Wednesday, November 30, 2011

more snow, but no snow

I started making my paper snowflakes awhile ago, hoping to get some in my shop for the holidays.  Instead, I had a friend ask for a trio of different sizes for her window.  I gave then to her as a hostess gift when we went over last weekend and she loved them.  She wants me to teach a class at the creative arts center, but I just can't do it.  For one, I am no public speaker.  I am a nervous person by nature, anyway, but put me in front of a group of people and it's adrenaline city (and not in a good way) and I'm a shaky mess for hours.  The real kicker, though, is that she wanted me to teach a children's class!  I am so not a kid person that the thought of it just made me laugh.  My friend says, 'I think you should teach a class for kids at the creative arts center!' My immediate reaction, 'HAHAHAHA! That's a good one!'

Well, the good news was that I finished her snowflakes in a couple of days and was eager to get some in the shop, finally.  Then I got a facebook message on my fan page from another friend.  She wants some to hang in her bakery!!  She's less specific about what she wants, so I'm just making some in all sizes for her to hang.

If I had done this weeks ago, I may have been able to actually SELL some for this winter, but it's coming fast. 
Tomorrow, it's December!  You wouldn't know it by the 50 or so degree weather we've been having here on the Cape, though.  I believe we have had 2 or 3 days of cold weather in November.  I have worn my wool coat once.  Other than that, I have been out in the afternoon, walking dogs wearing short sleeves, or at most, a sweatshirt!

It's not keeping me from listening to Christmas music while I work on snowflakes, though!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not at work!  This is the first time in 3 years that I have had the holidays off (other than last Thanksgiving when I had to leave town in order to not have to work).  It is the trouble with working with animals...people tend to leave their pets behind on holidays.  I can't quite figure it out, personally, but that is the way it is.  If you are flying, I get that.  Or maybe your family has allergies?  Fine.  But, being the type who would rather get a pet SITTER than lock my dog up in a cage for a week, it is a struggle every year.  But that's not the point...
It's Thanksgiving!  I hope all of you that celebrate, are able to do so with your families (if you wish to do so!) :)

I'm not going to lie, my mind is on last year, when we got to go away for a bit.  This year's holiday has been good, though.  I ended up having today off, as I said. Plus, I got out at noon yesterday, and gave away my shift tomorrow...that's nearly 3 days off! 
And, yesterday was our 11th wedding anniversary.  We did movie and dinner.  We saw the Muppets.  It was so good!  #1 there were very few children in the audience (and it was a small crowd, too, which I like).  Despite the fact that it was raining cats and dogs AND it was opening day, it wasn't crowded...I hate crowded movie theaters...well, I'm not great with crowds at all.  #2 because of the older crowd, everyone was laughing out loud because they 'got' it!  They REMEMBER the Muppet Show.  I felt so nostalgic watching it, that I think I almost cried once or twice!  I know, that's weird...really weird, but it made me long for 'the good old days' when silliness was funny.  I like wholesome hilarity, and often get 'made fun of' for liking jokes about elephants breaking fences and what time one should go to the dentist.  (Again, I'm getting off track)  It was a good movie.  If you watched the Muppet Show, growing up, you may want to see this movie.  I don't like to recommend movies, since every one's tastes are different, so I just say 'I liked it'.
Then dinner at the restaurant I worked at many years ago...where I was working when Jason proposed 13 years ago (yes, we were engaged for 2 years before finally throwing our arms up and saying 'let's just go to Vegas!'  We've actually been together for 16 years altogether.) I like that I can still go there and have people know's the beauty of small town living, I think.  It was the thing I missed most when we moved to Nantucket, and the first thing that hit me when we moved back here.  I, since it's Thanksgiving and all, have to say that I am very thankful for our close-knit 'family' of friends that we have gained along the way, here on Cape Cod. 
Today will be just Hubby and me.  He'll be cooking; I'll be puttering about.  We'll both be drinking beer (from our local brewery, of course) and watching football (GO LIONS!).  It's finally stopped raining, so we can get our walk to the beach, and get coffee and see our friends before they close up at noon.

Tomorrow, I decided it would be fun to pay homage to our trip last year by making tapas and sangria.  We had a great anniversary dinner at Julian Serrano's Tapas restaurant at the Aria in Vegas last memorable, we have thought about it all year long.  A lot of people are surprised that we like Vegas so much, but it really is a great place to experience a lot of great food, by great chefs, all in one place.  I also have fallen in love with cocktail hour...and there are tons of little lounges out there.  It's just a great place to 'hang out'.  (yes, I know, my vocabulary is limited today...'great' is all I can come up with.)
In the evening, we've been invited to a chocolate fondue party.  One of our friends has been seeing a woman for most of this year, and apparently she has done this in the past, so this year we are invited.  They provide the chocolate and wine, and we each bring something to dip.  Fruit? not likely!  I am bringing marshmallows.  How stupid am I, that I couldn't figure out why they were nearly sold out!  I've never been a marshmallows on my sweet potatoes kind of girl, so I couldn't figure it out.  I am also making rice crispy treats, and thought 'is everyone making rice crispy treats for Thanksgiving??'  What I really wanted was the coconut marshmallows, but those I could not find. Maybe I'll try another store before we head out, tomorrow. 
I am also excited to hand off the quilled snowflakes.  I am giving them as a hostess gift.  I'm going to try to see if I can get some feedback as far as 'how much would you pay for these?'  I think they are really pretty, and they're not a quick project, but I'm new to these and need a starting point for pricing.   Of course, I'm nowhere near a position to be able to sell them this year...probably.

This post is much longer than I was expecting.  I'm going to end it with some things I'm thankful for...the little things, of course! Other than my adoring, always supportive and loving husband.
My sisters and aunt (who is more a sister than aunt) and their significant others (for making them happy).
The first sip of eggnog in my morning coffee, while listening to Bing and friends singing Christmas classics, and 'window shopping' online wearing my flannel reindeer jammies.
Old friends, even if I only see them once a year, or may never see again.  New friends...even though some of them I will probably never 'see' at all.  Future friends...I know they're out there!
My best little furry friend, Moxie...and the time I got to spend with my pal Hanzo.
Of course the list goes on, but for me, it's always been the little things that count in life.  The big things are easier to work out, when you have all the little things in place.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

an apology. and more pics

I feel like I should apologize for my post last night.  Not that it was bad, or anything like that; but, I have to admit that I was on the phone with my sister as I was trying to finish it before Hubby came home with dinner.  It was abrupt and odd, but perhaps that is my style?
At any rate, I have indeed been working on a small project for a friend.  I had wanted to get some snowflakes done to put in my etsy shop in time for Christmas shoppers.  There were days when I was getting some stuff done, but only little by little; not really hitting high gear at any point.  I was two flakes in, listing them on my facebook page, and getting some positive feedback from my close friends.  With the second one, I had a friend ask what I was doing with these snowflakes...can she buy them somewhere.  I was not ready to list any, b/c I wanted to have at least half a dozen done first, but I said of course I would make one for her.  She asked for a trio, in different sizes, to hang in her window.  So that is what I've been working on.  I have to say, it really made me work to get them done in a timely manner; instead of, 'whenever I get to it'.  I'm happy with the end result.   As I was photographing the finished trio, I noticed the last one I made was off somehow. 
My attempt at some asymmetry was making it lopsided...of course, because snowflakes are always symmetrical, aren't they!?  So, with a quick fix, I'm even more in love with it!
I was toying with adding some silver glitter, but I still just can't decide.  It may be 'too much' for window dressing.  Maybe for a one or two on a tree, but probably not for a window.  Perhaps I'll ask her.
I have a pretty good process in place, too.  I had found a box of white bathroom tiles in our attic when we moved into our house.  I had (a brilliant) idea, when we were doing craft fairs, to use the tiles as price signs.  Using dry erase markers, you can re-use the tiles.  So, now I draw out a general idea of how I want a snowflake and work off that.  Usually I change some things along the way, but it's a great little starting point.
I'm not going to lie, listening to Christmas music is helping, too!

This is the first year in 3 years that I have the holidays off.  Last year, we went to Vegas for Thanksgiving, but I paid the price by having to work Christmas eve, Christmas day, and the day after Christmas at the kennel.  The year before I had to work both holidays, too.  This year, I lucked out and the other girl doesn't mind working. 
Now that we have so much time together next week, we are pretty excited.  Wednesday is our 11th wedding anniversary, so we are going to see the new Muppet movie and go out for dinner at the restaurant I used to work at.  The night he proposed to me, we went in to tell my co-workers, and have a celebratory drink.  The owner of the place opened some champagne and toasted was sweet.
Then, thanksgiving at our house is pre-packaged.  Hubby makes a turkey breast (we never eat any other part), boxed stuffing, instant potatoes, a green bean casserole (of course), canned cranberry sauce for him, and I'll probably make myself some acorn squash this year.  And we usually pick up some sort of pie at our friends' bakery.  It's very low-key.  That way, we can take a long walk in the morning, and then watch the Lions play football.  I'm from Michigan, and always root for my 'home' team, probably more because they are always the underdog and almost never win.  Last year, we watched the game at Lagasse Stadium in the Palazzo.  I put $10 on the Lions to win.  I had to actually repeat myself, as the booking-guy didn't think anyone would expect the Lions to beat the Patriots!  This year, the Lions are starting off as a good team...I'm hoping for some redemption.  They're playing Green Bay, though...too bad my mom's not here, that's always been 'her' team (though, I've never understood why).
Yes, that was a lot more information than anyone probably needed to know, but I think my lack of blogging has caused back up of information I feel the need to purge.

Happy Friday, everyone!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

happy to be busy

I have been posting some snowflakes on my facebook page, as I work on them.  So, my small circle of friends have been very supportive and complimentary.  And, in doing so, a friend of mine has asked for a trio of snowflakes in different sizes.  I have been busy doing that, and feeling good about the time management in making these.

In other news, what is happening to my hair!?
 I think having my hair so short for so long has caused my baby curls to resurface! Not that I'm complaining, i just wish my hair would grow longer instead of bigger.
We're looking forward to our anniversary/Thanksgiving time off.  Especially since I was not going to get a day off at all, due to having to work at the kennel on the holiday, but instead ended getting Thanksgiving off totally, and gave up my Friday at the grocery store, AND i only work until noon on Wednesday!  That's almost 3 days off together!!  It's not a week in Vegas, like last year, but it'll do.
Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving?  Who has to travel with the masses?  Whatever you are doing or going, I hope everyone has a great holiday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

not cool!

I was going about my day, lunch, workout...the usual, no big whoop.  Then, I checked my phone, as I have been forgetting to take it off 'vibrate' when i leave work (subconscious attempt to avoid actual interaction with other human beings?  who can say for sure?) and see that I have missed a call.  I don't recognize the number (an '800' number...probable telemarketer), but they have left a voicemail, which I check.  It's one of my credit card companies calling due to some 'suspicious charges' to my account.  Last time I got a call like this was when Hubby bought his new computer, so it was a random HUGE charge to a card we rarely use.  I had used my credit card for gas back in October, when we were switching our banks over, and I wasn't sure how much money was in each account, yet.  But since then, and I double checked online AND with hubby just to make sure, neither of us had used it.  So I called the number left in the message.  As the automated 'woman' started listing charges, my heart sank and I began to feel ill.  'Five HUNDRED, seventy-nine dollars and twenty-six cents at [an inaudible] beauty salon'!!  $249 and change at a sporting goods store!  and a $3 charge somewhere else (I had a hard time hearing the specifics).  So, I wait, and press whatever number to deny the charges and get transferred to an operator...who is also very hard to understand.  I think she said her name was 'Charming'!?  Anyway, she repeats the charges (I discovered the $3 charge was at a pet store, and was declined), adding another nearly $300 charge to the list!!  Oh, my!!
Well, I give her all my info and she says they are closing the account and rushing new cards at no charge.  Also that I should wait on the line for an automated message with more information (which included the statement that they will inform all credit bureaus that our account was closed due to suspicious activity, so it won't affect our credit.)
I hang up and feel a little better, but then start to worry that the phone call was a scam, and get even MORE freaked out to discover that the number I called is not on my card OR any where on their website!!  What had I done??
So I called the customer service number on my card and explain that I may have done a stupid thing.  The operator (who, again, I couldn't understand what his name was) reassured me that my account had been closed and new cards were on the way. 
What an ordeal!  What if Chase had not called about the charges??  I would've not known until the bill came and then I would've cried for days wondering what to do!  We got very upset with Chase a few years ago, and rarely use that card b/c after never being late on a payment, they jacked our rate from 9% to 15%!!  This doesn't make up for it, but it helps a little.
I hate that this happened...but the bourbon is starting to help :)

In other news, I have been creating again.  I'm not sure any of it will amount to much, but it is nice to have my hobbies back.  I'm slowly incorporating my workouts back into my schedule as well.  I'd love to quit one of my jobs (the vet) by my next birthday, but we shall see.  We always need the money.
So, I've made another snowflake.
 And a new hard cover journal.  It makes me happy to make pretty things again.

Considering a new dog (5month old Cairn terrier) but also feel like if i get another puppy, I would like to choose differently?  Hard to say...if puppies need homes, who am I to turn my nose up at a non-pug!? :)  We're not likely to take it, but a co-worker seems to be in a bind to find homes for 3 from her last litter.  A clear view of how the economy has 29 years of breeding Cairns, this is the first time she's ever had to find them homes AFTER they've actually been born!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday, Friday...

So, because of the crazy schedule at works this week, I essentially got an extra day off. I did an 'overnight' at Trader Joe's to re-set my cheese section in preparation for all the delicious turkeys that were arriving on Wednesday.  That meant, after my longest Tuesday ever (since it spilled over into Wednesday), I left work at 7:45 Wednesday morning, and didn't have to be back until Thursday off number one was reserved for lounging about, in case I decided I needed to get back some of my lost hours of sleep.  I also got my regularly scheduled day off on Friday (today), which I had planned to use as a studio day...working my little fingers to the bone to try to get some new stuff into my shop (finally).  (side note: I just got my blog issues worked was the new interface-that i hadn't been using-that solved my probs!)
Already (it's about 9 a.m.) I have had breakfast, caught up on emails, worked out for 45minutes (that felt great!), and spent about an hour in the studio.  I have 2 journals that need binding today, and I'm hoping to put together a few cover sets and pages so that I have projects I can stitch together at a moments notice.  I finished a snowflake this morning and I'm really happy with it.  I'd love to get a bunch of those done and in the shop as soon as possible.
What do you think...leave it white or maybe sprinkle it up with some glittery sparkly moon dust?
Okay...I may have to work on adding photos...that's set up differently with the new interface, too...ugh, old dogs HAVE to learn new tricks, these days!!  Which reminds me, I'm trying to figure out how to add a link on my blog to my facebook page.  A friend has been trying to explain it to me, but i'm just not getting it.  So, in the meantime, if you'd like to check it's here (I think).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

technology question...i'm full of them!

I feel like i've been left behind.  or that I never got a very important memo about blogging.  or maybe i was at work and missed an important meeting.
Whatever the issue, my blog has suffered. 
For some reason, for months now, I have only been able to publish my posts by saving, and then going to my list of posts and publishing from there.  Also, and a little more annoying, when i try to add a link, I can not hightlight a word or phase to link it to...I have to past the whole link in separately (and I don't like how it's just not as fun and 'spontaneous'.
Has anyone else had these problems and know how to fix them?  Or has blogger changed and I need some sort of update?  Or am I just destined to live with frustration in blogworld?
(don't even get me started on my issues with Twitter!! I will never figure that out!)

Also, I could get to the end of this and realize that all i had to do was switch to the 'new interface', or whatever that button is that I just clicked!

UPDATE: yep...that, at least, has solved the publishing from the open page problem!  some times I feel so dumb!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

how?? why??

How do I get everything done? How do I find time to get back into crafting without giving up something else??
I'd really like to know, because so far, it's not happening for me. In the process of trying to get back into the studio on a regular basis, I have gained 3 more pounds! I haven't worked out in months!!
I want to spend time getting my etsy back on track, but am finding it hard to get into the networking phase. It's time-consuming and not my forte. I finally got my facebook fan page up...and my regular circle of friends 'like' it, but that is all. My twittering seems pointless, as I am hovering around 5 followers (I believe I lost one due to a tweet about not being maternal).
A lot of my frustration, I think, has to do with my lack of physical activity lately. It clears my head and shoots those magical endorphins through my body, and I miss that!
I am so happy to have gotten back into the habit of crafting, though, don't get me wrong. I just wish there was a way to 'have it all'.
So that is my goal: find time for EVERYTHING.
Can I do it? Hard to say, but I won't know until I try, right?
I decided that a good way to avoid that initial 'well, now what do I do' when I sit at my craft table is to do an art mail piece. I have been wanting to get back into that little community (you guys still out there?). Recently I received a piece and thought what a bum I must appear to be, having not sent anything out in a LOOOONNG time. But I think by doing one each time I sit down to work, I kill 2 birds with one stone (art mail, done; inspiration, started) and finding time for everything will definitely call for some multi-tasking!
In the meantime, this is my latest journal:
I think I have finally mastered Coptic binding, and finalized my process for making hard covers.
Also on my list: started adding this new stuff to my shop so people can buy it!!
I've been longing to make some paper, again, too. Just what I need, something else to do! I thought I'd never do it again, but it's calling to me. Oh, paper...why do I love you so??

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jackson, Black & White

I managed to finally scan some of my photos from our trip up North. It had been MANY years since I even had my hands on my old SLR film camera, but I knew it would be the only thing that could reignite my love of photography. And, while we were up there while the leaves were changing and there were still plenty of colorful leaves to peep, I needed to use black & white film. It is my one true love. I know it's cliche, but if it wasn't for Ansel Adams, I'm not sure I would feel the way I do about photography. There, I said it.
So, anyway, here are a couple of my faves from the trip. OH, a bit of good news, too...having had my camera stashed away for a number of years (I'd say at least 5) I discovered on the way up to New Hampshire that there was a large black blob in my viewfinder. I cleaned my lenses and mirrors and everything I could from the outside, but to no avail...every time I took a picture, I thought, 'well, that could be good; or, it could have a huge black blob in the middle of it.' Getting my pics back I could see that the gunk inside does not affect the film. Yippee!! Also, I still have an unfinished roll in the camera...just like me to get side-tracked! Better get on that!
And...some eye candy...enjoy!
Jackson Falls
A little pond we passed on our walk through the outskirts of town. A tunnel leading 'to the fourth hole' on the golf course. More Jackson Falls. My Ansel Adams inspired trees. (This one I altered in photoshop a bit more. The others I just altered the color a little. I'm not sure how i feel about the black & white film that is processed as color. It seems to turn out a little on the purple side.)
I am always amazed at how black and white photos make me feel...happy. Seems strange, but maybe it's the nostalgia of it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baby, it's COLD outside!

I have no idea what the temperature is outside today. I'm not even certain what it is inside, right now; but, I do know that i am in my flannel jammies, big hooded sweatshirt, warm socks, and hand-knit hat. My fingers are like little icicles.
I like the cold, though. My favorite part of fall/winter is the accessories. If I could knit, I believe I would have a different hat/scarf/mitten set for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day! But, knitting is one of those things I never could get on board with. Maybe because I like shopping for new hats and scarves each year? Hard to say.
I almost convinced myself that I could wear one of those hats that look like sock monkeys.
I said 'no,no,no' to one of those (faux) fur lined 'trapper' type hats, even though, inside, I was screaming, 'omg! yes!!'
Then I thought, 'well, those are a bit over-the-top for me. Maybe just a little pink one with a pom-pom on top?'
I am still just wearing my original collection, right now. (The one a friend made for me years ago, and the one I made from an old sweater, with my old high school berets thrown in for good measure) But I'm ready for a fun new hat this year.
Enter Etsy and the magical knitters that abound there!
This one's ADORABLE! (source: She has a lot of really cute hats.
This one makes me warmer just looking at it!
(source: She even has socks in her shop!
This one's super cute, but I'm not sure I'm a 'brimmed hat' kind of girl. (source:
Not that i would ever pay $270 for a hat, but OMG how adorable is this one!? (source:
I could do this all day! But, I have a baby shower to go to in a couple hours and it will take me that long to psych myself up enough to not be tempted to skip it. I hate being torn between loving my pregnant friend and just not being at all maternal!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Art and reality(tv)

Hello. My name is Jen and I'm addicted to reality tv.
It's a sickness, I know, but once I start watching a show, I NEED to see how it ends. This becomes more of a problem when some of these lives go into several seasons!
Last year they put out a new reality show, Work of Art: the Next Great Artist. Hubby is an artist. My whole family is full of artsy people, and I aspire to be like them (artistically speaking). So we gave it a shot. We weren't that impressed at first, but got caught up in it and were actually happy with the guy who ended up winning. This year, we're not sure how much we like it. We have tivoed 4 episodes and have just finally watched the first one. I already know who I like to win: Michelle. All the artist have to do a 'self portrait' to hang (and then they have to take it down when they get booted off the show), and this girl made a giant head out of paper. And then, to add fuel to my fiery love for her, she uses paper in her first challenge and makes a skeleton cool. SPOILER ALERT....
she won with that! I love paper...I love seeing it being used by others!
Anyway, it is amazing how much inspiration/motivation you can get by watching others doing what you want to do. I had already been starting to find a few minutes here and there to get to the studio, but this made me want more. Thursday I got a few HOURS. Today, I got out of work very early and went straight to the studio to work. I started a journal, since one of my goals is to perfect my binding techniques, because I really love journals and love making my own.
I am having fun with quilling, too.
A friend of mine in California works on a charity around Thanksgiving time. There's a fun run (run to feed the hungry) she does, and I guess they do some stuff through the restaurant where her hubby works . And she has asked me if I'd like to donate something for their auction. So I have a few ideas for that. It is nice to have some goals again, and I LOVE giving stuff for charities.
Now I have a couple social engagements this weekend (yes, the WHOLE WEEKEND is booked for me!), and then a crazy schedule for work next week. I've mixed emotions about it. I have to work my 11 hour day at the vet tuesday, sleep a couple hours, then off to work my grocery store job from midnight to 8 wednesday morning., in essence gives me TWO days off. One day to day to craft!
I really need to carve out some time to see what else is going on out there in the arts/crafts world too! How in the world do you find time to do it all!? I am always amazed by the people who can juggle and make sense of all the elements. Kudos to you!
(boring post without pics...sorry...gotta make dinner! my goodness the day does get away from me quickly!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

all work and no play...

I FINALLY got some work done in my studio today! It seems like forever since I've had time to play with my paper and glue and scissors and such; but, the past couple of days I have carved out a couple hours for myself!
Yesterday I spent more time than I expected with other 'stuff'...wrapping gifts, closing bank accounts, grocery shopping...stuff that's kind of been piling up, just not getting done. Today I was able to make more time, with my 'stuff list' getting smaller. I wanted to scan some of my film camera photos from our recent trip, but I ran out of time. Maybe next week? Seems like I haven't seen Hubby in a long time, with all the work he's been doing and the arrival of his new computer taking him away to his own studio.
But here's what I've been doing...I'm so happy to have been getting some creative things going.
I found some old photos I had taken (really old...I took most of them when I was just 20!!) I thought it would be fun to put some of my quilled pieces into the photos: like this bird at sunset.
I decided to make a tiny journal... and add some quilling to the front cover! I don't know if it's a good idea, since it may not hold up well, but I thought it was super cute!
And that's the bulk of it for now. Time to get some dinner on the table...