Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #5: Why I Live Where I Live

First, let me say that one of my favorite things about Joy's blog is that she finds all this cool stuff on the internet and saves me sooo much time! I just go there and love everything and drool and then come back all inspired. It's fabulous.

So, she's been doing this for at least a week, and I just couldn't fit it in. But now, while my husband is out in the garage digging out the scroll saw, I have a few minutes to write the story of why I moved to the place where I currently live. This prompt comes via a book called 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity that I will definitely need to check out.

I promise this is a true story. Quite a few years ago, I lived with a wealthy Turkish man. Our life was jet-setting and fabulous and I was very spoiled. Every weekend we had a fun adventure: extravagant shopping on 5th Ave in NYC, VIP lounges at exclusive nightclubs, dinners with various political important people in DC. New cars and trips to Europe every year. Lots of wine. We lived together for five years. Though the relationship had the volatile ups and downs of your typical over-the-top passionate relationship, ultimately I realized that we had very different goals in our lives. I wanted to explore who I was and he wanted to make me who he thought I should be. I wanted to continue our exciting life and he wanted to move to Istanbul. In the condo above his parents. And build a staircase between the two condos. So his non-English-speaking and somewhat over-involved mom could come over. Everyday. To make breakfast. I thought long and hard about giving up financial security and the glam life. And then I gave my mogul an ultimatum: we begin to collaborate on how our life together should be or I will find my own way. His response: this is how I am, take it or leave it. I moved in with a girlfriend. He had a breakdown. We eventually found a way to be friends. My girlfriend got married, leaving me homeless, so I moved back in with my parents while I sorted myself out.

This is me - almost 15 years ago, on the verge of being spoiled. Wouldn't it be great if we could learn all life's tough lessons and sort ourselves out while we are still young?

My brother hooked me up with a new job, and we worked together for about a year in Philadephia. Then, he went to a conference in California and told me he was thinking about looking for a job. I told him if he moved, I would move too. Ready for a big change. When he came back from the conference, he'd found a job and announced he would be relocating in 2 weeks. What?? Ok, I took some vacation, we drove across the country together. I saw San Diego for the first time. Not bad. Went home, put my resume on the Internet, found a company willing to hire and me and relocate me, and voila, I live in San Diego.

I met the man-of-my-dreams. Now we live in the town where he grew up. We have a beautiful son. And my life is nothing at all the way I imagined it might be. It's better. And keeps getting better all the time.

My husband is going to jail, but what to wear...

Oh yes, you didn't think I would forget to update you on the alternate universe that is my husband's family, did you?

Who knew that there were rules about what you can wear when visiting inmates? Well, certainly not me. Even though I studied Criminal Justice, I have never actually been to a prison facility. So, the rules were: 1) no khaki because that's what the guards wear, 2) no jeans because that's what the prisoners wear.

Scott went to visit his brother Paul. The prison "camp" is about 2 hours away. He had to be transferred there, because his wife got a restraining order against him and he'd not allowed to be within 50 miles of her. What? Hello! He's in JAIL. Why should it matter if he's 10 miles away or 50 miles away if he's locked up? Oh, right, you'd have to be logical to come to those kinds of conclusions. What was I thinking?

I'm somewhat relieved that he'll be getting out in about a month. Our phonebill should go down considerably, because he won't be calling us collect every few days. Gotta love when you have company, and the answering machine picks up one of those calls: "This is a call from a California State Correctional Facility..." the voice booms out. Good thing we never have company.

PhotoShop Friday - Lesson 3

Had so much fun with PhotoShop Friday last week that I had to go back for more this week. You can join in the fun too - information is on Jessica Sprague's blog. Friday was a very busy day, since I was traveling, so I didn't have the energy to stay up late like I normally do. So, I'm doing PhotoShop Sunday instead. Jake woke up at 3:30 am and I couldn't go back to sleep. This little project was a great way to keep busy without disturbing hubby's sleep.

Today's inspiration piece (Jessica's layout):

And my page (picture is me), using images from Dover Electronic Clip Art: Old-Fashioned Silhouettes, free background paper and stamp from designer digitals. Fonts are Muriel and Blackout Serif. Frame is my own design & will probably be included in my next release of rubber stamps.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Alcohol Twice in One Week?

Oh my! Saturday, we were going to go to Artwalk down in San Diego. Plan was to drop Jake off with grandparents at 2pm, drive to Old Town, and take trolley into the city.

But grandparents called at 2pm and said, "we're still out running errands, come at 3pm, is that ok?" Well, what if it's not? Would it get them home any faster? Nope.

At 2:55 pm, Jake fell asleep, finally giving in to the nap he'd been avoiding all day. He slept until 4:30 pm. So we changed our plans. When Jake got up, we still dropped him with grandparents. But instead of Artwalk, we went to dinner at Macaroni Grill with Cat & Mike. Cat's always especially fun on Saturday nights, because, as she pointed out, it's like Friday night for her (since she works at the Cupboard on Saturdays). When we got there, they had already started on a bottle of Pinot Grigio. None of us drinks very often, so we were all a little goofy.

We doodled all over the paper tablecloth, ads for each of our businesses and listed our web sites. As though anyone might be reading them later. Cat drew the cutest little kitty face. Scott has his new point-and-shoot camera along, so we snapped a few pictures of our doodling.

We talked about the new mural that's coming to life at Distiction. And we even hatched plans to paint a justjohanna mural on the side of Cat's Craft Cupboard. I'm not sure if that was the alcohol talking or if it's something we might really do.

Inspired & Honored

Catching up on my blog reading from the last few days. Found that Joy Eliz was kind enough to link to my web site on this entry. Thank you! I love exploring her blog - she finds & makes the coolest stuff.

Submissions - RubberStamp Madness

Well, with one success under my belt, how can I not attempt more? I happen to have the most recent issue of RubberStamp Madness because Cat had a card published in that issue (see this entry for details). I'm going to stick with my formula of submitting 2 cards per call. Right now there is a call for Christmas cards and a call for paper dolls. I'm not sure if I'm up to the paper doll one, so I focused on Christmas cards. Can I just tell you how weird it is to be making Christmas cards in April? It's weird.

Anyway, both cards are a mix of my new justjohanna stamps and Rosie's Roadshow stamps. I still need to label them and put it all together for the mail. Here's a little sneak peek:

Friday, April 28, 2006

{Cue Cheesy Music} I'm gonna be a centerfold!

Yeah, that's right, baby! Ok, my CARD is going to be a centerfold. In the Sept/Oct issue of Rubber Stamp Madness. It's my very first time being published, so I'm pretty stinkin' excited about it! If you're a good detective, you can see a sneak preview of the card because I blogged about it when I submitted.

Studio Friday: Playtime! (Doodling)

I spent last evening with my brother in Chicago. I showed him my sketchbook with some old drawings in it that he had done for me about five years ago (yeah, I know, I don't use my sketchbook enough). He was amused and promptly snatched my sketchbook away and entertained himself with it off and on for the next few hours. Here's one of the pages he doodled. I couldn't help doodling over the tree - it was a great form to start with.

So, I was pretty excited when I saw that this week's Studio Friday challenge was "doodling"... but then I read Michelle's entry & realized that I hadn't absorbed all of the instructions... the doodling was supposed to be done with the usual tools, BUT using your mouth instead of your hands. Oh dear!

I tried pencil first, but the paper in my sketchbook has a little too much tooth. I switched to ball point pen, but couldn't apply enough pressure with my mouth. But marker worked just fine (you know, aside from not being able to control the tool). Somehow, I just don't see this little guy making it into the rubber stamp collection.

Brainstorming Sketches

... as promised. I almost always sketch on tracing paper or vellum.

Home Sweet Home

Got home early this afternoon. We were planning to stop at Scott's favorite Mexican restaurant, Olinda's, for something to eat. We got there & parked, but when we got to the front door, the place was all closed down. Nothing inside, not even the counter. Even the door knob was missing. Sigh. Pretty devastating after the very recent Krispy Kreme closure. What is San Diego coming to?

It was too depressing (plus Jake was super-whiny because he has a cold), so we headed home. Scott took a nap while I caught up on email & blogging, and Jake trashed the house. He started with pulling apart all the pages of about 5 post-it note pads, then throwing his mega blocks (giant Legos) one at a time into the hall, then emptying my closet of shoes and distributing them randomly throughout the house... you get the idea.

As I was pulling the photos from the weekend off my camera and looking through them, I realized I hadn't posted the exciting mail delivery I got on Monday. Wood! More than 100 pounds of it! Jake was as excited as I was and promptly unpacked all the boxes for me, saying "pull, pull!" the whole time. I included the picture of me, even though it's terrible & my eyes are closed, for reference. I'm 5'10" - so you can see how much wood this is. It's a lot. Enough for about 2,500 stamps. And it's heavy.

One additional box of wood arrived while I was in Chicago. I have it all now. Scott stopped at Sears and got us some jigsaw blades - we're ready to assemble!

And speaking of mail, I got my Oriental Trading Company goodies, and I got this little RAK (random act of kindness) goodie in the mail from Peg at 2peas. (Thanks, Peg!) I will reciprocate eventually. I suck at getting things to the post office. Not enough hours in the day. Good thing I won't be handling distribution for this stamp business myself!

Flying Home

Flight home was uneventful. It was 100% full and the plane was stuffy. Not nearly as much leg room as the trip out to Chicago, either. But I had an aisle seat and my neighbors weren't too annoying.

I spent most of the trip sketching out new concepts for rubber stamps. The rest of the time was spent reading the new issue of Martha Stewart Living - the closest thing to an art/craft/creative magazine I could find in the airport. There's a really cute card project on page 55. Unfortunately, the reference in the magazine takes you to nothing related on the web site. Hopefully, they just haven't updated yet and it will be there soon. There are supposed to be 10 calligraphy card templates you can download.

Boot Camp followed by Games

I spent the day yesterday in a Forrester project management "boot camp" learning about writing business cases, and justifying large IT expenditures. Yippee! I also learned the word asymptotically:

as·ymp·tote ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sm-tt, -mp-)n.

A line whose distance to a given curve tends to zero. An asymptote may or may not intersect its associated curve.

[Ultimately from Greek asumpttos, not intersecting : a-, not; see a-1 + sumpttos, intersecting (from sumpiptein, sumpt-, to converge : sun-, syn- + piptein, to fall; see pet- in Indo-European Roots).]

asymp·totic (-ttk) or asymp·toti·cal adj.
asymp·toti·cal·ly adv.


After fun adventures in finance and project management, I took a taxi over to Midway Games, where my brother works. He's working on a game called Stranglehold, directed by John Woo. The game is a sequel to the film Hard Boiled. E3 is in a couple of weeks, and I got to see the movie clip they'll be showing. It looks great! Can't wait to play the game. The upcoming expo almost makes me miss the game industry. But not really. I love this quote that sums up the E3 experience: playing games at E3 is like trying to read a book while a poltergeist destroys your apartment. So I'm probably not missing much, except that feeling for a few weeks of knowing stuff that mere humans are not privy to.

Westin Hotel

I stayed at the Westin. Great room, with spa-like mellow colors, fluffy bedding, and a chaise (ok, I'll be honest, I love any place if it has a chaise).

Lots of goodies in the bathroom, too. Everything displayed so nicely. I know if my husband had his druthers, our house would be this arranged and immaculate too.

Great view of the river (yeah, partial view but still a good one).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm in the Windy City, but it's not Windy

I arrived in Chicago late this afternoon. Weather is beautiful - just like being in San Diego, but with bigger buildings & no palm trees. I'm here for a one-day project management "boot camp" so I imagine my brain will be very tired at the end of tomorrow. I had a wonderful flight here. I spent the entire time mulling over the images and sentiments in my catalog, and I managed to sketch out ideas for 18 cards. I'll try to remember to post images of my sketches when I get back home so you can see how I like to work when brainstorming.


My cousin Devon lives and works here in Chicago. She went to grad school here, decided she liked it, and stayed. She works for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. She's adorable, and super-nice. After work, she came over to my hotel. She's interested in being crafty but not quite as obsessed as I am. I intend to drag her into the madness. I showed her my catalog and the samples I've been making. She seemed pretty excited. I gave her a few catalogs to pass out to her crafty friends. I gotta get some business cards made.

We walked around the few blocks near the hotel and scoped out dinner options. Then we found a restaurant called Vermillion, which she'd heard good things about. It's Indian-Latin fusion cuisine in River North (a neighborhood). Amazing ambiance, excellent service, and really creative dishes. When we arrived, the place was pretty empty, and the host joked with us that he would try to squeeze us in even though we didn't have reservations. The server was friendly, charming, and attentive. He also had a great sense of humor, and even told us about one time long ago when he worked at Bennigan's and spilled 8 cokes at once down a long table and everyone at the table got coke-in-the-lap.

Our meal was fabulous and adventurous. The flavors were spectacular and definitely exhibited the "kick" in menu descriptions. The server warned us that some entrees kick harder than others. We started with the scallops, enormous, cooked to perfection, served on a bed of pureed goat cheese. We decided to order 2 entrees that we both liked and shared them. First, Brazilian the seafood stew, full of shrimp, lobster, clams and mussels. Then lobster. A special dish that was on the top 20 dishes list for USA Today (at least, that's what the server claimed). We also tried their specialy martini's. Wow - they were really yummy. Pomegranate Ginger for me and Coriander Pear for Devon. Mmmm.

Also, there was fantastic (& huge) photography, throughout the restaurant, by Indian fashion photographer Farrokh Chothia.

Stamp On In

We realized at 7:35 that it was 7:35. And that the stamp store we wanted to get to closes at 8:00. Eek! So we finished up our drinks, got the check paid, and Devon was a pro at getting us a taxi and getting the taxi driver to really step-on-it. We arrived at Stamp On In at 7:57. And they were nice enough to let us come in and stay for a while.

I started with apologizing for arriving so late, and explaining that I'd just arrived from San Diego today and we lost track of time over dinner. They were very gracious. I let them look through my little box of samples while we shopped, and chatted intermittently. They had lots of nice things to say, but hard to tell if it was just because I'd put them on the spot by being there while they were looking through things.

They've gotten in some Rosie's Roadshow images since the last time I was there. They said they were just trying them out to see how they went over. They also had Queen & Co products.

I even remembered to tell them about our Design Team search, but I did forget to take along the flyers I'd printed out. Drat.

I was very encouraged when they asked, as I was checking out, if I had an order form. I told them that there's one on the web site, but we won't be taking orders until May 1, and won't be fulfilling them until June 1. They took the news well, and asked what my minimums would be.

Anyway, it's a great little store. The guys that work there (I'm guessing one of them was the owner) are just adorable and fun, and the store is very hip. So if you're in Chicago, I definitely recommend visiting.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another ATC (Who can stop at 1???)

Monday, April 24, 2006

My First ATC Ever

I felt like making something tonight but didn't have any ideas for cards. Was catching up on some blog reading instead and Joy has a new ATC posted. So I decided that if I ever want to get my hands on a collection of ATCs, I better start making some! I really want to be collage-y, but it sure is hard for me. My foray into collage here is the postage stamp I included. I really used it to cover up the door of the birdcage because I didn't like how it looked next to the birdie in the cage. Maybe next time I'll be a little braver.

Oh, Poop - A Recurring Theme

Yesterday morning, as we were packing up supplies for our day at Sea World & getting ourselves ready to go, I heard Jakob's little voice from the living room, "Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, yuck!" Just sincerely & plaintively. I peeked in to see what he'd gotten into. He was holding his left hand out in the air as if there were something sticky on it. I got closer and oh, no, oh yuck was right! Coated in sticky semi-dry poop. I changed his diaper, washed & sanitized his hands, and then had to actually use a nail clipper to scrape the poop out from under his fingernails. One of the more disgusting mommy experiences I've had so far.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

We're Mentioned on Papercrafts Message Board!

PaperCrafts Message Board Post

Thanks, 1of2shoes!

20 Years is a Long Time

This weekend I got to see an old friend for the first time in 20 years. We moved to New Jersey when I was six years old. The first people we met were our neighbors from across the soybean field - Darlene and her 2 daughters Kelly & Michelle. Kelly just one year younger than me, and Michelle just a little younger than my brother. We lived there for nine formative years. I have so many memories of treks back and forth through a worn path in the field. I spent nights at their house. I don't remember them spending nights at our house, but they must have. Visiting there was such a treat - there were a lot less rules at there. We got to eat macaroni & cheese from a box. And grape popsicles. And Tastykakes. I remember lots of fun times at our house, too. We had an old metal trunk full of clothes that had belonged to my great grandmother and various great great aunts. It included a gold cape - velvet on one side and satin on the other. Lots of pairs of white gloves and one purple pair that went to the elbows. A pair of black witch shoes with buttons that required a button hook to close. Floppy hats with flowers. Long dresses and skirts. We'd all dress up, pack up the dolls and a picnic and trapse all around our seven acres. Our favorite play spot was the graveyard. We'd each choose a grave marker as our residence and set up house. Then we would go on vacations together or visit one another. Or on foraging trips to gather fruits & berries to make magical potions. It was a special treat if there had been a funeral recently because the attendees always left lots of flowers behind, and much to my mother's chagrine, we always helped ourselves. We had no idea we were being irreverent.

We moved away from there when I was 15. Though I've been back to visit occasionally over the years, I hadn't really seen Kelly. But she's living in Arizona right now where her husband is stationed. And they came to California for a long weekend vacation. We had dinner with them on Saturday night, and then went to Sea World with them today. They have 2 daughters - Greenlee is just a month older than our son Jakob. Sydney is just about 3 months old I think.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Illustration Friday: Robot

Hrmmm. I don't think robots are my thing. This is almost too embarrassing to link to all the other fabulous art on Illustration Friday. And nearly too embarrassing to post. But I really want to keep trying to get better at this drawing stuff. And if I don't try new things, how will I get better?

More Birdies & Some Paper Flowers!

Look what Benita made me buy! She made me! And so let me pass it along. They are from Oriental Trading Company. I think they look better in Benita's photo than on the web site, but did that stop me from buying? Noooo!

Anyway, just so you can find them easily. Here are the item numbers: 65/65542 & 65/65541.

And since I was there, I also ordered these cute little glass birds:

And these totally adorable fuzzy little chicks! This purchase wasn't my fault either, though. I saw something similar on this blog. I don't know how I ended up there, but I've had it open for several days now on my desktop. So many wonderful things to look at. I guess I need to add her to my imaginary friends, then, so I don't misplace the address.