Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Looked in the Mirror and What Did I See?

Today I spent time with 4 other new Starbucks partners going through "The Starbucks Experience." The training was 4.5 hours long, and it provided me with some education about coffee and the philosophical foundations that guide the growth and culture of this fast-growing corporation.

But that wasn't the biggest takeaway of the day for me. What I realized again about myself is that I'm my biggest limiting factor when it comes to succeeding. What's holding me back? I'm just not all that inquisitive. That's not a good quality, and I want to change it. I think the reason I'm not all that interested in learning new things is because, in order to learn new things, you have to be open to making mistakes. I really don't like for others to see that I don't know something, or that I'm not competent. The root of this is arrogance, pride, and lack of self-love, I think. Chinedo, a man from Nigeria who was part of the training session, pegged it when he said that learning requires humility. Ouch...that's definitely something I need more of in my life.

This has given me lots to ponder. And I need to do that while I go make a card for a friend whose mother-in-law died yesterday. So many cards...not enough time. Thanks for reading this ramble. If you have any insights on how I might develop more humility, I'm open to hearing them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sorry I've Been Away...

When I logged in today, it said my last post was Saturday. Wow! Time has gone by too quickly without any good stuff from me. Sorry, dear ones!

I made a few more of the altered DVD notebook tins and took them into school on Tuesday. I included a note with each and taped my business card in the back. I wanted each of the administrators to know that their work getting our new middle school up and running is appreciated. I hope they use them, and I hope they generate some business for me!
Here are the pictures of these two, and then I promise I'll stop posting pictures of altered tins!
This one doesn't look all that feminine from the picture, but there's a cool bandana-like print below the "wanted" poster.
This one is the one I made for the principal. Truly, this outlaw paper is difficult to make look girly, but I did my best. Inside, I stamped the mustang image on every sheet of her notebook in the lower right corner. I hope she likes that little touch!

My final picture for today, to make up for the 3 days I haven't posted, is of a beautiful criss cross birthday card from my friend, fellow ex-Illinoian, and fellow demonstrator Nadine! How kind of you, dearie!
Hope you all have a good rest of your week...will try to do more posting on the weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And one for a friend...with help from a friend

I've been waiting all week to share this, so today is a 2-post day! I have one more altered DVD tin to display. I made it as a surprise for a friend who has been having a challenging year. She loves toile, and this is the closest I could come to that. I hope she thinks it's tre chic!
Julie has a TON of things to keep track of, and I thought she might be cheered by having something nice to use while she does that. The sentiment on the front reads, "To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts," is one that I hope encourages her, because I believe it is what she strives to do each day.

I also included a card using images that were so nicely given to me by my fellow blogging friend and soon-to-be Canadian, Amy. THANKS SO MUCH!!
This card was perfect for Julie because we met while I was working at the chocolate store I've mentioned. Julie would always buy chocolate covered strawberries when we had them, so I thought of her immediately when I saw this image on Amy's blog.
I really liked the cupcakes, and added some glitter to make them shimmer. The sentiment for the card reads: "Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence?" NOT! LOL. The design was kept simple to keep the focus on the image.

Take some time today and do something special for someone. If you can be anonymous, all the better! It'll bless you equally as much as it does that person.

Presents...for me?

My husband took me out last night for dinner, and at the village plaza there is a new gourmet mini grocery store. We went in to look around at their selection, and just before we were going to leave we came across this--a Vosges Haute Chocolate Exotic Candy Bar. I'd heard about this from a friend of mine from Chicago, and wanted to try one. There were several choices, but this particular one had also been mentioned by name by this same friend, so we chose it. Note the ingredients--goji berries, pink Himalayan SALT, and deep milk chocolate.

Having worked in chocolate retail for a long time, I knew that even though it said MILK chocolate (I prefer DARK), 41% cacao was a good sign of a rich chocolate.

What an interesting experience! We didn't notice this until after we'd eaten some, but found this somewhat comical. Who needs directions on how to eat chocolate?!?

Anyway, what you really want to know was if it was worth the $6.50 we paid for it. I think so. The chocolate was fine, as in fine wine, and I liked the berries (although I wished the pieces were bigger), but I'm not so sure about the salt. Yes, it was distinctly present. Not in a bad way, but I eat chocolate to satisfy a craving, not to create a cyclical process. The salt made me want to eat more, but it didn't leave me with the happy mouth I usually experience after I eat chocolate. The best way I can describe it is like eating a chocolate covered pretzel that has been well salted. Great tastes, but something's a little off. Bob thought the addition of salt was genius.

When we got home after dinner I was really tired, so I went bed before Bob and our son did. This morning I realized that Bob had asked for wrapping paper, but that I hadn't received any gifts! They presented them to me after my 6-hour shift at Starbucks. I got a gift certificate for a bookstore to purchase a book that's due out in November and a second gift certificate for 2-30 min. massages!! That was worth waiting for!

I have more to share, but I'm going to put it in another post. Happy weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today I start my 41st year of life! 40 has been one of the most interesting years of my life--moving to the South, meeting new people, learning how to relate to family who are now living far away, finding new places to do everything--shop, eat, worship, and recreate.

I'm a chocolate fiend (shouldn't I be after 6 years of working at a gourmet chocolate shop?) and so I made these cakes for my coworkers at Starbucks. The recipe is called Deep Dark Chocolate Cake from the Hershey's Chocolate Cookbook, which I received as a wedding present 17 years ago. Someone had me pegged, even back then! I know the ingredient list by heart, so here it is:

2 C. sugar
1 3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. cocoa
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 C. oil
1 C. milk
2 eggs
1 C. boiling water (1 T. instant espresso powder or strongly brewed coffee, optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add milk, eggs. and oil, mixing well for 2 minutes. Add boiling water (batter will be thin). Stir until incorporated. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased and floured 9x13 or 2-9" rounds or in cupcake tins. Cool and frost.

A frosting I didn't use today, but ADORE, is this one. We call it caramel frosting, but it's really brown sugar buttercream frosting. If you know what penuche fudge is, you'll LOVE this frosting.

1 stick butter
1 C. FRESH brown sugar ( I don't know why, but it works better and crystalizes less if it's fresh--I also like DARK brown sugar)

Bring to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1/4 C. milk and stir until well incorporated. Bring back to bubbling. Remove from heat and place in mixing bowl. Add 3 1/2 C. powdered sugar and beat vigorously. FROST IMMEDIATELY, or it will harden like a rock! YUMMY!!!

Let me know if you try either of these. When I first entertained my husband's family, I made this cake because it was one of the few things I knew how to make! I made the frosting and my father-in-law's comment was, "Brown frosting. Never seen brown frosting before." He's not a sweet person, except in the morning, so what did he know!

Hope you have a great day today--I am!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Altered DVD Tin for Little Mill

My son's middle school is brand new this year, and its mascot is the mustang. So, I was excited when I saw the Boho West line that SU! launched with the new Fall-Winter Collection catalog. Earlier in the week you saw a card I made with the recently acquired Wanted set. The reason I waivered in purchasing anything from this line initially was because what I had in mind to use it for I couldn't get anyone else excited about.

I want to make items that could be used as a fundraiser for the new school. I took it to the PTO President, and while she was initially excited, she hasn't been responsive to multiple follow-up inquiries I've made. Well, tonight I broke into the paper and determined to come up with some design that I liked. I'm going to take it in and present it to the principal and let her know that I can make more for anyone who'd like to place an order. I'll determine some sort of donation amount to go to the school for my efforts.

What do you think? I'm very pleased with the cover. I stamped the words "Little Mill" and the mustang, along with 2 stars in colors that coordinate with the designer paper. Then I remembered something I'd seen. A Levi's jeans tag was recreated out of paper by crumpling it and brayering it with Creamy Caramel ink. Since I'd just acquired a brayer, I thought I'd give it a try. Suddenly I had something that looks vintage! The edges had been distressed (Melissa, you left your distressing tool here!) and inked with Chocolate Chip ink before the crumpling. I played around with the idea of a lasso made from twine in varying sizes until I happened onto this layout. It's adhered with sticky strip and adds dimension.

For the inside, I figured out something important. Past designs had included a pocket for storing notes, but the pockets were very tight, and I'm not sure how useful they were. The mojo was flowin' tonight because-eureka!--it came to me to add 1/4" to the overall width and then create an 1/8" score on each side by which to adhere the piece to the base. This created some space and should serve the user much better.
resistance I added is the word "The final piece deStangs" to the pocket. The letters are stamped in Sage Shadow, the edges trimmed in Chocolate Chip, crumpled, and then brayered with Creamy Caramel.

I'll let you know what the response to this is. Stay tuned tomorrow for another one of these and a card I made! They're great fun--you oughta try them. Remember, I can sell you the tins and/or a kit...details to follow this weekend.

Friends are Great!

I met Melissa a few months ago when she contacted Stampin' Up! to find a demonstrator in Cumming. She'd moved here from FL in February and was missing the fellowship of stamping and needing someone to enjoy it with. The website directed her to me, and we've become friends through this wonderful craft!

I had some free time today (love retail scheduling!), and so I asked Melissa if she'd like to come over and stamp. She came, and she brought an adorable set that I hadn't worked with or even remembered is in the Fall-Winter Collection: Dotted Autumn. What a cool set!

Melissa remembered that there's a cute placecard in the catalog that illustrates how to use the set (another wonderful feature of SU!'s catalog) and she wanted to make it. So we just copied it and added our own little flair by popping the leaves up on dimensionals. I'm conducting a workshop next Friday, and I asked Melissa if we could make enough so that I could have one to set at the places of each guest. Without hesitating, she agreed, and has loaned me the set for the week! What a friend, and now I have something truly autumnal for this workshop, due Melissa's kindness and generosity.

On a sad note, one of my friends had a death in the family recently, which I just found out about yesterday. Sympathy cards are challenging to me, but I wanted to make sure my friend and her husband knew that I cared about their loss. I started with Bordering Blue card stock because it was muted. I used SU!'s Color Wheel to tell me which colors would coordinate with it, and this was the result.

The sentiment is from a retired Simply Sent set that says: Some people strengthen others just by being the kind of people they are. The woman who died struggled with cancer for 6 years, yet I thought that this saying probably typified how she was--inspiring others by her courage.

One last thing: I started my Stampin' Up! business about a year ago, hoping to share my love of stamping with others, and encourage women to invest in nurturing themselves and their relationships. I have been blown away by the wonderful women God has brought into my life as a result. Women I know now that I wasn't in relationship with a year ago, both in this area and across the country via the internet. Thanks to all of you for all you've done to support me in this past year. I'm so grateful to have you in my life!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Search of a Fall Stamp Set

Hey, ya'll! I know I said I was going to post yesterday, but I ended up getting a burst of energy to cook instead of stamp, so you had to wait one more day! Fall always puts me in the mood for soup, so I made split pea, cheesy potato, and a stew sort of dish called calico beans. Froze a bunch and had some of the potato for dinner last night. Yes--I can cook a real meal even though I'm working! Okay, on to the card for the day.

I have a workshop coming up next Friday, and I want to make 2 kinds of cards--one that celebrates the spirit of autumn, my favorite season, and one that gets my guests thinking about sleigh bells (they're beginning to ring--are you listenin'?). I already have the Christmas card, but I do not own a distinctively fall set. I'm not sure why I didn't choose to buy one, but now that many are posting adorable cards featuring pumpkins, I'm yearning for one. Look here, here, and here to see what I mean!

I want to make full use what I have, and avoid spending money I don't, so I set out tonight to make my Doodle This set work for fall. How do you think I did? I really like sunflowers, and the main flower image was just begging to be pressed into service. (Thanks to Sharon Harnist at PaperFections for the inspiration.)

I inked the image using my Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write marker and stamped it on Whisper White. Then I re-inked it, eyeballed one petal between two others and stamped again. Voila!! I applied More Mustard with an Aquapainter and cut it out. Then I popped it up with Stampin' Dimensionals on Bashful Blue card stock to mimic the sky. Still, it needed something, so I added the Chocolate Chip mat. Lastly, I stamped the swirly stem-like image on Wild Wasabi, using the same ink.

Then came the dilemma: what to use as a base. I don't have any More Mustard card stock laying around, and it seemed wrong on Chocolate Chip or Bashful Blue--not autumnal enough. So I went with Whisper White. That looked too stark, so I streaked it with More Mustard by rubbing the pad surface lightly across the card stock numerous times. I'm not sure about this part of the card. What do you think? Should I streak it again with Chocolate Chip so I have a two-tone background? What else does this need? I'd love your feedback!

Monday, September 17, 2007

What I Wanted, I Think...

I'm not tired. Bob and Michael are both in bed, and I think I'm keyed up because this is the first night in over a week that I don't have something going on. I have been feeling the need to stamp just for the fun of it. So that's what I did, and you get a card to view for the first time in quite awhile. (Thanks for your understanding!)

The set I used for this card is called Wanted, and is part of the Boho West line from SU! this fall. I bought the coordinating designer paper, but it's so cool that I'm going to have to ponder just what kind of project would do it justice before cutting into it. For now, I'm content breaking in the stamp set. One of my customers was kind enough to mount it for me (thanks, Kelly and her roommate!), so here's what I came up with after an hour or more of coloring and putzing.

I have to say, this wasn't the easiest set for me to experiment with. I'm not sure why--perhaps it's because I'm a midwestern city girl who never really had a yearning for country life or a love for horses...but this and all that are growing on me. There's a small farm with horses on the property adjacent to my son's new school, and I like seeing that each day.
The color combination isn't one I would ever have come up with, but I really like it. (If someone could tell me how to develop an eye for color, I'd appreciate it!) It's Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Creamy Caramel, Very Vanilla, and, the one that really sets it off, Sage Shadow. I like how many pieces there are in this set, compared to Bronc Buster, the other western themed set I was contemplating. I have this thing about varying sizes of shapes, circles in particular. That's what attracted me to this set. I could see a variety of shapes placed together, just like I like.

The other reason this set appealed to me is that the mascot at my son's school is the mustang, and the horse image will certainly spark abundant teacher gift ideas. Nancy, do you think you could sell me some of your myriad altoid tins? I'm thinkin' those would make cute business card holders. Can we make a deal?

I've been asked if I'm a converted coffee drinker, now that I've been at Starbucks for 2 weeks. I've tried, but nope, I'm still not lovin' the stuff. I've tried several drinks, but I'm not smitten. One drink I do really like may surprise you. The green tea creme frappuccino has matcha powder, which essentially is finely ground green tea leaves (high in antioxidants), the creme frappuccino base, and--surprise--melon syrup. I'm not sure why the melon syrup, but it's the thing that sets the drink apart. You can also get it as an iced latte, which is the other way I like it. Some of you have shared your favorite drinks with me! I'm enjoying learning about your tastes.

I don't have to work tomorrow (at Starbucks--there's laundry and grocery shopping, of course), so check back tomorrow afternoon. I hope there will be another card using this set for you to enjoy. Okay, now I'm tired enough to go to bed...good night!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


After my workshop yesterday I had put away the green card table that had served as a project station when Michael asked where it was. I didn't understand what he wanted it for and told him that it was in my craft room, where I was using it to store some things that were left from the class. After I walked away, it dawned on me why he had been asking about it--he wanted to make a blanket fort like he had when he was younger. His writing assignment for language arts was prompting this, I'm sure, because he hasn't made a fort in years.

So, I cleared off the table and returned it to the living room, and this is what has been set up between the sofa and the wingback chairs. While we were out last night on a date, I think he spent the entire evening hunched over and hunkered down in there, playing a computer game on my husband's laptop. And you know what? I think he was completely content. The first thing he asked me this morning was if I had taken the fort down after he went to bed. I hadn't, but we're having a group of friends over for dinner tonight,and I told him we may have to move it. He didn't want me to, and I may just indulge him and let it remain.

We all feel the need to journey to the past from time to time and get in touch with our old selves and the good things we remember from days gone by. Why should he not allowed the same luxury, just because doing so creates a little different scenery? He's going to be leaving this house in 5 years, and the world is shoving him toward adulthood, trying to rush what nature affords a long period for. So if he wants to take a few steps back as he walks forward toward that marker, I'm fine with that.

May you have a restful day...that's what it was made for.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cutie Pie DVD Tin

This will be a quick post, because I'm supposed to meet my husband for dinner in about 35 min. I wanted you to see what I designed for the DVD Notebook Tins that the gals made at today's workshop! I'm a pretty simple girl, but this was done with minimal froof on the outside so that it could go in and out of a bag without getting snagged by stuff. I intend to put the person's name on the outside when I decide who it's going to. The inside turned out cute, don'tcha think? The Cutie Pie designer paper--shoot, all the designer paper Stampin' Up! puts together--so makes me look good!

I'm going to offer kits of these for anyone who would like to purchase them. You may choose from several designer paper coordinating packages, which I will post later, and the cost will be $8 for me to make them for you. If you'd just like to purchase the DVD tins, I will sell those at $2.50 each. If I have to ship them to you, then they'll cost you the additional shipping and we'll work out what method you want me to use.

These are going to make wonderful, practical Christmas teacher gifts and gifts for friends, because who doesn't need something to take notes on? I can make masculine versions of these too, if you'd like. Supplies are limited, so start mulling this over and I'll post paper combos soon!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Telling on myself...

My son is writing the story of his life thus far, and it has been a very interesting process watching him recount his memories. There are things I was sure he'd recall that he didn't, and things that he chose to highlight that I wouldn't have expected. I'm loving his language arts teacher for this assignment.

All this has prompted me to reflect a bit, and I thought you might enjoy getting to know me a bit better. I was born Sept. 21, 1966, and grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. (Don't start to worry; this isn't going to be a blow-by-blow, but everyone starts from somewhere.) I am the oldest daughter of 2 firstborns, so you might assume that I'm a perfectionist. While there are some things that I want done "just so," I'm much less particular than either of my parents. My only sibling Joan is 2.5 years my junior, and she took on all the firstborn characteristics I didn't want. She graduated valedictorian of our high school, and maintained a 4.0 through college. She's an amazing technical pianist and organist, but I'm the better vocalist.

Music played a big role in my childhood. My parents sang in the church choir weekly for over 35 years, and I was also in choir through elementary, middle school, and high school. I survived 7 years of piano lessons, started playing flute in 5th grade, and in high school was in the swing choir, marching and concert band. I was a great student, but didn't have to study. As you can imagine, this drove my sister crazy.

I walked away from everything musical in college. Why? I was somewhat intimidated, but I was also ready for something else. The "something else" I discovered was writing, and a love for shaping words into sentences blossomed through my coursework in communications. I love expressing myself with just the right words, and reading a well-crafted article or story is like indulging in fine dark chocolate. I also like knowing and using unique words in my everyday vocabulary. I don't do it to be snobbish, and sometimes I don't even realize I'm using a word that others may not be familiar with. So please don't be offended. It's just who I am.

I have been married for 17 years to the most wonderful, caring, insightful, sensitive, handsome man. I met him at a pay phone, and after I clarified for him that I was not married we dated for 3 months before he proposed. Not many thought we'd make it, but he understands me like no one else, and lavishes me consistently with unconditional love. I'd follow him to the ends of the earth.

My husband will tell me when he sees this that this post was too long, so I'll quit with this last observation. I never had animals growing up, and never knew what I was missing until we got a dog shortly after we got married. I wouldn't live without a dog now, and we currently have 2 Australian shepherds.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this. I'd love to know more about you too, so why don't you tell me something about yourself by leaving me a comment. Share something that is unique about you that you'd like others to know. If you're still reading, then you're someone I know enjoys relating. Thanks...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I hope this was worth the wait! Anything BUT A Card Project #4

This afternoon I finally had everything aligning--I was done with work by 2, had the supplies I needed, the planets cooperated--and I was able to make the sample of the 4th project in the Anything BUT A Card class.This is the first picture of 2 of the sides of a chipboard coaster box! It's really quite simple to put together. I used the new Cerise designer paper--so chic!--and chose 4 patterns, two with a Very Vanilla background and two with a Real Red background. Here's the other picture so that you can see the entire box (sort of):
This box has a bottom on it, so it's a great for holiday food items, like homemade cookies, because it's 4" square. Hot cocoa mix would also fit nicely, neatly tied in a clear cellophane bag and nestled in some cute packing straw. Individually wrapped candies would work as well, and I could even see this with a wine bottle in it. FUN options abound!
Now that I've finished this, I have to scoot and figure out what to make for dinner. My dear husband just walked in the door and I got nada!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Christmas Card Expo Project #2

This fun gift tag is the second project I taught last night at the Christmas Card Expo. We had a nice time last night, getting in the mood for the holidays. The size of this gift tag is large because I've heard from my customers that they like to be able to write a little something on a tag when they're giving a gift. They don't need as much room as a card offers, but they want more than a little punched tag does. So, this is what I came up with.

The base is Soft Sky, paired with Blue Bayou and Whisper White. It shimmers with glitter. Controlled glitter, though. This was achieved by applying packing tape to the back side of the BB base with the sticky side facing up, sprinkling glitter on the tape's surface, and rubbing it around so that it stuck to the adhesive! Whoever came up with this is brilliant!

The snowflakes are stamped on the white before this step, lining them up with the punched holes--sizes 1 3/8", 1 1/4" and 3/4", because those are the ones I have! The horizontal slot punch creates the place where the ribbon is attached. The stamp sets I used included: Season of Joy, Snowflake Spot, and Snow Flurries.

The gals who placed orders at the Expo, and those who weren't able to attend, will be invited to spend a day with me in October or early November assembling their cards. The thing that I hate to see happen is someone purchases stamping materials and then doesn't use them! It's so much more fun to stamp with others, and I have a cutter that will make short work of the card stock. I'll post the date when I have it scheduled.

Day 1 of this week is done--5 more to go before things slow down a bit! Thanks for all your feedback about email and keeping in touch with those who live far away. It helped to know that you can relate, no pun intended. Have a great day, knowing I'm thankful for your presence in my life.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Christmas Card Expo Project #1

My husband Bob was perplexed yesterday when he woke up from a nap and heard Christmas music playing. He knew I was having gals over to stamp, but he was unaware what the theme of the get-together was. September is NOT too early to begin thinking about Christmas, and this card was designed to give my guests a taste of some of the items in the SU! Holiday mini catalog and the Fall-Winter Collection. This card was very well received, and I have to give a nod to Jan Tinklenberg at Stamps, Paper, Scissors for the idea.

What I like most about this card is that it uses every stamp from the set, Season of Joy. I didn't photograph the interior of the card, but I used the Christmas tree and the Merry Christmas sentiment there. There's even a "hand stamped" stamp included, so folks will know you cared enough to make them a card! Here's the link to see the entire set. If you aren't able to make it to the open house this evening, that doesn't mean I'm not available to help you design your Christmas card or to take an order for this stamp set! There are many more sets available than I can highlight here, but I can get you a catalog if you'll just contact me by leaving a comment.

I'm working every day this week at Starbucks, hosting the open house this evening, traveling to Roswell for a workshop Friday evening, and hosting the Anything BUT A Card workshop here Saturday morning. Needless to say, the postings might be fewer than daily this week! Hope you have a good week like I'm planning to.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Finally! A Card to Post!

The picture quality isn't the best, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! This is a holiday card I started a few weeks ago when I was playing around with the new Christmas designer paper called Dashing. The dots across the flap are from it, and I paired it with Real Red and River Rock. The ribbon gracing the top is 1/4" grosgrain in Mellow Moss, and I used the double slot punch to create the holes. The little details on the edges of the designer paper are there to cover the staples that hold the pocket in place. The snowflake pattern is at the bottom of the sentiment block, so I just inked those directly and cut them out of scraps.
Here's what the card looks like when you remove it from the pocket. River Rock ink is very subtle, so it's hard to photograph. You may not be able to see them, but there are snowflakes floating down the base of the card, and the sentiment is from the Block Party set of three. I wish I had the Stampin' Write Markers in the Bold Brights family, as I think adding a splash of Real Red on the sentiment section would've been helpful.

My dear husband feels my posts are often too long, so I'll say no more today! Have a great weekend...I'll post pictures from the Christmas Card Expo early next week.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hi, My Name is Jenn, and I'm an Email Addict.

I am here to declare that I'm at odds with the internet. On one hand, I'm a HUGE fan; I love it! It's incredibly convenient and provides me with all kinds of great information and entertainment. On the other hand, it also seduces me into thinking that I'm forging relationships, when there's a chance that that's not what's happening at all.

I've been having this wrestling match of competing feelings each morning lately because, first thing after I get up, I walk right past my computer to let the dogs out. It sits there and doesn't even say anything like "you've got mail!", but it beckons to me nonetheless. Although this is not how I want to start my mornings, more often than not lately, I'm overcome by the urge to see if anyone has reached out overnight. This habit is bothering me.

Don't misunderstand me, I think email is a fabulous invention. But I'm disturbed that I equate the presence of a little white envelope at the bottom right of my screen with being in relationship with people. Is receiving email really connecting? It's not that I think what's exchanged this way is disingenuous. It's really cool to be able to know how my friend from my growing up years who lives 12 hours ahead of me on the other side of the world is doing without having to wait a week for an airmail letter. It's encouraging to get feedback from readers of this blog about cards or projects I've made. But, it's not a substitute for voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication, is it? It feels much like eating candy when I'm hungry--it tastes great for a minute and temporarily staves off the real pang; the trouble with eating candy when you're hungry is that you realize later that you didn't have a satiating experience after all and you're left with that empty pit in your stomach.

I am also at odds with the internet because on it there are a plethora of great blogs where people share what they're doing and what's happening in their lives. I regularly check 17 blogs, and while I've never met any of the people whose entries I read, I feel "connected" to them--sort of like I know them. There's opportunity for me to connect with them by commenting on what they post. But I don't really know them, and they don't really know me.

So I'm coming to the conclusion that what I'm trying to achieve through these two activities is really a delusion. I'm trying to find connectedness, a community, someone who cares. While those I've "met" via the crafting blogsphere seem like genuinely AWESOME individuals, at the end of the day I'm still here in Georgia with the life God has given me and they are where they are, living a whole other life apart from the presence they have in cyberland.

Bottom line? I don't know what to do. Maintaining connectedness with friends I've had for all my married life is as challenging now as it was when I lived in the same town with them, and making new friends is daunting because many just don't seem to have the time to invest. Which leads me back to the internet. Is "something" better than "nothing"? Is anyone else in touch with this, or am I out here on a limb by myself on this? I'd really like to hear your thoughts...even though they will come via the internet.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Is it Only Wednesday?

Wow! Going back to work really changes the flow of each day, and I'm not as young as I was when I started in food retail 6 years ago!! Here's a quick Starbucks update from today, and then I'll get on to posting something crafty that I did over the weekend. I spent today doing a LOT of reading. The store is short-staffed, and there just isn't enough coverage for the floor right now. So, I'm reading various sections in my CORE manual, and doing lots of station cleaning and greeting of customers until someone has time to really coach me on how to make drinks, etc. I did make the bases for the frappuccino drinks today--the creme one and the coffee frappuccino one.

OK, here's a fun project that I did this weekend and that I'd recommend you try. It all started because I had made this 40th birthday card for my blogger friend, Lydia, at Understand Blue, and I didn't have an envelope that it would fit in! I thought of a few options, and then I remembered this box I had sitting around.
Short sidebar: this box came from The Cookie Cottage in Ft. Wayne, IN. My parents asked me what I'd like them to bring, and this is what I suggested. You can order from them at The Cookie Cottage, and I highly recommend the chocolate mint cookies! ANYWAY, the card fit in the box perfectly, but it would be boring for Lydia to receive the box with JUST the card in it, and it wouldn't be nice to send an empty cookie box, so I altered it!

I took several pictures of the process that I figure you probably don't care to see, so I'll just show you what I did with the inside of the lid:That Headline Alphabet has been an excellent investment! The designer paper is a retired set that I once knew the name of, but now it escapes me. The point of this post is that you could do this with any box and any of the current paper, and make some fun packages for Christmas. It's coming sooner than you think!

Here's what it looked like before I popped it in the mail and sent it off to Lydia (complete with Dove Dark chocolates, some blue ribbon, and a stamp). I labeled the outside "supplies" so that no one would be excited to peek inside, and she could keep her chocolate stash hidden in plain sight in her craft room! I used to label the ice cream containers from Graham's with the word "spinach" in order to keep unsuspecting visitors to my freezer from getting their hands on my favorite flavor--wild cherry.

Well, I hope you enjoy these photos, as I don't have anything else stamped to show. I trust the weekend will find the UPS man at my house and new supplies to make that last sample for the Anything BUT A Card class. Gotta run!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Starbucks, Day 1

Hey friends! I know you've been waiting to hear how my first day at Starbucks was, so here's the story.

I spent a good amount of the first hour filling out paperwork, and the thing that impressed me the most was the opportunity I had to participate in the CUP fund. CUP, which stands for Caring Unites Partners, is a fund that is maintained by partner (Starbucks term for "employee") donations. If a partner experiences a personal crisis, such as a house fire that destroys her belongings, a death in the family, a personal illness, or such, she can apply to receive funds from this account. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, every Starbucks partner in New Orleans and the region immediately had $300 direct deposited into their bank account, or had a check issued in their name. There's a real culture of caring at this huge company, and I like what I see already.

After filling out paperwork, I helped a gal take 3 loads of garbage and broken down cardboard boxes to the dumpster. Why was there so much garbage at the beginning of the day? Because it is standard Starbucks policy that no partner takes garbage out after dark. It's not safe. After this, I was told to read part of the partner handbook. Then I went on the floor to get my introduction to the different stations and the products made at each. I learned how to make frappuccinos (NOT "fraps" for short, which I mistakenly called them, as "frappuccino" is a trademarked term), which ones have whipped cream on them, which lid goes on which size, etc. I understood how to make them fairly quickly, but the sizes--tall, grande, and venti--still could stop me like a deer in headlights. I wonder if my fellow employees could tell that I haven't frequented the joint for years!

The store was fairly busy, so I just listened, wiped down surfaces, and tried to jump in and be helpful where I could. I could not ring up customers, which is a mercy, but I'll be learning the POS (Point of Sale) register tomorrow.

The people I worked with today were very friendly, helpful, happy, and welcoming. I could also tell that they enjoy working with each other, so I think this is going to be good...really good.

Thanks for being interested...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Doin' Nothin'...and the majority has spoken

I've known this about myself for some time, and today is no exception: I'm not good at doin' nothin'. By the end of this vacation day, I'll have wished I would've stamped something or read more of a book I started. But I can't seem to get there from here. Not sure why either...

I am wondering how many will rush to RSVP tomorrow for the Anything BUT A Card class on Sept. 15, since that's when the deadline is. BTW, only 1 person has said that she doesn't want the 5x8 notebook in the metal tin, so I placed an order last night for them! I wish I could get the word out to other crafters that the price that eclectic Paperie, an online stamping supplies store, is charging for 1 tin is exhorbitant, compared to what I got it for from a company in Canada.

I shopped at, and paid $1.14 per + shipping (only via UPS, so that upped it significantly), while eP sells them for $2.49 + shipping. I did a little cost comparison, and I was able to get 25 for the same price I could've gotten 12 through eP!! It pays to shop around, dearies! Since it's not a holiday today in Canada, I hope my order will ship, and that I'll get it by Thursday or Friday.

I did do some stamping on Saturday, and here's the card I made. I used Beate's weekend sketch challenge.Here's the link to check it out. I very rarely use any materials other than Stampin' Up! stuff, but I found this paper at Hobby Lobby and loved it. It's in my favorite earth tone color palette which matches my favorite season, so it had to go home with me. The stamp is also an oldie that's been around for years and years. I'm a sucker for any stamp with leaves! Autumn may be on the way here...this morning it was in the mid-60s! Haven't seen an overnight temp that low in over 30 days, so there's hope yet for cooler weather. It's supposed to be in the 90s the next few days, though. Baby steps...

Tomorrow's my first day at Starbucks. I'll post late afternoon to let you know how it went! Thanks for stopping by today. Would love to know what you're doin' with your holiday today...