by Barbara Burnett Smith (okay since I'm a proud Texan but not a keeper)
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (love the McKenzies too!)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (please, please hurry with volume 7)
Love in Vein edited by Poppy Z. Brite (couldn't wait to mail it off again; love Poppy as an author but this was horrid and gory and I couldn't enjoy any of the eroticism for the weird...)
Beads of Doubt by Barbara Burnett Smith (nothing memorable except for the Texas setting and the emphasis on the need for funding for cancer research (cervical cancer? see, I said the story wasn't memorable)
The Gourmet Detective by Peter King (first of a new "keeper" series; learned a lot about food, mystery authors, and classical music all while being surprised by a plot--talk about multi-level reading LOL!)
Charmed Destinies (a trio of novellas headed by Mercedes Lackey--all were awesome!)
Death on a Family Tree by Patricia Sprinkle (loved it and hope it's a series)

So, not too shabby for the first two months of 2008, even if most of these are "cozy mysteries", the sheer number of pages in the Outlander series is staggering. I have discovered seven new series to explore and hopefully collect (at least in paperback), and only suffered 2 huge disappointments--Terry Pratchett's Discworld may be visited by me again thru the library but won't warrant purchasing and I know to stay away from the more erotic volumes of Poppy Z. Brite (her New Orleans-based novels Liquor and Soul Kitchen are wonderful!!!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

History is Closer Than I Sometimes Realize

I was dealing with a software issue today at work when my client made the comment "Oh, the wonders of technology," in a rather disgruntled tone. We laughed, and I was astonished to realize that I remember heavy, black rotary dial phones--the only choice being wall or desk models. We had Exchanges--not Area Codes. Princess phones were a huge fad for a while, then lo and behold, they developed push-button technology!!! Exchanges such as FRanklin or TAylor were translated to digits--FR1-2345 became 371-2345 and TA4-5678 was now 824-5678. A second extension was sometimes (if you had been very good and studious in school) allowed in your bedroom once you reached your mid-teens. Mind you, it wasn't a separate number, but you could talk without standing in the kitchen (before 9 PM of course).

I could go on and on but this has suggested a new project for me--a mini book showing the ways I have been able to communicate throughout my years. Adopted children like me can't always pass conventional genealogies to their descendants, but personal history is another matter. Has there ever been another generation since the Renaissance when technology has developed as far as fast? What a Blessing to live in such an age! And what a greater Blessing to realize that all this communication is nothing more than a way to produce more noise and stress unless a person has the strength and presence of mind to set communication boundaries.

(to be continued)...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Great Unknown

Okay--I've done it--stepped into the great unknown world of blogging! I had promised myself that 2008 would be the year I would start writing again, so this will hold bits and pieces of my novel-in-progress, my thoughts on the world, favorite quotes and lyrics, and once I have access to a scanner, I'll have a place to display my art.

It's Sunday and a day for reflection of where I am in my life. It's also a day of promise for me. I can step out of my comfort zone and begin becoming the woman I wish to be. If I had been told at 25 that I would live to be 52, I would have laughed, and yet here I am! Not a single thing in my life has gone according to my plans, my childhood dreams, or my wishes, and yet I wake each day in gratitude and wonder for the good in my life.

Let the feast of life begin!