Saturday, June 26, 2010

Broke in Vegas

I know that y’all probably thought I fell off the face of the earth since I haven’t posted in over 10 days but here I am…I’m baaaack.

Man, I missed you guys!

If you remember, Richie & I had booked a vacation to Las Vegas way back in March…the roundtrip flight and hotel were all paid for, we just had no spending money but we decided to go anyway. We left early last Saturday and just returned home last night.

You would think that the last place you’d want to go when you are extremely broke would be Vegas but that is so not true. There are more things to do that are absolutely free than you can imagine. The fountain show and the Conservatory, both at Bellagio, the Volcano eruption at The Mirage, the wildlife preserve at The Flamingo, beautiful art galleries, sculptures and architecture everywhere you turn, and the list goes on and on and on.

There is so much to see and so much to do, none of it costing a single dime but all of it spectacular. What we found that was really awesome was that we still had comps (freebies) on our players cards from our visit to Vegas back in 2006 (yea, from four years ago!!!) which allowed us to eat most of our meals for free, too. That was so awesome (and much needed, to be honest.)

We spent lots of time just relaxing and napping in our very nice room (we stayed at Harrah’s on the strip) and we did a ton of walking…all of which we needed.

Who says a vacation has to be about money? Trust me, it doesn’t.

Anyway, I have tons of photos to share with y’all, I just have to get them uploaded but that is going take me a couple of days…I have laundry to catch up on, my DVR’d TV shows to watch, journaling to do, and some Etsy & Ebay orders to get packaged and get mailed…not to mention that I am in big need of doing a Supply Saturday post, too.

Thanks for wondering about me and checking in on me (you know who you are)…I’m back and life remains very good.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Huge Thanks & Winners

My wonderful friends and blog readers, when I asked for your help 12 days ago, I was at the end of my rope…but you guys really came to our aid.

We appreciate your help more than you know. Every penny you guys contributed (either directly or through buying items from my Etsy shop) has gone to help my daughter get on her feet, pay daycare, buy gas, and purchase scrubs and she is very thankful. Her 1st paycheck is coming June 22nd and she feels she'll be out of the woods then. Thank you for all your help...it means the world to me. You guys are the very best!

The winners of the giveaways I promised (even though some of you didn't leave comments, I still have your names via Paypal and included you) are:

1. A FREE 10 pack set of Sharpie Water-based Paint Pens goes to MISSY!
2. The sweet framed art piece entitled “A Rainbow of Butterflies” that I created goes to AMANDA (Persistent Green)!
3. One of my very favorite art pieces I’ve ever created, “The Meaning of Love'” goes to KATHY (Paper Pumpkin)!

I have everyone’s addresses on their Paypal so I will get these goodies out to y'all on payday.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trying Something New

When I am in a creative slump, I tend to cruise around on the ‘net and lots on Flickr, finding new (to me) and beautiful artwork of all types to inspire me. Lately I have come across tons of fabric covered art journals of all kinds. I’ve looked at them on Etsy, too…but MAN ‘O MAN, they are ex*pen*sive (albeit, worth every penny) and we all know I am as broke as can be right now, but window shopping is always fun.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but be inspired, though. It really got my creative juices churning and my wheels turning. (LOL at my little rhyme there.)

So, I pulled out the old sewing machine (well, it’s actually pretty new since it seldom ever gets used, but you know what I mean), my boxes of fabric scraps, some FABULOUS watercolor paper (Fabriano Artistico 140 lb hot press) and started this little experiment in my laboratory, ahem, in my studio.

I had no set plan, no picture in my head of a pretty finished piece, just an idea that I wanted to play around with and see where the idea and the feeling of needing to be creative took me…and here’s where it led:

IMG_0186This is the front while it’s closed but I still have to figure out what kind of closure I want to put on it…a long strap to wrap around? A button and button-hole? An elastic hoop to hook around a button? I dunno but I’ll figure something out today. I am really loving it and all the bright, vivid colors; the soft feel of the quilted fabric. Mmmmm!

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I couldn’t resist including a little heart on the front as a little accent and who can resist a pink one against a dark black background? Yeah, I think it really sets off the front of my little quilted journal experiment. *smile*

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I lined the inside with a burgundy cotton to give the inside a solid color interior…plus, the crazy quilting I did really shows up splendidly on the solid color, too.

IMG_0190 This is the back. The fabric on the right with the orange/brown flower is my favorite but that is the only scrap I have of it. Completely YUM!

IMG_0188Opened all the way, you can see the wonderful paper I chose to use and the varying widths I cut and folded them to in order to give some interest. There are 3 signatures with a total of 20 pages (giving a total of 40 sides) so this journal should last me a while. 

IMG_0192 Speaking of the paper I used, I have never used the Fabriano watercolor paper but Teesha Moore has preached it’s virtues forever and then a couple of months  back I caught some on sale and grabbed it up just to try it out.

O.M.G!!

I know it’s not Supply Saturday so I won’t do a review of the Fabriano here but after having worked with this awesome paper yesterday as i made this journal I have to tell you all how really fabulous it really is, so be sure and check back in with me Saturday. I really want to tell you all about why this really is the best paper I’ve ever laid my hands on in my life!

Now, I only have to figure out what kind of closure I’m going to use and my other “problem” is figuring out how to bind my signatures into the quilted cover. Hmmmm…it’s all about using ingenuity and creativity to figure these things out, right?  Oh, and taking suggestions from your friends….so, suggestions, anyone? LOL

Now, I only managed to get about 2 1/2 hours sleep last night thanks to a 98 degree sunny day yesterday and a not so air tight house built in the 1930’s…well, let’s just say that I don’t sleep so well while tossing and turning in a pool of my own sweat…so I’m going back to bed for a while or I’ll feel like crap all day. UGH!

Thanks for your comments on Supply Saturday. I appreciate it so much. Just knowing you’re reading makes writing so much more fun.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Supply Saturday 1.3

Hi y’all…if there is a “y’all”…I am beginning to wonder if I’m doing this for anyone but me.

Anyone there??? {echo.echo.echo…} LOL

Well, it’s already late Saturday evening and I really should be in bed since we tomorrow is our one Sunday a year that we have to work but I wanted to get this out and not be a day late (like I was last week.)  I’m a horrid procrastinator sometimes and I’m working on breaking that habit.

So, with some wonderful goodies on tap, let’s get this party started…

Uni-Ball Signo um-153 White Gel Pen-So many of us uni_um-153.1that love to work in our art journals (and scrapbooks, too) are always on the prowl for that elusive great white pen.  That was the battle for me until I found these awesome pens. I can’t say that they write on EVERYTHING (any waxy medium I use on my pages such as watercolor crayons or watercolor pastels always resist being written on with everything I have found so far) but they are the best white pen out there, in my opinion. They will write on everything else that I’ve tried them on other than those waxy supplies mention above and their color is a true opaque white and not a transparent or shiny off white. They make a bold mark (a 1.0 mm line, so don’t look for fine detail out of them), they don’t skip, and are relatively easy to find, especially if you shop online (try Jetpens.com, that’s where I get mine from) and all that at a reasonable price ($2.25 each at Jetpens.) This is definitely my preferred white pen so I give the Uni-Ball Signo um-153 a rating of 8 out of 10…it’s failure to write over my waxy mediums and not being carried in my local Wal-Mart are it’s main downfalls for me. Other than that, I love ‘em!

Claudine Hellmuth Studio Paints-When I saw that -claudine-hellmuth-studio-paints-all-15-colours-3446-p Claudine had gotten together with Ranger and she had her own line of paints, brushes, etc., I had to try them. I have one of each shade of her paints and have used them quite a bit. They are a semi-gloss, medium bodied acrylic that are available in 15 colors that come in 2 oz. jars. That being said, I like most of the colors (some more than others) and Claudine even has a mixing guide so that you can use the original 15 to create a total of 51 colors. Their downfall is the price which is a bit high, in my opinion. I do believe that you generally get what you pay for but a 2 oz. jar of these runs about $5.50 which means that you’ll pay around $82.50 + tax to get all 15 colors. Yea, that’s what I mean by being a bit steep, price-wise. In their defense, I am utterly in love with the “Dash of Red”, “Classic Teal” and “Landscape Green” colors and use those colors frequently. It’s not that the products aren’t good quality, they are…they are just unusual colors and with a price tag that is a bit higher than other acrylic paints that are more deeply pigmented, giving you more for your money. Because of cost concerns and the not so standard colors offered, I give the Claudine Hellmuth Studio Paints a rating of 5 out of 10. (My suggestion? Invest only in the colors from her palette that really appeal to you, otherwise save your pennies and spend your hard earned cash on some Golden’s liquid acrylics (you can use a little get medium to get more body if that’s what you need.) They are highly pigmented so a little goes a long way meaning they will really stretch…not to mention that they come in basic, mixable colors.  If that is still more than the budget allows right now, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby often have their inexpensive bottles of acrylics on special 2 for $1.00 and for art journaling, these are perfectly fine!)

I hope this week has been a good one for everyone…mine has been very full and tiring. Long hours at work and still trying to get my daughter situated and settled in at home and with her new job. It’s going wonderful for her at work; she’s loving every minute of being a nurse and really enjoys the people she’s working with/for, too. 

Thank you to everyone who has sent help out to us in order to get everything situated. We’re not quite “there” yet but we’re well on our way (still working on paying for Noah’s daycare & Savannah’s gas for next week)…and we appreciate your help so very much. Just one more week of struggling and she should be home free with getting her first paycheck on the 22nd, YAY!!!

Now, off to bed with me cause I know that 5:45am is going to come mighty early.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Photos from the Road, Part III

I realized this morning that I have been taking on the role of Superwoman for my family (and for work, for that matter) for what seems like forever and it has finally knocked me to my knees…literally.

I am exhausted and past the point of going right now. With so much going on in our personal life and all of the pitfalls we’re battling, my mind and my body are just falling apart…I can’t even find my way back to my creativity right now. I want to create…it’s just hard to actually do it at the moment.

The one thing that’s keeping me in the creative realm is taking my Photos from the Road.  I am really in love with finding these little snippets of life and capturing them through the lens.  Here are a couple from this weeks work traveling journeys…

 sepia This old barn sits right off the road (and we all know what a thing I have for old barns and dilapidated houses, right?) and I’ve noticed it for over a year now. I’m glad I finally took the time to stop and capture it…and in sepia tone, too. I just hate that the land owners have opted to clear cut all of the land around this beautiful old structure. *sigh*  I just hate clear cutting all the trees…it makes the land so barren and breaks my tree loving heart when I see it.

Berries

As I was taking photos of the barn up there, I looked down at my feet and my-o-my, what did I see? Wild berries! Momma always called them Dew Berries…what I call them is YUMMY! Aren’t they just succulent looking?

When they are all black and ripe, they make the very best cobbler you’ve ever let your tongue have the pleasure of tasting.

Now that I know the Dew Berries are ripening, it’s time to get the hubby to take me into the woods on our ATV riding trails with a big bucket so I can pick gallons of these babies to freeze. Berry cobbler all winter, boys and girls…those are the little things that make life wonderful.

And with that, I leave you to your Wednesday. I hope you have a great day and that life treats you with kindness as you go on your daily journey.

Be safe and take care.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Supply Saturday - Sharpie Paint Pens & Collage Pauge


I know this is a day late but as you can see by my previous post, it’s been a really rough time around the Craft Junkie household the past few days…If you haven’t read my previous post, I would be forever grateful if you’d take a few minutes and read it. Besides, you might get a chance to win a great prize in my giveaway, too.

Thanks so much!

Anyway, It’s that time again, boys and girl…time for Supply Saturday (even though it’s actually Sunday LOL)! This week’s supplies are some real goodies so let’s get this party rollin’…
  • Sharpie Water-based Paint Pens-I found these great paint markers based on their use and the love of them by Teesha Moore. Once I had tried them, I was hooked! What they consist of is real acrylic paint in marker form and they are great for so many things but especially for art journaling. They come in a crazy number of colors, even fluorescents and they are can be applied over most every single base (even most waxy substrates) which makes them awesome, in my opinion. They are easy to use, extremely portable and virtually mess free to work with, too. They add beautiful color (or just black or white) to your art and they work great for lettering, outlining or just doodling. I just can’t tout all of the great uses for these awesome pens enough. The downfall to what I consider one of the very best art journaling supplies that exists is that Sanford, the manufacturer, has verified that they are ceasing production of them. I am already having a very hard time finding them in white and that is the one that I seem to use the most. If you don’t already have a few of these great paint pens, you are really missing out on a super supply. I am doing research to see what similar paint pens I will be forced to go to when Sharpie no longer has these available anywhere and I will keep y’all up to date on my findings. Luckily I have a nice large stash of most every color (except white!) that should tide me over for quite a while.  *NOTE: Since you can see that I sell these great pens in my Etsy, I want to make it very clear that I’m not reviewing them in order to sell more of them…the reason I sell them is because I do LOVE them so much and I believe them to be one of the very best products around so I want to share them with anyone who loves them as much as I do! 
  • Collage Pauge-This decoupage medium (the label calls  CollagePauge it a water-resistant glue sealer and finish) is designed by the wonderful Traci Bautista and is in the same genre as that great old standby, Mod Podge.  One of the biggest differences between the two is that Collage Pauge is a bit thinner and in a squirt type bottle which makes it easier and less messy to use in many types of art, especially in my art journaling. While I like the matte and glossy versions okay, the sparkle version is very much not my cup of tea at all. The “sparkles” appear to be nothing more than large cut glitter mixed into a semi-gloss version of the medium. Here are my downfalls to the product in general: COST…I paid $6.99 + tax for each 8 oz. bottle of Collage Pauge (the 16 oz bottles go for around $10.99 each) but I can get plain old Mod Podge at $5.99 for the huge 16 oz. bottle, so that makes this product very cost prohibitive to me. Second, when I have used any of them for gluing down papers that are less than cardstock, I get lots of wrinkling…in order to stop or lessen the buckling or wrinkling, I had to spend more time than is necessary to work the product and keep the papers flat to the substrate as it adheres, much like you’d find if you were using plain old Elmer’s School Glue. The kudos I will give Collage Pauge is that once it adheres, it’s there for good as it has superb adherence not to mention that there is an ease to it’s use.  All in all, I love Traci and her work so I really wanted to fall in love these products but to me, they just don’t deliver. I give the glossy & matte versions of Collage Pauge a rating of 3 and the sparkle version a rating of 2. (My suggested alternative glue, sealer & finish? Invest your hard earned money in some gloss gel medium or matte gel medium, otherwise save your pennies by using Mod Podge.)
There you have it, this weeks Supply Saturday.  Thank you all for the wonderful, warm reception for this little idea of mine to review supplies. I am really enjoying sharing my supply knowledge with everyone so y’all keep the ideas coming.

Remember, if you haven’t read my previous post and you’d like a chance to win a set of 10 of the great Sharpie Water-based Paint pens, be sure to check it out…and thanks.

To everyone that has already read and especially those who have reached in their pockets and given from their heart, I love and adore you all. YOU are the reason that I come here and do what I do. 

Thank you!

Peace & Love,
Barb

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Desperate for Help

Our family has had a week beyond belief and I have reached a point of desperation and that has brought me to this point.

Let me explain…

My oldest daughter, Savannah, and the grandboy have been living in Arkansas with her father (my exhusband) for the past year while she finished nursing school. We found out Friday that she passed her NCLEX so she is now officially a licensed nurse and that has been the one happy occurrence among a week full of pitfalls. She already has a job and starts on Monday so we are very excited about that, too.

In the midst of being excited about those two wonderful happenings we found out that her father, a severe alcoholic, had basically stolen all the money that Savannah had saved in order to move back to Alabama and to pay for all of her licensing fees and live until her first paychecks start rolling in. She had plenty of money to do everything she needed to do and then *poof* it was gone…she is now pennyless, literally, without a dime to her name.

That was the beginning of bad…

On Thursday, Savannah had all of her belongings in Arkansas packed and ready to be moved back here, to Alabama and a friend of hers was going to go with her to get everything with his truck and trailer. His Dad became deathly ill (after a liver transplant last week) and he couldn't go so we had to scramble to rent a moving truck at the last minute.

Then, another blow hits when Savannah has a flat on her car and her spare was non-existent (another thanks to her Dad kinda thing.)  She had to leave it parked on the side of the road to be fixed the next morning. She & my SIL left for Arkansas to get her stuff and Shelby & I were going to get her flat fixed and get the room ready for her & Noah's stuff....well, Savannah didn't get her car far enough off the road so Alabama State Trooper had it towed for  being a "highway hazard". *sigh*

As you can see, it has been one thing after another…

I guess what it comes down to is that we are penniless right now, all of us in this household. Savannah’s had all of her money taken by someone she should have been able to trust, we’ve bought new tires (two so far) that had to be bought, paid impound and towing fees, rented trucks, bought tons of gas, and on and on, It's just been one thing after another every bit of it has cost Richie and I until we are now at the point we have nothing left to give.  We had money saved for our vacation (flight & hotel are already paid for and are non-refundable/non-transferable or I’d be cashing that in), the one time a year that gets us away from it all and recharges our batteries, and in one swoop every single penny of it is gone but we are thankful and feel lucky we had it.

So, here I am, going way out on a limb and throwing this out at the universe and to you, my wonderful friends…if you enjoy Supply Saturday, if you enjoy the journal pages and art you find here, if you’ve learned something from a tutorial you’ve found on Craft Therapy, or if you’ve found support from something I’ve said, we would be forever in your debt if you would drop a little something in the Chip In tip jar at the bottom of this post…every dollar would mean the world to me; to US as a family…or you could buy something from my Etsy shop. Either would help us out of a desperate situation tremendously.

Savannah has no gas money, no scrubs for work, no money to buy her Arkansas license (a requirement!), no money to pay the $75 a week for daycare until she get get her first check from the new job (3 weeks away) and Richie & I have depleted every morsel of our savings and we are now down to not having gas money ourselves until payday after all of the saving we’ve done over the past 6 months.

We are going to be listing things on Ebay and I will be adding things to my Etsy every day but it’s going to take much more than what we have to offer to get us out of this HUGE hole.  I feel like such a failure for even putting the Chip In button on here but, as I’ve seen recently through a friend of mine, we live in a wonderful community and we are all here to support each other…so I am coming to the only place I know to come for help, my beautiful art community. 

To make it worth your while, I am going to give away three awesome prizes and every person that donates, no matter the size of your donation ($1 or $100, every penny is appreciated by us) will be entered to one of these great goodies…

1. A FREE 10 pack set of Sharpie Water-based Paint Pens, found in my Etsy Shop (See ‘em HERE.)
2. This sweet little framed art piece entitled “A Rainbow of Butterflies” that I created (you can see it HERE.)
3. One of my very favorite art pieces I’ve ever created, “The Meaning of Love'” (check it out HERE.)

All you have to do to be included in the drawing for these great prizes is hit the Chip In Button below and donate what you can spare. After you do, leave a comment on this post letting me know that you donated and your name will be entered in the drawing for one of these great prizes.  I will leave the button up until June 15th (unless we get enough before then) and I will do the drawings for the goodies that evening.

Any help you can give us right now would mean more than you can ever know...even if you can’t donate anything, if you would spread the word by blog, tweet, Facebook, MySpace or use any other way you have to tell your friends about this drawing, I will be forever in your debt.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

(And I haven’t forgotten Supply Saturday, it will be up a little later this evening…just so y’all don’t think it has slipped my mind in the midst of all this mess. LOL)

Peace, Love & Appreciation Always,
Barb


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Lonely Tree

I had plenty more photo opportunities with my camera while doing my journeys to and from work this week. 

This time my focus is a tree that I have been passing for over a year as I travel and I fell in love with it at first sight. For some reason I feel this deep affinity with this beautiful but lonely tree.

It’s like all the smaller surrounding trees and all of nature around this beauty are having a party, turning green and celebrating spring while he stands there, bare, and watches over them all.

He’s quite majestic, if you ask me.

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While I was out of the car and snapping photos of my fabulous tree, I saw these sweet wildflowers and thought I’d try out the macro feature on my camera…how cute did these turn out?

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Well, time to shred the chicken for Chicken Casserole and maybe whip up some brownies for dessert, too.  Happy humpday, y’all…it’s all downhill from here.

Peace & Love,
Barb

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