It’s Ornamental, Watson

pink candy-cane kitty, the other side

I’m not making excuses but I have not been blogging much. Maybe that’s okay since it is DECEMBER and NOT November. Man, when did December get to be such a busy month? And I’m not even talking about holiday plans. We haven’t even gotten to those yet.

I’ve been busy with the shop. Hooray for the shop! I had no idea that was going to keep me so busy. I’ve also been out at my Mom’s and if you know anything about hanging out at my Mom’s, you know there’s always something going on. Never a dull moment out at the sticks.

Unfortunately, it’s been rather cold out here so I’m not taking pictures outside. Also, my mom’s house is so dark and unphotogenic, it’s impossible to take pictures inside. So if you were judging my business by activity on my blog or flickr account, you would think it was nothing but dullsville.

Not so! NOT SO!

I’ve been busy busy busy. We started things off with five hundred loads of laundry and then there was the giant task of reorganizing the complete and extended collection of outgrown clothes that my mom houses in her garage. That would be seven or eleven or so giant Rubbermaid totes full of clothes from my nieces and Baby Bug. We never throw anything out. Baby Bug and any other kid I might ever have after her will have hand-me-downs until the end of time. I wish I had pictures…

After the Olympic clothes-sorting event, I decided to take on an ornament-painting project. This was a journey to failure and back. Long ago in November I decided it would be fun to be part of OMSH’s super-fun swaparooni project. For the month of December it’s an ornament swap instead of the usual color-coordinated loot. I figured it wasn’t that much of a commitment. Surely I could manage to get one ornament in the mail before a deadline. How hard could that be?

Obviously this was before I opened up the world’s most popular flash card shop and before I was struck down by the flu. The deadline came and went and I got squat in the mail. Boo-hiss for me and my internal over-achiever. It was really hard to take actually. I hate missing deadlines, even though I do it nearly every day.

I decided it would be very fun and exciting to paint an ornament. Paint! Let’s paint! My mom never needs to be talked into going to Michaels. You say, let’s go, and she says, “How high?” or something like that. My mom loves crafting as much as I do. So off we went Michaels. I don’t know why I am drawn to that crazy store. It’s jam-packed with so much tacky awful stuff. (Sorry, not talking about anything you bought there of course!) Maybe I go there because there is nowhere else to get supplies around here.

Of course I had to walk down every aisle and get sucked into every little pre-packaged idea of how to amuse myself with stuff that I probably already have. But hey! It’s right here in a box so maybe I should just buy it and not bother looking for it when I get home! I hate that trap. Thankfully, I wised up and put most everything back before I got to the check-out counter but I did manage to buy two baskets (to hold all my crafting crap of course!) that WERE NOT fifty percent off like they said they were.

I hate it when that happens. Since when do baskets cost 50 bucks each? I had to turn right around and take them back the minute the receipt finished printing. What a hassle.

Michaels is totally guilty of up-marking stuff so they can discount it later. I know. I priced them way back when I was buying up canvasses for my Dog Days of Summer project.

winter bear

But anyway, I was talking about the ornament painting. It didn’t go so well. At least not to my standards. Now that I’m lurking around Etsy all the time these days, I’m starting to think I’m some kind of professional crafter or something. I was sorely disappointed with my painting strokes. The paint we bought (that is specifically for glass) was messy and goopy and showed every stroke like nail polish. I think it was nail polish, actually. If you put on more than one coat at a time, it would pick up the layer underneath.

It was just a mess and a headache and definitely not a project for someone with a toddler who gets into everything and/or wants to “help” all the time. I barely got two ornaments painted that I’m happy with and I still have a whole table full of paint and brushes and glass ornaments that need to be filled with paint on the inside (because I don’t like them when they are clear for some strange reason). I’m just over it.

So I moved onto something I’m a little more comfortable with:

paper transfer ornaments!

Iron-on transfer paper! I’ll have to share pictures of the results tomorrow.

The Battered Banner-Maker Calls a Meeting

peeved banner-maker

Wow! Two posts for the price of one! Before you go and mentally click your heels together, I have to tell you that this is a blog business post. I feel like a big mean ogre for writing it too. I wish I weren’t writing it. So instead of having a little party over me posting more, you might as well sit down sulkily at your boardroom chair and get ready for some dull droning about pie charts or something. Don’t you wish you brought your sketchpad now?

Oh, wait. That was me. Sorry, having a flashback to my days in cubeland when I had to sit in boring meetings and I filled up my entire “meeting notes” page with sketches. Those were the best sketches. Thinking about them almost makes me wish I was bored more often. Just kidding!!!!!

Ahem. Cough, cough. Sips water.

Hi everybody. I’m so glad you could make it. Is everyone comfortable? Can I offer you a sweet roll? Yes, minding our calories. I understand. So anyway, I brought you all here today to discuss the Freebie Banner Contest I’ve had going on since forever. It has come to my attention that several of the winners have taken their banners down for various reasons.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not upset about this. Blogging is a free world (so far) and each blogger has the right to do what she will with her banner. I know that I personally hate looking at the same thing for more than a month so I completely understand the need to take things down and dust them off every once in a while.

HOWEVER! If this is YOU, you should NOT ENTER MY CONTEST!

Oh, wait. I wasn’t mad. I’m sorry. I was yelling at Baby Bug because she was eating the pathos plant in the corner and I forgot to lower my voice. Really, I’m not mad! I understand. I completely understand. And besides some of the people who have taken their banners down are my friends and I like them and I really really don’t want to piss anyone off with my hurt-feelings/diva-designer attitude.

I know I’m not all that. I know sometimes my banners are not my best work. Some months flow, some months don’t. I totally understand if you hate your banner that I made you. I want you to tell me if you’re “just not into it”. I do. And if you had it up for more than a year, I TOTALLY AGREE that you need a change.

But on the other hand, I get a LOT of banner freebie requests. So many that I think someone put me up on one of those sites where there are lists of FREE STUFF you can click on and get things like granola bars and chiropractor pens sent to your house. So I’m feeling kinda used, if you know what I mean. My banners are not granola bars and they are not crooked-back chiropractor pens. They may look like it but they are not. They are little tiny packages of love.

They are also FOUR HOURS of my life! My life is full and busting at the seams, yet I am driven to stay up all hours of the night to squeeze just one more drop out of it. I love designing. I love making banners. I love being a graphic artist/illustrator. The problem is sometimes it is TOO MUCH. And I have to make choices. I have to choose to say no. Even when it hurts.

So, I’m here to say that I’m throwing out all of the banner winner entries that have been accumulating since March 2007 (no, I have not thrown a single one out) and I’m starting over with new rules. I’m sorry. I really am. Your entries are brilliant and I laugh out loud when I read them. I really do! I love them all! They are like little hugs from you. I try to write back to every single one. And if you haven’t gotten an email back from me it’s because yours is still in my inbox, flagged and waiting to be written back to.

However, I have to start over. I have to throw out all those little hugs and ask for only sincere hugs from now on. Only big bear hugs from people who really read my site and really really want an SAJ banner. If you just want something free because it’s sitting there with a blinking light, then don’t enter. Go to the grocery store and get some of those automatic feed coupons or something.

I’m not saying that the people who took my banners down make me feel like that. I know all of you and I understand each of your reasons for taking them down. It’s okay. Really it is. No need to apologize or even think twice about it. I promise. Pinky swear!

No, I’m thinking more of the people who I’ve chosen to win something and then never even respond to my emails. I just feel cheap and used and I need to start over with some better rules.

Here are the new rules:

  1. You must read this post before entering
  2. You must be interested in a banner that will stay up longer than six months. If you just need a seasonal change, I’m not your girl.
  3. You must solemnly swear not to waste my time*. Promise me you’re worth losing sleep over!
  4. Email me five things about yourself just like you have been because you’ve been doing a GREAT job at that. I love them. All of them. If you crack me up, I love them even more.
  5. Include your URL so I can stalk you and decide if you really need a banner or not (because some of you have fabulous banners already and you do not need me!)

Sigh. Let’s take a moment of silence to consider what a crazy PMS-ing beeyotch SAJ has suddenly become. If this post is gone when you come back later, it’s because I felt terribly guilty and took it down.

Sigh.

I’m so sorry! I deserve no comments and nobody entering my contest ever again. I totally understand if you hate me. But it just has to be this way. I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. You can make faces at me if you want. You can even talk about me behind my back. I expect it. I just want to be happy when I make stuff for free. You understand? Right?

Thank you for your time. This meeting is over. Please remember to pick up your spit balls and crumpled-up meeting notes and deposit them in the trash can beside the door on your way out.