"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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Musing about Meyer

What can I say about Stephenie Meyer? Not much on the surface--I had to find her website to link to this post and haven't had a lot of time to explore it as of yet... http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/

I can talk about Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse however. Rarely do I add to my annual re-read list (friends say that if I keep re-reading the same books annually, I will sooner or later never get around to reading anything new LOL!) The Twilight series will become an annual re-read, even without having the privilege as yet of reading Breaking Dawn.

My dear BFF Ruth asked how I could read about vampires and still hate horror movies. Meyer, perhaps because of her targeted young adult audience, brilliantly walks the sometimes fine line between suspense and horror very gracefully. She kept me laughing and crying while sitting on the edge of my seat--pure, unadulterated, escapism entertainment. I remember being so very like Bella in high school--totally unaware of my true gifts and wanting desperately to fit in somewhere. I knew mean girls and dorky guys. A writer who can bring those memories to the surface again for me more than three decades after I left high school has true talent in captivating a wide audience.

Ms. Meyer, thank you for treating Native Americans with dignity and respecting their belief systems. Thank you for showing teens that sex and drugs are not foremost in every teenager's mind. Thank you for showing dedication of purpose and adherence to moral ideas. Thank you for showing that actions have consequences. Thank you for writing Twilight.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mesquite Mania

I can't believe I forgot my camera! The vendors at the Mesquite, Texas Stamp Scrap Art Tour this year are amazing! I'm a devoted veteran of the Grapevine, Texas semi-annual Rubber Stamp Convention provided to us by Heirloom Productions http://www.heirloompro.com/ (and recently learned some of their vendors only attend the January show--I wonder if it is related to the Texas heat in July? Hmmm...).

Let's back up a bit...while at Grapevine in July 2008, a group of us decided we wanted to experience the Mesquite show in January. Beverly and I had both been considering the idea for a while; Cheryl was a newbie stamper then with all the excitement of winning the Golden Ticket to explore Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory; and Doylene has been a scrapper for years who is just now branching more and more into stamping and cardmaking.

From stepping through the door and finding a treasure trove of techniques being taught all the way through the great prize drawings (and no, none of us won--the drawings were just exciting), it was a marvelous day. A bit of warning: the floors are concrete so wear very comfortable shoes and the food vendor left a lot to be desired both in selection and food quality. Luckily there are several fast-food options close by and with the wristband, you can come and go. The entrance fee also covers both days and some people were definitely going to attend that way so they could partake of the many demos in a more leisurely fashion.

It was a super day for everything but my wallet LOL! I went for a few specific things, but of course, came away with many more. Stand-out booths for me were:

Please consider coming down next year and having a great time...I know I plan on returning (and no, there is no compensation for me from any of this--just have to share the cool convention fun!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Craft Room Craziness

What is it about a new year that makes me want to run out and immediately buy all the things I just "know" will solve my organization and storage problems in my craft room/office? (Okay--note to self #1--if you intend to take this room more seriously in 2009, it will be known as a STUDIO, not a craft room/office).

I have known for a while that I need more shelving and more ribbon storage. The bookcase space is ready and waiting and as soon as I have appropriate transportation, the final bookcase for that room will be in place; the goal is by the end of January. I have picked out another storage shelf that will hold my second (not used for paper crafts) sewing machine, the toaster oven I intend to buy for crafting, my button and embellishment boxes, and other, bulkier items that aren't used daily. It will even allow the toaster oven to be used without being moved. I recently earned a $50 gift card for perfect attendance on the job and that's what is buying the shelf unit--I just have to decide whether to ask someone to help me pick it up after having it shipped to the store or if I want to pay the $10 extra and have it sent directly to the house; since I have a second-floor apartment, I'm leaning towards delivery--my friends are getting a bit tired of helping me haul things upstairs all the time LOL!

The ribbon bar is waiting for Walmart to get a new shipment of curtain-rod mounting hardware. I use dowels for my spooled ribbons and mount the dowels on the wall using cafe-rod brackets that extend about 2.75" away from the wall. Two are already mounted; when the third goes up, I'll try to post a picture.

The other studio goal for 2009 is to begin saving for a laptop. Now that I am working more seriously on TGAN (aka The Great American Novel), I am finding a distinct need for more desktop space by my PC. I had been seriously looking at a flat-screen monitor rather than the traditional, huge monitor I have, especially since flat-screen monitors have dropped so much in price. Then I discovered the energy usage for a desktop is approximately 110 watts versus 15-45 watts for a laptop. That's insane! Laptop prices are falling and purchasing a laptop would allow me to watch DVDs in my bedroom eliminating the want/need of a second TV, especially since my bedroom can't be wired for cable and any TV in that room would only serve as a way of watching VHS or DVD (our apartments were built in the era of one cable outlet per apartment, located on an outside wall of the living room--they will not allow the cable company to install extra outlets even if I could afford the $150+ installation fee). Let's not discuss what insanity I went thru running Ethernet from the cable modem to the router to the two PCs...

My inkpads are finally organized--and I have room for growth! I love these Ink Pad Palaces and now have six--look at http://www.motherrubber.com/InkPadPalace.html for what I mean! They were shipped very fast, they are fantastically easy to put together, and they were the most economical storage solution I could find that would fit my space requirements. I now am looking at marker/pen storage that will keep my dual-ended markers in a horizontal position and have just about decided to add drawers to my Ink Pad Palaces--then the markers that match the ink pads (like my Close To My Heart ones) can be kept right with the pads. (No paid endorsement by the way; I just believe in praising good products and companies).

Speaking of praise, if you are looking for organizational ideas, check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OrganizedStudio/ and feel free to join us! I am a chronic lurker there, but most (if not all) of the ideas that have worked for me in organizing my studio have come from these talented ladies. It is a very friendly and knowledgeable group of women who do not overload your inbox with chatter but who willingly share what works (and what doesn't) for them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 On The Porch Swing Reading Challenge

Each challenge should be a different book.

1. Pick a title with the word "marriage" or "marrying" or "married" in it

2. Pick a title with the word "friends" or "friendship" in it

3. Pick a title with the word "summer" or "winter" in it

4. Pick a title with a flower name in it

I haven't decided yet if these will be historicals, mysteries, non-fiction, or fantasy or a mish-mash of genres...but I love this woman's challenges (her blog is fascinating too, so click on my post title and take a peek; she's the genius behind this graphic!)...Paperback Swap, here I come!





In Their Shoes Reading Challenge 2009

a challenge for memoirs through the Yahoo "On the Porch Swing" reading group (click my title for the group manager's blog; she's the artist behind this wonderful graphic)...

"Memoir" is defined by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary as a narrative composed from personal experience.

Read 4 MEMOIRS in 2009 and you have met the challenge!

Watch this space for updates...and join me if you would like!

1) Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon (Paperback) http://www.harryahistory.com/

Yes, I am a devoted Harry Potter fan and love reading The Leaky Cauldron, http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/ so when I learned Ms. Anelli was writing about her experiences inside the HP phenomenon, I knew I would be anxiously awaiting her book.

Just as I laughed and cried at Harry, Ron, Hermione and all the others, I laughed and cried with Melissa and Emerson and John and Jo. An aspiring writer myself, Ms. Anelli's way of sucking us in to her doubts and her dreams had me reading long into the night. 4.75/5




Happy New Year! Counting My Blessings!

Here it is, 2009, and I missed many chances to write, rant, and rave the last several months--from the election (Good Luck, President-Elect Obama) to several crafting days followed by a birthday (53 and still going strong LOL), then the busy holiday season, I have been Blessed to laugh, cry and in general experience a wonderful life to the fullest.

It has been said that the things one chooses to accomplish the first day of a new year are the things that will remain important throughout that year. Today is a day to write. It is a day to clean house. It is a day to eat healthy food. It is a day to craft. It is a day to reflect on my blessings--friends who love and support me; good health (for an obese middle-aged woman); a wonderful job with a supportive management team and a stable income; faith in a Higher Power than sustains me even when I don't always take the time to acknowledge Her presence as I should; and life in a country that for all its faults, still presents untold opportunities for success.

May you also be Blessed this year with all you deserve and more!