Sunday, September 27, 2009

I WON! I WON! I WON! And I Never WIN Ever!!!

I was so excited to get a message this morning from Amy over at Mod Podge Rocks, letting me know that I won one of the cool starter pack prizes she offered as part of her very first giveaway! I have been wanting to try all the different types of mod podge available for some time now.

This cool kit comes with 5 different bottles of Mod Podge that can be used to decoupage a variety of surfaces such as fabric, paper and wood. I am so thrilled and can't wait to start trying new projects with it. Did I mention that I never win AAAAAAANNNNNYTHING! So this was a nice and refreshing surprise. Thank you so much Amy! :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vintage Playing Cards.

I found this neat set of vintage playing cards in my flikr ephemera pool and was so excited
to share them with you. I think they would make lovely covers to a set of mini
books to give as gifts or to keep on a coffee table
holding mini pictures of whatever. I love how
the sepia tone of them
has just a hint
of pink.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Making Sense Of It All.

For months now I have been hearing about this whole John & Kate thing. I must admit that I had no clue as to who these two people were until they hit the front pages of the news stands and appeared in little snippets on the evening news. Because the t.v. shows that I watch tend to be documentaries, news magazines and classic films I only recently found out about the scandal involving the extramarital affairs of the husband John. Learning that the couple had 8 small children shed some light on the situation for me. The stresses that must bring were obvious.

So the other night as I am flipping through the channels I see the promo for the John & Kate show that was just starting and decided to watch it for the first time. As I sat there and watched I could not believe what I was seeing! The adorable kids were amazing and smart but what disturbed me greatly about this program was the way the wife, Kate, treated her husband! As I sat there in amazement I watched several more episodes. This woman was downright horrible with a capital H to him! You could hear the disdain and disgust for him in her voice every time she spoke to him or of him. What was even more disturbing was the way he would cower down when publicly (and on national television no less) humiliated by his wife. I couldn't believe that Kate would act this way for the whole world to see and I wondered how much worse she treated him when the cameras were not rolling!

Now don't get me wrong. I later learned that he had an affair and that is unacceptable and a deal breaker in my opinion but I suspect that the problems started much earlier in the marriage and long before the affair.

This got me to thinking about men in general and how different they are from women from the start. Stroking the ego of a man is not something enjoyed by most women in general but oddly enough, it seems to be just as necessary as our need to have our man tell us we look beautiful or that we are great wives and mothers. The bottom line in my opinion is that a man needs to know that he is making his woman happy in order to "Feel" like a man. Believe it or not, they crave our approval and nothing makes them prouder than to feel like they did something for us that made us beam. Granted, some men are just rotten to the core but for the most part the average, well rounded man proudly seeks out opportunities to gain his wife's approval and respect.

I am quite sure that throughout this marriage, John realized how much his wife despised mostly everything about him and therefore he looked elsewhere for approval. He was totally wrong for going outside the marriage instead of seeking ways to improve his own but the inevitable path that this marriage would take seemed unavoidable. However, the fact that these kinds of relationships and marriages do exist got me to thinking about some wise words that I once heard. They were from an older, grey haired, gentleman who was speaking to a group of women and giving advice on how to have a long and successful marriage. He and his wife had been happily married for many, many years and so he was well qualified to give such advice.

With wisdom and authority he addressed the young women and said that "the key to a happy marriage is to treat each other with respect. Husbands should not disregard their wives opinions and should highly regard them with dignity and respect. On the other hand, wives should never try to dominate their husbands and force them into submission on any matter. (And here is the part that really stuck with me). Because if a woman tries to dominate her husband and treats him with disdain and disgust....he won't like her...and more importantly....he won't like himself!

As I finished watching John & Kate those words of wisdom came back to me and I realized that I was seeing that situation playing out right in front of me. It really made me sad for the children who were no doubt paying close attention to the interactions of their parents and quite possibly learning all the wrong examples and behaviours for an unhappy and unsuccessful marriage. How sad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Do You Spell Relief?


That's how I spell relief. Today is the first day of fall and I can't say good riddance to summer fast enough! The hot temperatures here in southern California are just about gone with the exception of this final week where we will see temps above 105 degrees in places.
It's time to throw an extra blankie on the bed and unpack your sweaters and boots. So sit back, relax and enjoy the change of the season.
I know I will!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Old Grey Mare...And All That Sort Of Rot.

Boy oh boy have I been feeling my age this past week! "The 'ol' grey mare just ain't what she used to be. At 36 I wonder how in the world it is possible to be feeling so darn old these days. My back hurts, my energy is low and my stomach feels like a bubbling cauldron of acid every single night!

This should come as no surprise to me as I distinctly remember my mother always heading off to bed with a roll of tums in one hand and an aspirin in the other. Just the other day I mentioned to her how I have begun to have stomach acid problems and she said that her problems started in her 30's as well. Oh No, I said. You see I love my peppers and onions and the very thought of giving them up in my cooking sends shivers up my spine.

I love ethnic foods. Jamaican, Indian, Thai you name it and I will try it. So giving up my peppers, onions and spicy foods just "ain't" gonna happen anytime soon. Along with my misbehaving stomach is my disobedient back. Just the other day it decided to spasm and lock up so bad that I couldn't even get up off the couch! What's that all about? I feel like I need a walker or something.

My sister has always laughed at me and said that I am an old lady at heart. Mainly because I love all things old and vintage...heck, I even love elderly people. I am usually the person sitting in the corner with the elderly grandma or grandpa at gatherings asking question after question about their life and experiences.

This is why it came as no surprise to me the other day while complaining to my sister about all my aches and pains that she said something so hilariously funny and true. After listing all my recent ailments I explained that I wanted to purchase a Craftmatic adjustable bed because they are supposed to be good for back and indigestion problems. She looked at me and without batting and eye she said "If you get that bed....then the transformation will be complete." I guess I truly am old at heart!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shaker Cards.

What is it about moving parts on a greeting card that just seems to capture our attention much more than a regular old card? Is it the sound, the motion, the fun? It could be all of the above but for me it is the interactive nature of the card that makes it much more special. Shaker Cards are the perfect example of an interactive style greeting card.

There are many other styles that might catch the eye such as pop up cards, or cards that play music but shaker cards play on the child-like qualities that have been within us from birth. What person never played with a rattle as a baby, or rattled the box of a gift just before opening it as a child? I think that must be why the "shaker" noise appeals to us so much as adults. It gives us an opportunity to look back and remember the simple toys of our first years.

I have always wanted to try my hand at making one of these fun cards but just never got around to it. They always seemed to be a little more involved than my schedule would allow at the time. Then I found the most wonderful shaker card tutorial from Kristin over at Leading A Craftastic Life!

Her blog is so fun and informative and always has some kind of fabulous giveaway going on or special offer at her adorable Craftastic Boutique. One thing I really like about her blog is that it is updated frequently so there is always something new and exciting to see. When she posted this tutorial on shaker cards I was surprised by how incredibly simple they were to make.

Want to try your hand at making a shaker card? Watch the above tutorial and see how easy it can be to make one of these fun cards. Then be sure to stop over for a visit to Kristin's blog the next time you go blog hopping and try some of the many other interesting projects and techniques posted for your enjoyment and have fun shaking!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory Of Our Many Friends.

Wise king Solomon said it best when he said in the book of Ecclesiastes 8:9

"All this I have seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt".

Bearing this thought in mind and with painful reflection, it is simply heartbreaking to see the injury that one human being can cause to another. Please hug your family, friends and neighbors in memory of all the friends, family and loved ones lost on this terrible and tragic day in history.

-Cindy Shea

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tortilla Smackdown 2009!

Today proved to be a victorious day for me indeed! You see many years ago when I was first married and was an eager newlywed, I decided that I would surprise my husband with a batch of freshly made, homemade tortillas. He is of Spanish decent and was quite used to the delicious hand rolled tortillas made by his mother for many years.

Although I was newly married I had already considered myself a pretty advanced cook prior to marriage. Living on my own I had enjoyed preparing gourmet dishes for not only myself but also for friends and even the older couple who lived in the apartment just above me. They were my taste testers for many of my cooking adventures. In fact, the husband would often peek his head out the door and call down the stairs to my window when he smelled something cooking and ask what they would be "sampling" this time?

So here I was newly married, an advanced cook and full of all the eagerness to please of a new wife. I set about making the tortillas from scratch. It turned out to be a lot more work than I expected. I couldn't get the texture just right and the flavor was a whole other story that I won't go into!

Tortillas finished and artfully arranged on a platter, my husband comes through the door from a hard day's work. "I made you a surprise", I said. He spotted the tortillas and flashed a bright smile as he eagerly reached for one. "Wait!", I shouted. "Before you taste these I know that you know how hard I worked on them but I want your honest to goodness opinion on them". "I want you to tell me if they are as good as your mom's and don't lie! "I promise, I won't be hurt if you tell me the truth!" With fear and trepidation he took that first bite. I could tell by the effort it took to force down that first bite that the news wasn't good. I can still see the look of fear come across his face as he struggled to answer the question.

Finally he got the courage and said "Well, yeah, I guess they are as, no, I mean they ARE as good....but they do have a, um... a different, not quality but..... By that point I had already burst into tears of humiliation and embarrassment and found myself running up the stairs to the comfort of a locked bedroom door to bawl my eyes out!

Of course he was hot on my heals trying to console me by taking it all back. Suddenly they were THE BEST tortillas he had ever eaten and he tried to prove it by painfully eating one after another. (Poor guy!) *laughing hysterically as I write this* And so that is how the great tortilla debacle ended with me never attempting to make them again.

So here it is, ten years later and this afternoon I attempted to beat the beast one last time. I gathered all of my weaponry which consisted of all my supplies and a new and authentic recipe. This time I followed each step meticulously and added a few tricks learned by my more experienced palette. Halfway in, everything had gone smoothly and I felt good that these were going to come out fabulous! They rolled out just right, they cooked up even better! Finally I tasted one and they were Delicious. I was so proud. Once again I artfully arranged them on a decorative serving piece and lay in wait for my husband to return from work. The excitement was almost more than I could stand as I eagerly awaited my redemption.

When he walked through the door and saw that plate of tortillas you should have seen the expression wash across his face! It was a look of sheer terror as flashbacks danced across his memory I am sure. "Look honey", I said. "I made you a surprise!"...pretending not to recall the previous trauma of tortilla-gate.

Then came the moment of truth. I handed him one and he slowly took a bite. As he chewed, a smirk of approval came over his face and I knew that I had done good. "These really ARE good...I mean these are good!", he said. I knew he was sincere when he ate several more and this time he slathered a bit of butter over each piece as he had always done when eating his mothers tortillas. When I asked him if they were as good as his mothers, he looked at me with a smile and with a bit of loyalty to his mother in his voice, he said " I think you guys are neck and neck now." Hey, that was good enough for me. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Crafty Danger!

You have seen them everywhere. You will find them at office supply stores, scrapbook parties and most recently in craft stores. They are tag guns and although they can add a lot of really cool things to your cards, layouts, and paper crafts; they can also add years of heartache and illness to your life if not used correctly.

Tag guns or paper taggers as they are more commonly known to the craft world are used to attach and affix any number of items to a surface using flexible plastic "T" tags that penetrate and catch the surface of whatever you are attaching it to. The tags are widely available in a variety of colors.

The use of these fun tag guns will come at a high price for many if they are not used properly. This is because a tag gun needle stick is no different than a hypodermic needle stick! Now that I have your attention let me explain why this can be so extremely dangerous. When you accidentally prick your finger with a tag gun (which is guaranteed to happen at some time or another) you expose the needle tip to bio hazardous material, namely your blood. The pricked area usually stops bleeding after a quick second but the danger is by no means over. It is when you then share your tag gun with others that the real danger presents itself.

For instance, you are at a scrapbook party and you bring your tag gun along. You accidentally stick your finger and set it down. Someone else picks it up and uses it and sticks themselves. Yet another person uses it and does the same thing! Finally you go to use it again and stick yourself once more. You have now been exposed to the possible blood borne pathogens of the two others that just used your gun!

Blood borne pathogens can include such things as hepatitis, MRSA, HIV and AIDS! Remember, tag gun needle sticks are no different than hypodermic needle sticks. You may think that cleaning the gun with alcohol or bleach after each person would remedy the problem but you would be wrong. Tag guns have a 3 part mechanism that does not allow for them to be cleaned at all three points (the inside of the needle barrel) with a simple household cleaner. Although you can purchase specialty cleaners ; most people are not aware that they will need one when sharing their gun and they inadvertently put themselves and others at risk.

So how can you enjoy the use of a tagging gun in your arts and crafts while remaining safe at the same time? The best practice would be to never share your gun with another person. Make sure that everyone present respects your decision not to share your gun as well. The other option would be to purchase one of the specialty cleaners designed specifically for the cleaning of tag gun needles and mechanisms.

This post was very important to me as I was recently stuck by one of these guns. Later that night I began to think about it and decided to do a bit of research. I was floored by what I found and therefore wanted to share my findings with you. I have since been to the Dr. and everything has turned out fine but WOW what a scare. I urge you all to be safe, be alert, and be educated about the potential risks of using these tag guns. They can be wonderful tools for your arts and crafts when used safely and correctly.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mod Podge Rocks!

Do you Mod Podge? Ok what about Royal Coat? If you know what either one of these things are then you probably know all out Amy from Mod Podge Rocks! Amy is the creator of Mod Podge Rocks and she is absolutely awesome. She creates some of the most amazing pieces using -you guessed it- Mod Podge.

Amy is a 32 year old creative genius who hales from Seattle but is now residing in Atlanta, Georgia. She is not only an expert in the use of standard Mod Podge but many of her projects feature some of the newer forms such as fabric Mod Podge, hard coat Mod Podge and many others.

Her blog, Mod Podge Rocks contains so much great information and projects all using this versatile medium. Her left hand side bar is chock full of projects to try and she has kindly organized them into easily locatable categories.

One of my favorite tabs to check out frequently is her decoupaged furniture section. She has made some gorgeous pieces that would have the likes of Martha Stewart and Crate and Barrel taking notes. She has created awesome dressers, tables, name it, she has probably made it and made it fabulous!

When I first stumbled upon her blog (quite by accident) I was trying to get to another site and as I reached to re-type the correct address my eye caught just the title of her blog. Hmmm, I said to myself and began to read and WOW was I hooked! She is so knowledgeable and informative about decoupage that I thought for sure that she must work for Plaid Enterprises who is the creator of Mod Podge. I was amazed upon further reading that she does not work for the company but she just really loves to decoupage and she has been kind enough to share her projects with the world.

I urge you to check out Mod Podge Rocks on your next blog hopping adventure because I know you will come away feeling inspired to create something with Mod Podge. You will find contests, tutorials, tips, and before and after photos of the many projects she has undertaken and completed. One visit to this blog and I just know you will be in your car and on your way to your nearest craft store for some Mod Podge chanting "Mod Podge Rocks" all the way there!

*You will also find her badge permanently in my sidebar so that you can go straight to her blog after visiting mine the next time you are here. I encourage you to also bookmark the site or follow it via your reader so that you don't miss out on any of her frequently updated projects!

Did You Know?

Did you know that most of the photo images that appear along with my blog posts' can be downloaded and used however you would like in your artwork? I make it a point to include images that are copyright free and available for use in your different art mediums at your discretion. If you see something you would like to use simply click on the image and you will get a larger version of it that you can then save to your computer. Absolutely NONE of the images, however should be used to create digital collage sheets or CD images for sale under any circumstances. I try to use mostly vintage images but you will find the occasional picture that seems off the wall or a little out of place. They will usually tell a story or illustrate a similar experience or emotion.

I do ask however, that you do NOT use any of my personal photos or vintage family photos in your artwork or for any other reason. I appreciate your respect and understanding in this matter. They are easily identifiable as I usually discuss family photos that accompany my blog posts' in detail. I would really have to hate to begin watermarking my personal photos like so many others have to do on their blogs but until I see a problem I will just stick to the age old honor system. I am always on the hunt for collage sheets to post as well like this neat bird's egg sheet. Feel free to create something wonderful with it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trailer Park Barbie?

You know Barbie is turning 50 this year! How's that for a Vintage Vignette! 50 is actually quite young in my book, however, I don't think she has aged very well. It must be the cigarettes. I suppose with Ken in and out of the slammer it is probably hard to stay motivated to get "pretty" each and every day. She can still play a mean hand of poker though!

Disclaimer: Let it be said that I have nothing against trailer parks at all! This was simply the title I chose to go with the photo for the gals participating in Tacky Tuesday. I thought it would be an appropriately tacky title. Don't you? ;)