"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 27, 2009

Shop Smart, Save Forests

Since I live in an apartment and cannot install a bidet (unquestionably the most sanitary and least environmentally harmful way of taking care of personal cleanliness), I am constantly looking for the greenest way to handle personal hygiene and household cleaning.

I gave up paper towels and paper napkins last year, preferring rags, hand towels and cloth napkins. Just recently, I found (at Dollar General no less!) a package of women's cotton handkerchiefs--and remembered my great grandmother loving hers. Two packages (at $1 each) and I have four handkerchiefs at the start of the fall flu season...enough to start weaning myself from facial tissue. (Before any germophobes reading this faint, I want to remind you all I live alone. Facial tissue has its place when I am in public, and the sources listed in the article linked above will suffice for me to carry disposable tissues whenever away from home).

Recently, I purchased three separate brands of toilet paper made from recycled fibers--Marcal, Seventh Generation, and Office Depot Green--all from Office Depot at a per sheet price of <.02 and am in the process of evaluating each product. All three products are processed chlorine-free. I've purchased the Marcal before and my one complaint with them is the size of each roll. While a single person can make it through several days before the roll runs out, a family may find themselves using a roll a day (not exactly user-friendly for a busy household).

A full review will await the trial of all three products (I am using one brand at a time and taking notes to determine which brand--if any--reigns as superior), I do want to publicize the immense damage being done to old-growth forests simply to wipe our behinds (not only is this topic currently featured on Treehugger--one of my favorite "green" sites--even the Washington Post is covering the topic--pardon the pun).

As with any product recommendations seen on this blog, I am not being compensated by the companies listed here. These are personal opinions only. I've included company links so you may find your own sources; my use of Office Depot is based on the fact that I receive free delivery whenever I order over $50. They also have a Worklife Rewards program that provides me with periodic coupons and in this economic climate, every little bit helps.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mystery Lover's Kitchen

Okay, ya'll already know I love food (one look at me and I could never deny that fact LOL). Most of you know I am also a coffee addict, and anyone who has read my blog knows I love to read...so, what could be better than a blog that combines all three??? Cleo Coyle writes the Village Blend mystery series and they have a permanent spot on my keeper shelf. (She also writes another of my favorite series under her nom de plume Alice Kimberly; this set stars a ghostly PI who resides in a bookstore).

Not only is Cleo giving away a free excerpt of her soon-to-be-released Holiday Blend; signing up for her newsletter enters you into a weekly drawing for free coffee.

Then, a link sent me off to Mystery Lover's Kitchen...all the writers share their recipes and their links to their websites and other blogs they love. Go check it out, but beware, you'll want to eat and drink while reading LOL!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Playing with Plastic Wrap

One of my favorite things to use for making my own background paper is plain old plastic wrap from the kitchen. Actually, I often use the plastic from opening a new ink pad, or the bag that my Sunday paper comes in, or the plastic that some of my books are wrapped in when received through Paperback Swap. I have a container on my crafting table to keep these in so I don't have to use the kitchen wrap as my first choice.

I'm in a fall mood. I need fall cards and bookmarks. As I started going through my card stock stash, I made the horrid discovery that I have no orange, rusty, autumnal colors. My next SU! order isn't budgeted for another week, and even though I have one package of our great Autumn Meadows Designer Series Paper, it is currently reserved for another project.

What to do? Make my own autumn paper! Start with Very Vanilla card stock; add More Mustard and Really Rust using wadded plastic wrap to apply direct-to-paper. Voila!

Well, I thought I was okay...till I realized that as I was moving the paper around, the back got inked a bit. Not good for making a bookmark that would be seen on both sides. So, on the reverse, along with More Mustard and Really Rust smooshed with plastic wrap, I added some Taken with Teal by sponging and then just swiping the pad over the card stock. (Should have taken a picture then, but I was having too much fun to stop.) By the way--all the smooshing was done with the same piece of plastic wrap, which I did finally throw away (note to self--remove from trash and put in recycle bin).

Since I was having so much fun, I then took the flower (looks like a chrysanthemum to me) from the Kind & Caring Thoughts Level 3 Hostess set, and stamped it randomly using Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, and More Mustard.

Now all that is left is cutting it up and using it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Change is Good

My blog will be changing somewhat over the next week or so. Changes in my demonstrator agreement with Stampin' Up! mean that some of my links and blinkies will be removed from my sidebar. This is not being done because of any negative transaction with those sites; it is being done to bring my blog in line with a contract I have signed. We all know there are many craft suppliers and paper artists out there. I am narrowing my focus to those who use SU! products so that both I and my readers can learn more about the great items my demonstrator website offers and be inspired to use SU! stamps, inks and papers in all my paper crafting.

I am a hobbyist demonstrator in many ways. Public transportation makes giving workshops difficult, but between my love of our products and a few friends who also love SU! stamps and inks, I manage to stay an active demonstrator.

I welcome the changes. They are making me look at my craft spending habits more seriously. I've owned my own business before. I understand non-compete clauses and realize that I have a responsibility to remain loyal to the company I represent.

Now that sections of the contract/agreement have been clarified for me, I feel free to correctly post pictures of items I have made. I can link to videos and blogs that are exclusively SU! and know I am following the rules ;-)

So as I make and share my holiday cards and bookmarks and "gifties", just know that all items are from Stampin' Up! and feel free to come on over to my website and place an order LOL!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is Not Just a Song Title

I've been thinking of a post all day regarding respect for others. Last night, I caught a live town hall meeting on cable and watched it disintegrate into an old-fashioned barroom brawl. Today, looking at the "news" on my PC, I began reading totally vile posts from various "news" sites where people curse and call total strangers insulting names (language like that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap even into my late teens).

News writing--when I was in school--was not a place for opinion or conjecture. A news story (and I won awards for school newspaper writing) consisted of WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW. Anything else went on the "op-ed" or editorial page. Somehow, those lines have become extremely blurred. News is buried under an avalanche of conjecture, supposition, and layers of "expert commentary". News reports are not meant to be entertainment--they are to inform. The "straight scoop" on any subject is extremely hard to find and (dare I say it) cannot be condensed into short sound-bites. So, the side who gets heard most is often the side who shouts loudest or pays best...

We can disagree without being childish boors, can't we? I can respect a studied opinion even if I don't agree with it--I have no respect for adults who revert to infantile behaviors such as shouting, name-calling and spitting on others.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Personal Progress Report

It is four years since Katrina. I got to Dallas with a small suitcase of clothes and my laptop (which was stolen before year's end). Having friends here meant a floor to sleep on but also made me ineligible for assistance from the American Red Cross (needless to say, they are not a charity I support).

I've moved twice due to apartment complexes being razed. It's funny; the first one is still boarded up and empty--they kicked us all out before getting their zoning variance--so I now have a bigger apartment for less rent (I am indeed Blessed).

I've re-gained the 130 pounds I had lost while living in New Orleans (basically because I am back to working a desk job and now don't even have a daily commute to keep me actively walking). My health is good even with the weight gain and I have purchased some exercise equipment; now all I need is motivation LOL!

In October, I will celebrate four years on the job I was Blessed to find. Steady raises and the ability to telecommute plus periodic recognition (like gift cards for each six months of perfect attendance) means I won't leave there unless they force me out ;-)

The stolen laptop has been replaced and I even found a hard copy of the novel I had started writing in New Orleans; I am writing again. My characters often have a mind of their own so I live part-time in their world (and what an exciting place it is turning out to be).

Replacing my craft supplies led me into selling Stampin' Up! for the discount (shameless plug here--I will not turn away online orders; my website is here and we have some great holiday items for sale for a limited time only).

My library lost in New Orleans has been more than replicated--thanks to Paperback Swap, I have all my annual re-reads available again and with friends who read voraciously and then pass their books along, my TBR "pile" has now become a TBR "mountain" (not complaining at all, mind you--I love to be surrounded by the written word).

Friends come and go as humans all grow in different directions; new friends appear to replace the old and life revolves around; I keep my plates spinning in the air--I am grateful for all my responsibilities today for they show just how far I have come in four short years...