Thursday, July 9, 2009

Carpe Smurf


The Smurfs: Season 1: Vol. 1

I'm returning The Smurfs Season 1: Volume 1 to Netflix today... I love the Smurfs! This is the first time I've watched them since waaaay back when they were on TV on Saturday mornings! (Remember SmurfBerry Crunch?) 

I watched only three of the six episodes, or, actually, mini-sodes. I thought, should I watch them all? I want to, but on the other hand, if there are only six on this DVD and six on the next (and last) DVD of the season... I want to save some for later. On the other hand, if the world ends tomorrow, I want to have seen all the Smurf episodes I can. At the same time, if it really is the end of the world, hopefully I am going to heaven, and I believe in my heart that there are real Smurfs in heaven. You can play with them, and if you want, live with them in their little Smurf village.

So it was a classic instance of the epic struggle (well, not epic, but let's say epic, because it sounds cooler): Carpé Smurf vs. Carpe-how-many-DVDs-are-they-going-to-release-and-I-don't-want-to-use-them-up-all-at-once.

Netflix has Smurfs Season 1, a two-DVD season; The Smurfs: True Blue Friends, which is a collection of episodes from Season 2; and The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, which is, I'm just going to tell you right now, not that great of a movie. It's one of the ones where they bring in humans or human-type creatures, and that takes the focus away from the Smurfs. Who wants that? Nobody.

I do love Smurfs and am happy to trade items in my online shops (handmade as well as supplies/ephemera) for Smurf-related items. I am especially interested in foreign (to me, non.-U.S.) items, such as Pitufos (Spanish), Puffos, etc. If you have an offer, please just leave me a comment below or contact me through my CreativeSundries Etsy shopor CuriousSundries or (preferred) ArtFire

For example, I can trade for some of these cool bottles in exchange for Smurf goods (I'm no longer selling them, but trades are fine). 
x5 Clear Glass Vials with Corks Tiny Bottles

Smurf you very much! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How...?

   

I've been browsing Etsy for ephemera... and I've come across some shops with 400 items.. 900 items... and a shop with 4,000 ITEMS! Yiiiikes. How do you get 4,000 frelling items in your shop? Who does that? Etsy is loving those fees! Hahaha!

   

Ads in Your Inbox


Have you noticed how, when you sign up for an email mailing list these days, the new norm seems to be sending you advertisements and reminders, like, 5 times a week? Sheesh! When did this become the new frequency? 

I am going to unsubscribe from Hancock Fabrics and this one bead store's lists. I just don't need to hear from them every day! They're always having 75%-off sales off really low-quality stuff anyway. 

Dunn. Bros. and Caribou Coffee tell me at least twice a week about their new coffee blends. 

Even Move-on.org sends me stuff every day, but I probably won't unsubscribe to them because it is usually important info. I don't want to miss out on what Obama is doing! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Get Something Straight...


Hello, everyone.

I have been exploring over at ArtFire, and working on my CreativeSundries shop there. So far I have my fawn necklace listed. I'll get more stuff up as time and motivation allow. I find the listing process there to be easy, even--enjoyable! Wow! It's all on one page, which is cool. It's really user-friendly. 

Now I'd like to address an issue I've seen on ArtFire, as well as Etsy.
I would like to get something straight, and, I hope, find others of the same mind:

Finding vintage images, cutting them out, and reproducing them, digitally or otherwise, and selling the finished, unaltered image... IS NOT ART! It is simply not art. There's no soul in getting a library book, scanning vintage images, and selling the scanned image. 

Why are people scanning and selling images that they didn't photograph or draw themselves, and that do not belong to them? 

I believe that there are two reasons: 1) because they can, either because a) the image's copyright is technically expired, or the original copyright owner is either no longer around to enforce the copyright, or because the image is technically in the public domain, or 2) They somehow just don't know any better. 

As for the first excuse, make sure you're reading the restrictions on "public domain" images. Images in the public domain are almost never designated for commercial--i.e., selling, no matter how much or how little. A perfect example is the illustrations in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The images are in the public domain. But they are not for commercial use--i.e., copying them and selling them as a digital collage sheet! Or, making rubber stamps out of them, and selling the stamps. 

As for the second--if people are selling images--not things made with the images, but the images themselves, I would really hope they would do research into what they're selling. 

It's different from collage. I don't use photocopies in my collages; I love the way the original images look. 

What if the images are from 15th century China and there is no way to trace the artist? It's still not cool to scan them, print them on cardstock, and sell them, unaltered.

I'm just not sure why people are so intent on selling (unaltered) images they themselves did not create. And it is frustrating that online selling venues are allowing it to continue.

I encourage you to use your own creativity! Take your own photographs! Make your own images! Carve your own stamps! If you like certain images, say, vintage 50s and 60s (like I do), why not buy an antique book and cut out some of the images for your collages? Make an original card that incorporates the image in your own way. As Shel Silverstein says, "Put something in the world that ain't been there before."

Discussion and comments welcome! 



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bewitching!


Bewitched!

I had a bewitching dream last night... that I met Elizabeth Montgomery, star of Bewitched, one of the best shows of all time. In the dream, I was at some party and she was there, and I went up to her and was gushing like crazy (which is sooooo unlike me, hahaha!) and I was like, you are the best! I loved you in Bewitched!! And I asked if I could have her autograph. 

She gave me not only an autograph, but wrote a two-page letter--it was about a magic spell and the effects it had on somebody she used it on. The cool thing was, the letter was written in shiny metallic purple ink that faded away, then immediately came back. I was freaking OUT! I couldn't believe I 1) Met Samantha Stevens, and 2) she wrote me this really cool letter with disappearing-reappearing metallic purple ink!!!!

My favorite Spanish word for the day is "ulular" -- to hoot! 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ordinary People and Money



At the books-on-sale cart at the library, the book Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth caught my eye. I paid two dollars for it, and after reading it, I'm glad I didn't pay full-price.


Pretty much its basic message is to save money and when you invest in stocks, etc., not to move it around. 


The contributors were overwhelmingly scientists and federal government workers from Maryland, Virginia, D.C., etc. Not exactly a representative sample! Federal Employee Retirement System, anyone? 


The part that made me most curious was that one person said they canceled their garbage pick-up to save money. Now... how are you getting rid of your garbage?


I will be donating this book to the local thrift shop. (Now there is one way to get rid of your unwanted items... But canceling garbage pick-up....?)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bird Listening


Photo: Birds in the CloudsEricka Bailie-Byrne, ELBfoto.

I got a CD from the library on bird sounds. I have only listened to it once, but today I heard some birds... and they all still sound to me like: 

Bird 1: Cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep

Bird 2: Twitter, twiiiiiiitter

Bird 3: Da-da-da-da-da

I'm definitely not an auditory learner!! I'll give the CD another whirl; in the meantime, I'm not going to quit my day job. Although I heard that you can volunteer with the Department of Natural Resources to record data like frog noises around your home, and you give them the data, and that helps them in their work. Maybe I'll look into doing that.

Thanks to Ericka Bailie-Byrne for permission to use her photo!

On another nature-related note, be sure to stop by the San Diego Zoo's Panda Cam. They also have a link to the new, magnificent-looking Elephant Odyssey.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Altering Board Books


I am working on making a few altered board books, "just" for myself--don't you like how we (well, at least
I) say that something is "just" for you... like making something for yourself is somehow less than making something to sell, or making something for someone else? No! It's awesome to make stuff by and for your own sweet self!



So I bought a few board books (small books, usually for children, that can usually fit in your hand, whose pages are made with chipboard aka Bristol board, I think some call it, maybe in England, although I could be making that up) at a used book store. The price was right: just about a dollar each.

I had learned that in order to alter them, you needed to distress the surface. So I scrubbed each one with a dry brillo pad. It took away some of the shininess, but left it still smooth.

I love Lumiere paints, especially Halo Pink Gold (shown here). I covered a few page "spreads" one at a time with the paint. The surface of the board books was still really smooth, though, almost too smooth. The paint just glided on instead of really sinking in. When dry, the paint was adhered, but a lot of brush strokes showed, and the background of the actual book still showed. With another coat of Lumiere paint, this still happened.

I tore up a bit of the shiny surface of one page of the book--that is shown in the bottom corner of this photo:


This left a craggy cardboard surface that had a "tooth" to it--it seemed to grip the paint instead of letting it slide all over. But, that part of the page is thinner, now. Also it's pretty smooth, but not as sleek as I'd like it. Hmm. Will keep experimenting and post back! (Anyone have any suggestions for preparing a board book to "take" paint and other media? Comments welcome!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

My lunch is pretty!


Isn't this lunch pretty? It is just simple peanut butter and jelly, and I plunked down the vegetables I had around, which were baby carrots, grape tomatoes and organic greens. It looked so bright and inviting, I had to take a picture. Look at me all Better-Homes-and-Gardens!! lol

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thumbs up, Thumbs Down

Time for Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down!

Thumbs Down!
-My across-the-street neighbor whose idea of walking her dog is putting him on a leash and walking him down the driveway! It makes me really mad!
-Copying another crafter's work and/or photograph style. Not having the same idea at the same time--really copying someone's style (French dictionary circles, anyone?)... Not cool... Ultimately, it is sad for the copiers, who have no creativity!
-That the Bush administration/CIA would even think "waterboarding" (Google it; it's horrendous) is okay to use on anyone--suspected terrorist or not. Anyone who would devise such a technique is really sick. And to call torture techniques "enhanced interrogation." To me, the real terrorists in the world are those who abuse children. 

Now the good part: 

Thumbs Up!
-OBAMA! Need I say more? 
-Poetry slam on Tuesday: I was chosen (randomly) to be a judge! I even gave a 10.0--Mike M's poem (I'll have to see if there is a link to these spoken word artists) about all the places he's lived. 
-Lilacs coming out!
-May!




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wear Shakespeare in Your Hair



Oh, these gave me an "I-wish-I'd-thought-of-that!" moment: flowers cut from vintage text, varnished, and made into barrettes!

They are made by Suanne of
PaperAffection.
I've never seen anything like them, and with all the amazing crafting items out there, finding something truly unique is a rare surprise!

Suanne, you get an A for awesomeness!
Find them at
PaperAffection on Etsy! Thanks, Suanne, for letting me use your pics!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tools for Selling Internationally


(I've also posted this article on the HandmadeMN blog!)


Part of the fun of selling your crafts online is being able to send your projects to all corners of the world! Here are some helpful tools available online that are useful when selling your work to an international audience. 


XE.com is the "World's Favorite Currency Site." Its universal currency converter allows you to enter an amount in one currency, for example, the American dollar, and convert it to another currency, for example, the Euro. 


Why might you want to know how to convert currency? A potential customer might want to know your prices in their country's currency. You can do the calculations yourself, or refer them to xe.com. Some online craft venues use the Euro instead of the American dollar. You might also want to list your items in different currencies on your own site.


Be sure to check often as currency values change frequently.


Another important element in international selling is measurement conversion. If you provide product measurements in both U.S. and metric measurements, everyone will be able to understand the size of your items! 


One easy-to-use length and weight conversion site is

OnlineConversion.com.


Stay tuned to the HandmadeMN blog for more ideas, tips, and suggestions on crafting and selling internationally!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I could do this!


I could totally do this! Yes!

(That is what's crazy about Google's ads in gmail, that they pick based on the text you're writing.)

Now, would I have to get all Walter y Las Estrellas?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Alice in Wonderland... Online


I love Project Gutenberg. They have hundreds of public-domain books free online.

Including... Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (which inspired this Drink Me necklace)!!! 

You can download it, or read it online here. Happy falling-down-the-rabbit-hole!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Love this quotation!

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those you mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."  
~ Dr. Seuss

P.S. I will look into changing my blog colors ASAP--I realize white on black can be hard on the eyes! Nothing else seems to look good, though... Hmmm.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cute Find: Mini Book by StoryBookProductions




Awww! I love this cute mini book, handmade by StoryBookProductions.
Just as cute are Lisa's Top Ten uses for it:

Lisa's TOP TEN uses for a mini book:

10. Autograph book at Disney (skip the souvenir version)
9. Fill it with inspirational quotes
8. Swap school pictures (yeah, I mean the kids)7. Take notes at boring meetings in style
6. Geese a laying (oops wrong song)
5. Make fifteen mini collages
4. Keep your favorite drink recipes handy
3. Your own gen-yoo-wine Harriet the Spy notebook
2. Bitty Brag Book
1. Write a very short story

I have a thing for journals and paper goods, especially, of course, handmade ones.StoryBookProductions has many beautifully made journals and paper goods as well. Her eleven-year-old daughter Claire has her very own section of the shop, featuring sweet needlefelted animals like this snowy owl!


Thanks, Lisa and Claire, for letting me use your pictures. Your shop rocks!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Team SASsy: Etsy Sellers Assisting Sellers


Are you on Etsy? Have you heard of Team SASsy? Sellers Assisting Sellers (hence, SASsy) is a team of Etsy sellers who offer support to other sellers.

I am part of the team in the language department: I offer help in Portuguese and Spanish to those who are more comfortable using those languages. So... Se você quer falar sobre a sua loja Etsy em portguês, me fala!... Si quieres charlar sobre tu tienda Etsy en castellano, ¡dime!

http://etsymentors.blogspot.com


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I love Obama!

I love President Obama so much!

And I am loving
the Senate right now, too (for real)!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!


Happy Groundhog Day! Whether or not you celebrate privately (like Michael Scott), it is a special day for all, and someday I want to be in
Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania, for their official celebration. I visited Punxsatawney on a road trip once--it's a lovely town; I got some groundhog-themed l
uggage tags that I still use! I'd like to go back.
This cute little guy (or girl) is not a groundhog, but a beaver--and sooo sweet! Thanks to SparkePaw for letting me feature her cute mirror!

I also have this
lovely beaver necklace (or pin) available in my shop*Sigh* I wish I could have a groundhog as a pet.

Happy Groundhog Day to all!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why I love Escape to Witch Mountain...


Reasons I'm loving
Escape to Witch Mountain

(No spoilers allowed... I haven't even seen that much of it yet)

1. "We love living in this strange house with ice cream and gigantic stuffed animals and a real carousel horse and caged-in dogs and self-propelling puppets and no neighbors. How totally normal this all is.

2. The 1976
Freaky Friday-esque music in the opening credits

3. I love that I am now brave enough to watch this movie! As a kid, whenever it was advertised on the Disney channel, I would close my eyes and cover my ears until the commercial is over. And look at me now!

It appears that there is a remake in the works. I do not like remakes!!! I do not like remakes!!!

Shout-out to Sarah Sweet of
i like you for reminding me about this movie!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

I love this quote by Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

-Scott Adams


Dilbert.com

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My crochet circle is growing!


I've been working a bit more on my amigurumi project, and the little circle I am working on has gotten bigger! Exciting! 

It's helpful that I can kind of understand now what a "stitch" looks like. So I'm continuing what Jen taught me last Sunday, and working on the circular crochet. I'll keep you posted! :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Supposed to be a Coptic Stitch Journal




This is an experiment I was doing, making a coptic stitch journal. It was working out all right--except I sewed each "signature" (set of pages) to the next signature, step-like, instead of sewing them in a line to form the spine of the book. Ooooops! I'm still learning. Always! :-)

The title of this post reminds me of a Monk episode where he is investigating a murder that happened onstage during Sharona's sister's play performance. "It's funny about that phrase, 'supposed to be.' A man can't count on 'supposed to be' the way he used to." (Something like that.) That line just stuck in my head, for some reason. That was an awesome episode, and I had noooo idea how the murder took place. Of course, I won't reveal the punch line of the show, because who in their right mind would do that? 

I love Monk. You can watch it at hulu.com. I'm not affiliated, but it sure would be convenient to be affiliated since I am promoting it here, heh. 

Sharona vs. Natalie (Monk's assistants): I like them both, almost equally. I liked Sharona just a teeny bit more. But just a teeny bit. Both are smart, independent, compassionate, caring, and not afraid to call Adrian on things he pulls.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I am totally crocheting!




Yesterday, I took an
amigurumi class with the lovely fuzfrenzy, aka my friend Jennifer, aka the Most Patient Person on the Planet!

I came in with minimal crochet experience. My mom crochets, and taught me some stuff a few days before I took the class. So I can totally rock the chain stitch now! If only there was something cool to make with a really long single stitch. Maybe, a really long 1 cm. wide scarf is the new cowl? 

I think what is tricky about crochet is actually seeing what I'm doing. You're supposed to insert the needle in the "next stitch" or "next hole" (are those the same thing? lol) and I'm like, which is the next one? I'm looking at 80,000 stitches! How are you supposed to tell them apart?

Here is the beginning of the amigurumi
owl I am making, using fuzfrenzy's pattern. I will post my progress here for all to see! :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dig Deep and Help American Express

Dig Deep and Help American Express

Nobody is feeling the squeeze of the economy like the gigantic corporations. Think of the big cats at these huge companies--how will they afford their third and fourth vacation home, if the federal government doesn't bail them out? Imagine, for a moment, being forced to live on only 15 million dollars per year. It almost brings a tear to the eye when you think about it. But thousands of CEOs and VPs in this country face this very situation, as we speak.

It is for this reason that I am asking you to reach down in your hearts, and your wallets, and donate to American Express. They are standing in the wings, waiting for a government bailout. If we rally together as a community, they won't need to ask for it--and your tax dollars can go, not to education or health care for everyone (yes,
everyone)--but to help the next corporation willing to send jobs overseas and cut down on quality to help their bottom line.

No amount is too much. Just think of all the times American Express has reached out to Americans, month after month, for years. Remember the times you've held their touching "Thinking of you" letters, and cried as you realize how much they care. People, it is time to give back.

Companies like American Express helped make America what it is today. Think about it, people. They deserve only the best. Dig deep if you have to. It's time to give back.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Best Massage (no) Money Can Buy


Tennis ball porcelain earrings, designed, made, and kiln-fired by Linda Cain. (Thanks, Linda, for letting me use your photo.)

The best massage that (no) money can buy is this:

Take a tennis ball.
Put it on hard floor.
Lay self down on tennis ball.
Move ball to relieve pressure points.

Ahhhhhh.

This works so, so well and feels like a deep massage.

It works best on a hard floor.

Body work I want to try: rolfing. It sounds like a really, really deep massage, which I love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peanut, Peanut Butter (Jelly!)


Aren't these cute peanut butter and jelly earrings? They are made by Lollywood and can be found in her Etsy shop! (Thanks, Casey, for letting me borrow your image!)


They remind me of one of my favorite camp songs:
The "Jelly!" is kind of chanted/whispered fast. I know, it's hard to relate the tune in a blog posting!
There are hand motions that go with the actions in the song. It's like, "Da daaaa, da da da da, DAH! DAH!" (Yeah, that's really helpful, isn't it?!)

Do any of you know this song?

Peanut, Peanut Butter (Jelly!)


Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)
Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)

First, you take the peanuts and you squish 'em, you squish em,
First, you take the peanuts and you squish 'em, you squish em,
for your...

Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)
Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)

Then, you take the grapes and you smoosh em, you smoosh em,
Then, you take the grapes and you smoosh em, you smoosh em,
for your...

Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)
Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)

Then you take the bread and you spread it, you spread it,
Then you take the bread and you spread it, you spread it,
for your...

Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)
Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)

Then you take the sandwich, and you eat it! You eat it!
Then you take the sandwich, and you eat it! You eat it!
For your...

Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)
Peanut, peanut butter (jelly!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Simplicity in Accounts


“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” -- Henry David Thoreau

See? You really do not need to use Excel! I just found that quote by Henry David Thoreau on
ThinkExist.com. I don't use spread sheets. Never have; (hopefully) never will. :-)

This image comes from BurningWell.org, a collection of public domain images. I love when artists share!
The photographer is Ala Beara, and the work is titled "Kilcullen Manna Organic Shop." The shop is in Ireland. I'll have to search BurningWell for a way to contact the photographer (no link or contact info appears to be listed) and thank him or her!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is not okay!


It is not acceptable to expect or ask someone to work as a combination Spanish-English interpreter and classroom teaching assistant whose job description includes, and this is a direct quote, "stop[ing] physical and argumentative fights" and--this is the best yet--the candidate must be willing to travel between different school sites... for a grand total of $11.06 per hour!! 

I came across a job posting today that was requesting exactly that, and it astounded and infuriated me. 

St. Paul Public Schools should be ashamed!!!!! They talk the talk, especially in the bilingual schools, about how being bilingual is soooo valuable (it is). Then look at the wages they pay their (gasp) non-college-graduate bilingual employees. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Girl Scouts Rule!


Yesterday a local Brownies group was having a meeting at the community center where I go to Jazzercise. They were doing crafts, one of which was sewing a notebook together! Yay for Girl Scouts, for parents who donate their time, for helping girls be smart, safe, and strong.

I wonder, what kind of girls' organizations are there in other countries? Actually, Girl Scouts is international, isn't it? I'll have to look into that. It looks like this site, anyway, is for Girl Scouts of the United States. And awesome, they even have the site in Spanish! :-)