Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poker game tonight

Well, the poker game was almost homeless this week, due to the original 'host house' coming down with something (likely the flu everyone has gotten, given away, and then gotten back again). We hosted last week, in honor of my birthday and my having yet ANOTHER wednesday off (looks like it's gonna stick for now). It was also the week of another friend's birthday, so there was cake...lots of cake...and wine and pizza. We are all mid-30's to 40's, but I think you're never too old for a pizza party. It was fun, but we weren't going to be able to afford food for everyone again. We always have a small turnout at our place, as it is hard to find room for more than 3 large card tables AND still have room to move about. Not to mention the fact that our kitchen is barely big enough to fit the two giant pizzas! And most of the gang lives close to each other, but far from us. But since no one was offering...well, no one seemed to mind bringing food if we hosted, it's on us again.
To be honest, I was looking forward to staying home and having a little 'me' time, but I couldn't very well let them NOT play poker for an entire extra week, could I?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am always amazed when Sunday rolls around and I look back on all I have (or have not) been able to accomplish. This was my 'birthday week' and I have let many things fall to the wayside. For one, I have not managed to get a single workout in all week. Aside from a couple leisurely strolls with hubby and Moxie (our sweet little, under-socialized pug), I have been choosing to eat cake instead of doing any kind of physical activity. This, coupled with the usual early mornings for work, has brought my energy level WAY down.

Tuesday we hosted the weekly poker game. It was fairly low-key for this crowd (just 15 to play), but with my birthday and another friend's birthday as bookends for the night, we had cake AND another friend brought cheesecakes. So there was a lot of wine, pizza, and sugar all night long.

Wednesday was my official day to celebrate with hubby. We both had haircuts on the books, which brought us out to an area of the cape that I just never get to. A friend and past co-worker of mine has been operating a burrito place that has become a Cape favorite, and I had yet to see what the fuss was about...so that was on our list of things to do. We also went to my old stompin' grounds for lunch and, as usual, felt like a celebrity when the chef came out to greet us and then we got our drinks comped. I love that place. It is such a lovely thing to be remembered so fondly, and after such a long time, by friends you only know through work and see maybe twice a year. Anyway, it was a fun and very busy day.

I actually got a little work done here and there, the rest of the week, but not much. Saturday, at work, I was prepared. I knew it would not be busy (as it never is, for most of the day, on Saturdays) so I brought along some things I needed to get done for myself. I cut up 25 tiny reindeer stickers to put on my tags of handmade paper. It will be part of my sampler contribution.

We were also 'scheduled' to have dinner with friends at the local Thai restaurant. Hubby was going to be helping a friend of ours move, but it ended up that she didn't need him until later in the day, so I helped as well. With all the help, it only took about an hour to make two trips back and for between storage unit and new home. It didn't hurt that the distance between the two was about a mile! After dinner we thought we might meet up with the 'moving' friends, but I just couldn't take the crowd at the bar. And we were actually an hour early for the band we wanted to see. And I, of course, hit my wall and was ready for bed.

Today, I put the final touches on my sampler package, email the necessary links, and move on to another project. MyDearest has been suffering some serious neglect and I'm not too happy about it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Sunday Reflection

Spring is here. And with it, for me, comes that yearly reminder that I am not 17 anymore. Nor am I 25. Tomorrow, I will be 35. But I am not down about it. Turning 30, for me, meant nothing in the sense that age means anything more than how long you've been on this earth in this life-time. The women, and I suppose the men to some extent, in my family (mom's side) have been blessed with unusually youthful looks. I attribute it to the features and characteristics we got from the tiny bit of Chippewa Indian in our lineage, but I am neither a geneticist nor an anthropologist (though it was my first major in college). At any rate, my age has never caused me much concern. And I like it that way. It allows me to think on the beauty of the things around me instead of what beauty may be fading on my own person. Though, I never have been one to pay much attention to that sort of thing anyway; perhaps, that is part of the reason it doesn't matter much now.

I spent some time playing in my two (tiny, by most others' standards) vegetable beds. I constructed them last spring, only to have gotten the soil all wrong in one of them. That meant lots of pear tomatoes, green beans, and snow peas...but no cukes, carrots, corn, or broccoli. I was set to just bail on the whole project this year, as I am know for killing cacti around the house, when spring appeared. The lovely sunshine, longer days (though, now it is dark again for hours after I get up for work), warm sun pushing through the chilly winds all put it back in my head that I should give the garden another go. And to add to the drama, hubby and I have decided to push forward on the 'wildflower-cutting garden' in the back corner this year. That should be interesting.

Sure, our main goal with all of our projects around the house and yard are to spruce up this 1970's style ranch and make it more appealing to the next couple who needs a starter home, but in the meantime, sitting out on the little wooden patio hubby put together, sipping a glass of wine and looking out into our yard with all of it's updates really warms my heart. When we first moved in, my husband couldn't wait to turn it around and sell it. But now, we have made it our own and we're happy to wait for the perfect second (final, I hope) home.

I think I'll go order my plants!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My first big sale on Etsy

I decided last week that I needed to do something to celebrate my birthday. Originally, I was going to take some extra time off from work, like I usually do, to stop and reflect on the past year. At first, it just happened that I changed jobs around my birthday and so ended up with a couple extra days off. And I LIKED it. So I made a habit of it, usually inviting 'the girls' over for some sort of soiree...spa day, craft day, that sort of thing. But this year, just as things were looking up, the calendar reflected my chosen days off, then things took a turn for the worse and that was that.
So, making a long story a little shorter, I decided to have a sale on my etsy shop! For me, someone who is still learning the ins and outs of the site and all it's goings-on, I figured the easiest thing to do would be to offer free shipping. SO I DID!
I have also been trying to post in some forums/threads and so I actually am seeing an increase in traffic to my store and of course finding tons of cool stuff out there!
From all of my reading of other people's posts, I found a woman looking for ACEOs for her students. In between projects she has them make ACTs and then she will have a 'trading day'. She has invited any etsian who wants to donate their work to do so. I have not made any new one's in quite some time, but I offered to send along a couple of my oldies.
This, of course, inspired me to go through my old stuff and consider doing a few new ones. In the meantime, I decided to list a couple of my older cards that have removable cards for framing.
So much to do....I had better get to it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

good news

Now MY good news, of course, may be of little interest to a normal person, but I am happy about it anyway. AND, since this is my '...things that make me happy' blog, it seems the most appropriate place to log it.
My job just keeps throwing me curve-ball after curve-ball, and with the economy and my own financial situation being what they are, I am STUCK there and I feel like I am dealing with it. Sure, I have to complain about it once in awhile, but that is part of the 'therapy'. This is how we crazy people overcome our hurdles in life. How else can we be expected to get shat on day after day and still get up (now, usually BEFORE the alarm) at 4:30 every morning??
I was just forced to work 6 days this week...half of them with no help...so that my co-worker could go to Cali for 5 days. I just found out I have to work 6 days next week, as well, so that one of the girls at the other shop can go to Mexico for a week. Normally, it would not have affected me at all, but the 'back up' help over there, cut her finger and can not work til after Monday, at which point she is a 'maybe' to come back. Why so sad about it...it's just a job? I basically have to cancel the plans I had for St. Patrick's Day poker night, hair cut (which I so desperately need...or is the mullet coming back? ), oil change (b/c I'm pretty sure my car isn't supposed to smell as if it is going to over-heat EVERY time I drive it), oh, and my birthday.
BUT NONE OF THAT MATTERS ANYMORE. Having had so much time by myself these past few days, I have decided that I just don't care. I will continue to do what I have to do to pay the bills, but it's just a J-O-B.
I have made time for myself every day this week to workout. And I feel great. Little by little I am doing creative things into the evenings. I am an early day type person. I do my best thinking/creating in the early hours so that I can relax the rest of the day away. But when I am 'at work' my day is wasted. So I am making an effort to stimulate the creative side of my brain later in the day. It's slow going...old dog, new tricks, you know the story. But I'm working on it and it feels good.
And if I can accomplish this without losing my job (read: income of any sort) then that is good news!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And there goes the morning...

My life seems to be turning in a way I had not expected. With hubby out of work (well, 9-5, 'here's your paycheck' work) I thought I would still be okay. But as time goes by, and he sends out his resume, and he gets 'rejected'...well, the panic starts to set in. All he has ever wanted was to be a freelance artist/illustrator. And it seems, through losing his job and causing me grey hairs (yes, I -at age 35- finally have my first 'OMG there it is' grey hair for all the world to see), he has finally hit the ground running with his dream. He has picked up a few jobs in the past few days, so things DO look promising. But it's freelance...it's pay-per-job. Once it's done, we're back to square one: me working 5am -3pm, to come home to take care of the cat (thank goodness he walks the dog while he's home!), squeeze in an hour (yes...an HOUR... I NEED it, please give me this one thing!) to workout, and then a little time to try to be creative.
What's my problem?? Well, my problem is that I want to work in my studio. I want the weather to get warmer (so not something I really look forward to...heat, yuck!) so that it's not 30below zero in the basement so that I can work without frozen fingers.

Why am I complaining so much? Probably because I am usually at work right now, being distracted by OTHER PEOPLE'S problems so I just don't know what to do with myself.
It was my intention to use this morning to get some things done that I would otherwise have to put off til the afternoon. Yet, here I sit, roaming the internet, catching up on blogs, emails, internet sales (no, I'm not buying anything...unfortunately). I was hoping to get some new pictures taken for some new etsy listings but it's gray and cloudy...the light and mood are not right for me.

Hubby's off to the city today, so I will have an empty house after work (after I go to work for 3 whole hours...what a waste of a day!), maybe I can get some stuff done then. At least I will get to workout (I am determined to lose these 15 pounds!)

Sunday, March 8, 2009


What a great weekend for the time change. Spring is definitely in the air, here on Cape Cod. It's around low- to mid-40's now...overcast, as it IS supposed to rain today. So we 'lost' an hour, but I still got up as normal. Can anyone tell me WHY it is so hard to get up at 4:30am on days when I HAVE to, yet Sunday morning rolls around -me, looking forward to sleeping in- and my mind races in a way that will not let me sleep past 3:30!? I guess there's some crazy 'law' for that...some crazy friend of Murphy.

On to other oddities: hubby and I attended a social gathering yesterday. Now, anyone who knows me can tell you, I am NOT a social being. I could be quite happy being a shut-in...no problem. I think that as the years have gone by, it has become more so, and I blame it on the fact that my job has me 'chit-chatting' with several dozens of people on a daily basis and it can get old, fast. At any rate, one of my 'regulars' had recently been found to be, not only the brother of another guy we knew when we lived on Nantucket, but also a good friend of another of our friends (and regular at hubby's weekly poker games)! So we have become friendly, his wife is also a semi-regular at the bagel shop and both are lovely people, and they invited us to their St. Patrick's Day Parade After-party.
**Now, Cape Cod has some very strange ...habits, rules, goings-on. We all know St. Patrick's Day is March 17, right? Well, our local parade was yesterday...March 7. The rumor is: it was early to give people the opportunity to make it to the big Boston parade, as well. Fine, works for me...just wanted to clear up why we were attending a party almost 2 weeks before the actual holiday.**
Anyway, given my penchant for bailing on most social outings, even after agreeing to go, it was quite a feat for me to even leave the house. We stayed only long enough to say hello, have a beer, meet some new people, and (omg, say isn't so....) feel my heart skip a beat when an adorable little boy wrapped his arms around my leg to 'hide-and-seek' with one of the adults. It is nice to get out once in awhile, and even better when it can all be done within 2 short hours! We even side-tracked to the beach for a couple minutes, on the way home!

Today will be spent (hopefully) making paper. I have to get working on my samples if I want to have stuff to send in a couple months. Etsy is at stand-still. Still working when I can, but no sales lately. Gotta get myself out there!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

faces of the family

I was editing some photos and listing some etsy stuff and Moxie curled up next to me. I just can't resist photography that pug!! I played around with the settings and even got a shot of Hanzo in his favorite position: asleep on the back of the sofa.

Always innocent
Upside-down pug mug

Keeping the back of the sofa warm

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Doggy bags and new frontiers

Well, things at work are all messed up, so here I am home on a Wednesday, but not as I had envisioned. I am making the most of a day in the middle of the week, by ignoring my husband and playing with my newest stencils.

I spent the bulk of the morning reading up on ways to market myself/my etsy shop. Is it just me, or is it too easy to get caught up reading stuff online?? It seems you open up one article to read, that links you to another article (sometimes more helpful; sometimes, not helpful at all), which links you to someone else doing something completely different but still very intriguing, and ultimately I have to remind myself that money is tight right now and why am I suddenly shoe shopping anyway???

Despite all the reading (for several hours) this morning, I did manage to print up two cute tote bags. The stencil shifted while printing the first one (note to self: buy large clamps to hold the screen down) so I had to go back in with my fine bristled brush and fill in some spots...still looked okay to me. Once everything was cleaned and dried, I went back for more and printed, with the same stencil, a second bag...this time in green. Oh, how cute. But, since I had a perfect one to compare with the first, hubby says he can tell I messed up the first one. I still love the new 'Doggy Bags'.

I've also decided to try to get into the sampler. I will not make it for this coming month's package, but I am hoping to get things together for the next month. There is still snow on the ground but it's never too early to start thinking about the next winter holiday season, right?

It is strange, too, how researching marketing ideas and discovering new ways to promote your stuff can spark new creative fires in you. I find myself ending this blog so that I can get back to my task of creating my samples!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

keep dreamin' the dream

I'm trying hard to keep my head up. Things at work are crazy in a way you never want work to be crazy. But I have been making as much effort as I can by using free time to craft, not waiting for my 'extra day off' to come. Just as I'm about to go from salaried, 5 days a week to hourly 4 days a week, the Saturday girl decided not to come in anymore...so that makes 6 days this week. And although that leaves little time OUT of work, i have finished two new journals. They are basic in their shape and design, but I really think they turned out pretty cute.

I am really hoping I can use any extra time to promote myself better, but that is really where I am having the hardest time of this 'project'. There is so much great stuff out there, and it is all so inspiring ....I just want to be a part of it.