Wednesday, December 31, 2008

your voices


I need some advice. This is my last entry of 2008, and I want to make some resolutions regarding this blog. I want to make it more interesting! I want to make it fun! I want to know what you'd like to see in here. Your suggestions/demands/requests are welcome! Should I feature other Etsy shops? Host giveaways? Do tutorials? Should I write more about my life, instead of just my shop and artwork? I know as a reader, I enjoy a mix of both - but I want to hear from YOU!!

Meanwhile: One of my stamps was included in a treasury, come check it out! It's quite lovely, and I'm not saying that out of bias due to my stamp's inclusion. It's just got great colors. I absolutely LOVE the purple crayons. While you're at it, take a look at the curator, SplishySplashCraft's shop. She's a very talented stamp carver!
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

when one door closes


I've been carving a lot of rustic looking objects lately. I'm not sure why, there's just something really appealing to me about things that look a little dilapidated and wonky. I spent all of today carving and drawing - mostly to fill orders, but this door was just for fun.
The new year is just days away (I'll be seeing it in with Toad the Wet Sprocket as a fan and staff member, an excellent way to begin a new year!!) and I hope to build my Etsy hobby into more of an actual business. That means promoting more, getting a tax ID and paying taxes, and continuing to create items that people want.
I'd love to hear from those of you reading this. If you could wave a magic wand and have a stamp appear just for you, what would that stamp be of? (And yes, I realize if you really had a working magic wand, a rubber stamp is probably low on your list of things you'd make appear, but go with it...)
Feel free to chime in!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

the Virgin birth

Alrighty, made it through Christmas! It was a rather humble one this year with things being rough financially for us. This caused us to focus a lot more on enjoying the time spent together as a family, and it was great.

Today I've been busy carving a stamp I've wanted to do for a while; The Virgin of Guadalupe. I thought it'd be kind of fun to photograph a few of the stages of stamp carving. In the first photo we have the drawing already transferred onto the carving material (and for me that entails just drawing something with a pencil, flipping the paper over, laying it on the carving material and rubbing the back of the drawing until the graphite transfers over). I've just starting carving out the details, and my magnifying glass is my best friend.


And here is something I do throughout the carving process; check to see how things are looking by going over the carved area with marker and making a test print in my sketchbook. My sketchbooks are full of odd, disembodied pieces of images.


Now we've got a somewhat inky partially-finished stamp. This always results in inky fingers and occasionally some interesting marks on my face as well. You know I've been carving if I have a blue mustache.


And here we have one last test print in the sketchbook:


And at last, the finished stamp:Ta-da!!!
And that's all for today.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the longest night


Happy Winter Solstice! It's the shortest day of the year, which means the light is coming back! I like Solstice days, they feel like a sort of turning point. The stamp pictured is one that I carved for a Winter Solstice swap hosted by Julie Bloch (my stamp carving idol). Each artist contributed 15 pages (one for each person who participated) and Julie put them together in a little hand-bound book. It's beautiful!! I'm really glad I participated in this swap.

I hope everyone has a lovely Solstice. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a tight grasp on the obvious


I overhead this gem of wisdom at the gym this morning. This was a woman's response to someone mentioning that she didn't see her in spin class last week - "Oh yeah, I was away. *ponderous pause* If I'm not here, it's because I'm away."
Another of life's mysteries, unraveled at last.

My daughter is at Disneyland today, celebrating her best friend's birthday. (The best friend and her mom are also there, of course.)(I don't know why I was compelled to write that.) She called me just after they went on Splash Mountain, her favorite ride. Here is the conversation we had:
Me: "So, how was it?"
Her: "Well, we won't be going on it again today."
Me: "Why not?"
Her: "Cause the kid right in front of me threw up. Into the water."

Niiiiiiiiice. Now for those of you who don't know, I have a major, sometimes debilitating vomit phobia. And the only reason I wasn't there in the boat with the rest of them was because I'm broke and could only afford my daughter's admission. So the lesson we can take from this is that sometimes being poor is a GOOD thing.

Tonight we're having dinner at our friends Matt and Kristen's house. Matt's birthday is on the 25th and he's really into Superman (don't hold it against him, he's really cool), so I carved a Superman symbol for him. Here's a picture of a couple test-stamps of it in my sketchbook.
Now I have that "If I go crazy now, will you still call me Superman.." song stuck in my head.
Is it stuck in yours too? Sorry.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shhhhhh...


Well, I managed to get all my "Christmas rush" (in quotes because it wasn't a HUGE influx of sales) orders carved and shipped. Today I carved a portrait of Taylor Swift as a surprise Christmas gift for my daughter, I hope she likes it!

Things are going well today - I've got Lucy unmuzzled and she's playing with one of the two dogs we're boarding (Did I mention them? We're boarding two dogs for a client until Christmas eve) and not showing any aggression. It's weird, though, she did this the last time we boarded dogs. She was fine with all three of those dogs. She only seems to fight with the dogs that live here all the time. It's almost like she knows the visitors aren't part of her pack, so she doesn't need to dominate them. I'm still watching her like a hawk, though. These dogs are little white fluffy Malteses (Is that the correct plural?) and if she attacked one of them, they'd be toast. Well, they'd be something far more gross than toast. All the more reason to watch Lucy carefully.
Dead dogs would be bad for business.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am my own sweatshop


Ouch, my back!! My sales have picked up a bit in past few days, and now I'm rushing to get things done by the 20th. That, apparently, is the first-class mail deadline for things to arrive before Christmas. So, what am I doing sitting here writing a blog entry? Giving my back a short break! It's hard, sitting there hunched over a stamp for long stretches of time.

I listed a new one a few minutes ago. I've been trying to set aside some time every other day or so to make something new. It's something I need to do, it makes me happy and adds to my inventory. So...there you have it.
Back to work now!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I always knew Barbie would go astray


One of the many things I love about being part of the Etsy community is trades! It's a lot of fun when someone whose work I really like also happens to like mine and offers a trade. Right now, GothBarbie and I are working out a trade. I'm sort of in love with this iron cross scarf. Check out her shop, she's got some really cool items in there!!

She also wrote a really nice blog entry featuring some of my work, so have a look right here to see that post.

This morning, despite massive money issues, I'm once again grateful to have been laid off by the phone company two years ago. Being able to do dog training, and to have my Etsy shop..there are just no words to describe how much more fulfilling those things are compared with being a tiny (and evidently disposable) cog in a huge wheel.
Also, it's windy, rainy and cold outside and I don't have to slog through the wetness in work clothing. All I have to do is throw on some sweats, drop my daughter off at school, and go to the gym. If we manage to survive financially, it'll be a sweet life!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I just made you say underwear!



I recently got some really good tips from one of my very favorite stamp carvers, Corrabelle. Check out her shop, she has some really great designs. She's doing really well on Etsy and I admire her success as well as her skills, so I greatly appreciate her advice. One of her tips was to make stamps that pair up well with other stamps in my shop - she suggested a pair of panties to go with the bustier I already had listed. So..today that's just what I carved!

So...yeah, here I am on the internet showing everyone my underwear. *blush*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

going dental


For the longest time, I was one of those every-six-months dental patients. A very very good girl. At least as far as my dental hygene was concerned. Then, somehow, I managed to let four years go by without going in for a cleaning! How did this happen??? So yesterday I finally went in and Jaysus, it was brutal. No cavities or anything like that (only had one in my life), but the cleaning was brutal!!!! I don't know about your dentist, but my dentist has this ultrasonic pick thingy...have you seen these things? Remember back when a cleaning just involved them having at you with a pick/scraper thing, and then polishing your teeth? NOW they've still got the pick thing, but it vibrates and sprays water as it scrapes. This is like having a jackhammer and a firehose in your mouth all at once. *shudder* I can't even talk about it any more. But my teeth are so clean you could eat off of them! I will NOT be letting that much time go by between visits again.

Thanks to our two female corgis getting into a fight today, our male corgi is currently at the vet having his ear sewn up. This should cost a small fortune that we don't possess. Awesome. Why couldn't he just have stayed out of it???

Meanwhile, posted a new stamp to the shop today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

excuse me while I expose myself


So, I was having lunch with my friend James today and I decided it's time for me to come clean. I'm not JUST a dog trainer and stamp carver/psuedo artist. I'm also a horrible You Tube actress! James and I made a series of movies a while ago based on a weird conversation we had in his car one day. It all started with "If you could trade bodies with someone of the opposite sex for a day, what would you do?". I'll spare you the answers, but the chat generated an idea for a short film. Then the film got kind of popular, with many requests for a sequel. So...several sequels were generated. Feel free to witness my self-humiliation here if you have some time to kill. OH, there's also a zombie film that we did as a side project!! Who doesn't love zombies? (Aside from the dog who appeared in the film...)

On the art front, here is a retro rotary telephone stamp. How many of you reading this remember actually having a rotary phone in your house? Remember how freaking frustrating it was? Especially if someone's phone number had a 9 in it?
This stamp reminds me, not so fondly, of my years as a telephone operator.
If there is such a place as Hell, I believe it's a far more pleasant experience than being an operator.
What city please?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Come check out my pad, baby!


I'm conducting an experiment in my Etsy shop. I've had some people mention that I should offer ink pads to go with the stamps. So, I'm giving it a shot! (And I have no idea why I felt the need to place an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, but there you have it!) I just listed them, let's see how, if at all, they affect sales. Maybe potential buyers will be more apt to purchase a stamp if the ink pad is conveniently located in the same shop? We shall see.

Meanwhile, I had a dog training job today, which was nice. I love it when the client turns out to be someone I'd have enjoyed meeting anyway. It makes it seem much less like work and the whole experience is more enjoyable. The only thing marring today's session was the fact that one of her dogs had Really. Bad. Gas.
And chose to sit under my chair the entire time we were talking.

No job is perfect.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Technology is neato. Or annoying.

So, I was all excited because I was able to access the internet through my phone and write a blog entry on the way home from Santa Barbara. Blogging while speeding down the 101, wooo! (not driving, was passenger) BUT..I couldn't actually POST the entry. So here I am at home now, trying to recreate it. Alas, the magic is gone. Or the whiskey I was nipping at on the way home (again, not driving) has kicked in.

OH...I found a bar in Santa Barbara called Whiskey Richard's. Ponder that a moment or two. I know! Hahahahahaha! Awesome.

Little things like that make me think the world might still be okay.

I did absolutely nothing artistic today, for the first time in weeks. It was sort of nice. And to have the luxury of saying that, despite how hard we're struggling to survive right now, makes me think my life might, for once, be going in the right direction. (I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else. Whiskey, sorry.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

living in a vacuum

Don't you hate hate HATE when all the snappy retorts you COULD have made in a given situation only occur to you later on? Take today for example. I was wheeling my vacuum cleaner all through Sears, trying to find the place to take it for repair. La la la, here I am, rolling through the clothing department, and then housewares, just me and my vacuum. Doesn't everyone bring their vacuum cleaner to the store? Of course they do. When I finally got to the appliances department, the smarmy sales guy squinted at me, cocked his head and said "Let me guess.....you're looking for the vacuum cleaner department?". And I said "Nope, my vacuum cleaner just really wanted to go shopping today."

Dammit!!!! There were so many better replies! How bout "Nope, I'm just a neat freak." or "No. Why?" or...I don't know, I forgot now. All kinds of good material bubbled up in my brain while I was driving home and I wanted a do-over. Oh well.
I should be writing something about art, since this is my art blog. I didn't create anything new today, though. I filled some orders, and have more to fill, and I should be working but it's getting dark.

I do most of my stamp carving in the daytime, when there's a nice pool of sunlight on the bedroom floor. Artificial light is so hard to carve by. I finally broke down and bought a full-spectrum magnifying lamp, and that's WAY better than just regular lightbulb light, but there are still issues. You just get weird shadows and stuff, and when you're trying to do detailed work, you need to see everything really well. Otherwise oops, there goes THAT little line. Which happened to be the nose of the girl I'm carving. Which means the whole stamp is kaput and several hours of work have just slithered down the drain. Which means swearing bad swears and throwing little tantrums. It's not pretty.
Hey, I talked about art just then! Mission accomplished.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

even keel


Awrighty, well...I got my meds refilled and am back on track. For now. Til the next time I get lazy and let them run out and let myself get all sad and lethargic and stuff. Being mental is fun!

M'kay. Lucy got spayed on Tuesday and is recovering nicely. I'm hoping that while they were in there they removed her aggression gland along with her uterus. There haven't been any fights yet, although she started to attack Molly (our big lab) the other night because I reached to pet her. A lot of the fights she starts seem to be over attention. (Why don't men fight over me this way??) I stopped her before she made contact, though, and she actually controlled herself. SO....maybe she's just still weak from the surgery, but I like to think we're making progress.

I'm sure everyone reading this is hoping the same thing so that no one is ever subjected to a picture of my pasty white thigh again.
Above is a picture of Lucy displaying her freshly shorn belly one day post surgery. Let's have a collective "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!".
Thank you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

up and down


I try to steer this blog away from my personal life for the most part, but sometimes (okay, often) art is intertwined with personal. I have bipolar disorder - I was diagnosed when I was 16 years old. I won't go into detail, but at the time, the symptoms made themselves known in a big,unmistakable way. Since then, I've always struggled with medication issues : finding ones that work, finding ones whose side effects were bearable, and accepting the fact that yes, I really need to ALWAYS be on it. Every so often I go off of it for various reasons. Sometimes I talk myself into thinking I don't really have something wrong, therefore do not need medication. Sometimes I just let the prescription run out and don't refill it in time, which is where I am right now.

It's always very clear to me, once I'm off of it for a while, that there is indeed something wrong and I DO need medication. I ran out sometime last week and have managed to spiral into a pretty deep depression. It's almost funny..the depression gives me this combination of apathy and social anxiety that makes me not want to go out to pick up the medication that will STOP the apathy and anxiety.
I'm sitting here right now finding the idea of going out today totally daunting. I need to get dog food and take one of the dogs to the vet. I also need to go to the gym. But I can't seem to leave the house. I HAVE to, and I will, but it's like this BIG THING right now. Leave the house??? Nooooo!!!!! And this is only the begining. A few more days off my meds and I'll go in opposite direction - too much energy, no need (or ability) to sleep, bad decisions..wheeeeee!!!! So, yeah. Must pick up meds today.
So what did any of this have to do with artwork? I guess because I notice that my art starts to change as my mood plummets. Hence today's stamp - an anatomical heart. Not the prettified, idealized flaming/winged/sacred heart I'd draw in happier times. Just a heart, plain, raw and ugly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

post turkey haze



I've been productive today. Finished up a drawing for a friend, and the drawing generated a new stamp! A friend of mine needed a drawing for the cover of a guided meditation cd she's producing. The subject is releasing anger, so she wanted an angry girl. I did the drawing, then decided it might make a cool carving. I'm in a cranky mood today so it was the perfect project! I also created an ACEO from it, I kind of like the blurred look of it. I layered the image - first an imprint in brown distressing ink, then an imprint in blue pigment ink and this is what I got.

In other news, no dog bites this week! The fights are dwindling down, we're sure getting a lesson on reading canine body language. It's something I've been aware of all along as a trainer - but living with dog aggression 24/7 has given me a whole new perspective. We've gotten much better at reading their cues and stopping a fight before they have a chance to fully engage in it. As a result, Lucy (the perpetuator of most of the fights) seems a lot happier and more relaxed. Hopefully things will continue in this direction - preferably with no more broken skin for me!

We have also managed to convince our next-door neighbors to at least allow their dog in the garage at night. These people....I can NEVER understand why people have a dog if they don't want the dog in their house! This dog lives exclusively in the back yard. He does have a dog house and a covered patio, but dogs are pack animals and they really aren't happy being separated from the rest of the family. It's not like they go out there and spend time with him - they claim to love him, but I fail to see how ignoring him shows love. Anyway...the result is a dog who barks nonstop, day and night. Adding to the fun is that he likes to bark right outside their bedroom window..which is a few feet away from OUR bedroom window. He startles us awake (this dog has a HORRIBLE baying howl for a bark, it could wake the dead) all night long and it's been driving us insane.

We talked to them about it a few months ago to no avail. This time, we went over there and said we can't deal with the all-night barking and asked if they'd at least try letting him in the garage at night. I guess they did it, because the past two nights have been silent. I feel really bad for the dog, though. He'd be better off with a family who actually wants him around and lets him in the house. Dogs are part of the family, not yard decorations!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bliss!

I was featured in BlissCandles' blog today, hurray!! Click here to have a look.

Check out her shop as well - I swear, I can smell the candles just through browsing, mmmmmmm! go visit!!!

On the other-job-front I had a four-dog training session today! Business is picking up a bit this month, that's a good thing. I wish my Etsy business would pick up as well, but it's good that the work is coming in from somewhere, at least. :)
Okay, very tired...goodnight!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

once bitten


Feeling a little defeated today. For some reason sales have ground to a halt in the shop again. I expected things to start ramping up as the holidays began to draw near, I'm not sure what's going on.
We're having a LOT of trouble with our newest dog again. Things had improved greatly and it had been a couple weeks since any fights had broken out. Then suddenly in the past three days, things have gone downhill. She and our male corgi, Dewey, keep getting into fights. One of the worst ones (which I had to break up, as always..they won't stop on their own) ended up with me getting a sizeable bite on my right thigh. Niiiiiice. It happened as I grabbed Lucy and picked her up, out of the fight. Dewey made one last lunge at her and got me instead. *sigh*
Then we've got some family drama that just doesn't seem to want to go away. All of this makes it hard for me to focus my energy on my work - at a time when I really need to be creating and promoting. Alrighty - time to get out of this funk. Going to take my daughter out to get a case for her phone, then hit Joanne (the store, not some unsuspecting woman) for some art supplies. Then it's back home to get some serious work done!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm an item!

One of my stamps was featured on EtsyDarkTeam's myspace today!

Here is the link, come see!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to wake up. It's EARLY!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

cramped!


Today I finally carved the last stamp of a 14-stamp order. Whew! I don't know if I'll ever be able to straighten my fingers all the way out again. I'm really grateful for the large order, but I was NOT expecting anyone to order that many at once! I never stopped to think about how long it'd take to get something like that finished. Normally, people order a stamp or two, and I'm able to carve them the same day, or within a day or two of the order. If there are a few orders ahead of them, it might take a couple more days, nothing major. But 14 stamps?? Still, I'm not complaining, bring it on!

Tomorrow I've got to go out and do some marketing for my dog training business, I've been putting it off too long. Marketing for a dog training business consists mainly of establishing relationships with the veterinarians in your territory. The better they like you, the more likely they are to refer to you. I used to be more diligent, stopping in to all my vets once a month, bringing them snacks, making sure my brochure stands were full. The past few months, business has been bad and I've been discouraged. That made me drag my feet about getting out and doing vet visits (which I realize is counterintuitive). The Etsy shop was keeping me fairly busy, so I kept making excuses to not get out and do my visits. It's time, though. Hilariously, business is much better this month. Hopefully getting myself out there will make it even better.
Alrighty, time to make dinner. If I can get my hands to work. Ouch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

off to work I go


The dog training business is picking up a bit this month, which is good - but it's cutting into my Etsy time! I've got some orders to catch up on still, and wish I could just stay home and carve all day. I'll be back this afternoon, though, and will have to work through the rest of the day on stamps once I get here.
Not much more to add today, just want to be sure the blog doesn't just just sit here feeling ignored.
I got new packaging for my stamps - I want them to arrive looking a little more like a gift instead of just a stamp in a plastic bag. Let me know what you think!

Friday, November 14, 2008

disturbed

I really really really hate commercials that show close-ups of people swishing mouthwash. And there are several commericals like that. WHO WANTS TO SEE THAT??? Here, for your viewing enjoyment, a person with their cheeks puffed out, lips pooched, eyeballs bulging...rinsing the crud from their teeth!!!

And...that's all I have to contribute to the world of blogging today. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the sweet smell of school supplies


It's amazing how just organizing your workspace can make you more productive. Today I went to Staples and bought the following items: a full-spectrum magnifying lamp (I have this problem with not being able to carve at night because regular lights cast shadows on the carving, I usually carve in sunlight on my floor), a childish-looking (cause it's for children, but suited my needs) easel desk, a self-healing cutting mat, a small paper cutter (ha - that sounds like a weapon that gives you paper cuts!), a file folder (to hold artwork) and a clear plastic storage container. I came home, got all set up, and carved all day!

Okay, not ALL day, because a friend (more like a SAINT) stopped by and took me out for sushi! I was all productive and proud of myself. Alas - the last hour and a half of work was a waste. I carved a name stamp for someone, and it came out SO cool....and then I noticed I'd misspelled the name!!!!!!!! *slapping forehead very very hard* It's not like you can erase that and re-carve it. Ugh. It was bound to happen one of these days, right?

Meanwhile, two of the corgis managed to chase a rat and "corner" it on top of a chair out in the back yard. The poor thing was balancing along the top rail of the chair with nowhere to go, two dogs hoping fervently to eat it. Luckily, it got away. They did manage to bump it with their noses as it leapt into the air, causing to fly several feet into the nearby bushes. That was kind of funny.
Alrighty...well, here's a Christmas-ey stamp I recently posted in the shop.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

change


My daughter's mad at me because I didn't let her waste a bunch of quarters on crap in a bubblegum machine today. Man, I used to hate it when my mom wouldn't give me change for the bubblegum machine!! Since when did I become so frugal, anyway? Speaking of change, I'm quite happy with the election results. :)
I carved another one of a kind stamp today. The three I've carved so far are still sitting in my shop, so I guess their one-of-a-kind-ness in no way trumps their apparent lack of appeal. Heheheh. I think they're cute, dammit! And how often can you get original, one of a kind pieces of art for such a low price? Hmmph.
Alrighty, I'm tired. By the way, the body part sporting the tattoo in yesterday's post is my right forearm, in case you were wondering. I realized when I looked at it today (the picture, not my actual forearm) that it's a little ambiguous and thought I should clarify. In case you thought I had really puny calves. Or a trunk.
Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

scraps


Today I carved a couple of tiny stamps from leftover carving material. I always wind up with scraps that are too small to use for most of the stamps in my shop. Thus, I'm doing a serious of "scramps" - one of a kind, tiny stamps of various subject matter. Each one will be original and won't be carved again. It's kind of fun.

Over the weekend we attended the Day of the Dead celebration in Hollywood, and I met one of my favorite Etsy artists; Lisa of Terramaya. The celebration itself was horrifically crowded and it was hard for us to really enjoy. There were so many wonderful artists, and beautiful altar displays, but to attempt to see anything was an exercise in futility. SO MANY PEOPLE! Each time we stopped to look into a booth or at an altar, we were engulfed in the crowd. Neither of us really cares much for being surrounded and semi-trampled by strangers, so we didn't stay long. I HIGHLY recommend checking out Lisa's shop, though. She's a lovely person and does beautiful work!!

We also got see two more of our favorite artists, Natasha and Kelly of Skellramics. Natasha tattooed my arm last December, and it was fun to be able to show her how it looks now.
And....I better get back to carving. Oh, I voted this morning, hope everyone else did too!! :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

the scream


I live next door to the world's most obnoxious children. And I say this as the parent of a formerly obnoxious (but not nearly as much as these) child, so I know what I'm talking about! If they only did this one time, I wouldn't be complaining, but it's a near-daily event. They climb up on top of the little playhouse thing in their yard and they scream. I don't mean they yell things, loudly, or scream joyful laughter. I mean that they emit bloody-murder-someone's-being-slaughtered screams at regular intervals. Like..two second intervals. As in "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!". And they do it for a LONG time. Now, tell me, HOW IS THAT FUN??????? It's got to hurt. I sit there wishing they'll blow a vocal chord, but they apparently have chords of steel. They also seem to sense when I'm trying to take a nap, and they scream then, too.
Please make them stop.
Here's one of the stamps I carved today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

do NOT disturb!


Know what I really hate? Lotion Lungers!!! Those demented people who work at mall kiosks and try to put lotion on you as you walk by. Okay, they don't actually run out and glob it on you, but they step into your personal space, bottle in hand, trying to entice you into trying it. And if you ignore them (which I do) they give you a look like you've just done something really rude. YOU'RE the rude one, lotion peddler!! Leave me alone!!
This day won't end. I finally got myself back to the gym today, to my cycling class. The bronchitis throughout August, and then getting sick again just a few weeks after that cleared up, kept me from the gym. Then my mom came, we had all the dogs here, I had a bunch of orders to fill...yeah. So a couple months later, I'm finally back at it. So yeah..gym this morning, which exhausted me because it's been so long since I went. Then carving, carving all afternoon. Then picking up my daughter and taking her to the mall (hence the rant about the lotion people) to find an outfit to wear to her friend's Bat Mitzvah. After wandering around the mall for way too long....she decided she'd just rather not go to it at all. SO WE WENT TO THE MALL FOR NOTHING!!! And I have a revisit with one of my dog training clients tonight at seven, so I have to go back out again. I'm soooooooooooooooooooooo tired.
Here's a little custom sugar skull I sold today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

it's my party and I'll barf if I want to


Okay, I didn't barf, Jim did. I must be getting old because the whole party thing just annoys me lately. I spent two days cleaning the house, Jim spent two days Halloween-ing it out (which is the only reason he likes having Halloween parties anyway - he loves the creepy decorating part of it)........just to spend a few hours drinking with friends and messing the house back up again. Before we went to bed, I could tell Jim was going to get sick. He doesn't do it often at all, but I can tell when he's reached the point of no return. He gets kind of stagger-ey...just seems drunk. We're generally pretty moderate in our drinking these days - we're wine drinkers, so we usually have a glass in the evenings, and we like a cocktail here and there on the weekends, but we don't tend to really get drunk. I was mad. I have a totally irrational vomit phobia (I'm famous for this amongst those who know me well) so there was NO WAY I was going to sleep in the same room as him. I went to sleep in my daughter's room (she was at her dad's house..yes, I'm on my second marriage) with earplugs in. Good thing, because as predicted, he barfed. Dumbass.
Anyway, the party was a good one but I'm tired of parties. I love having a few friends over, maybe making dinner or having some wine and hanging out, but I think the big party era is drawing to a close. *sigh* I'm officially old.
But here's a picture of my costume!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

clean machine, part 2


*yawn* *streeettttch* Alrighty, time to clean. Some more. Oh goody.
One of our corgis, Lucy (the new one that had the aggression issues) keeps running into the back yard to bark at....THE SAME EXACT HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS SHE BARKED AT 30 SECONDS BEFORE!! We've got a whole graveyard set up back there, complete with broken-down-looking faux wrought iron fence, tombstones, and a couple of zombies attempting resurrection. Lucy keeps running out there, barking furiously, then running back inside, as though to let us know she's got it under control. She has done this approximately two million times since last night, and she can not BELIEVE she hasn't succeeded in scaring them away yet!!!! We're hoping she loses her voice by the time the party starts. (And yes, I'm aware that I'm a dog trainer and should be able to stop her, but I don't have time today!!!!)
Got to get to work now. Here's a naked picture of me. Or AM I dressed? Hard to say...

Friday, October 24, 2008

clean machine


Ugh, I've been cleaning the house all day long! The big Halloween bash is tomorrow night. The house needed a good cleaning anyway - it hasn't been cleaned since before the 7-dogs-and-my-mom days. It's taken me all day just to do the bathrooms and our bedroom. The vacuum cleaner crapped out, naturally. The belt broke and I was forced to vacuum the entire bedroom carpet with the little sofa attachment. Now I'm waiting for the carpet cleaner foam stuff to dry, and I get to vacuum it all over again! Woooo!!! I still have to clean the livingroom and kitchen tomorrow morning.

I'm excited about my costume, I'm going to be a zombie pin-up girl! Heheheh. I'll post pictures. Meanwhile, I'm posting a picture of a custom stamp I carved of a sugar skull.
I'll be back to posting regularly once we get through this weekend of insanity!

Monday, October 20, 2008

awwww, freak out!


Okay, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm freaking out because I got a bunch of sales!!!! Someone ordered 14 of my stamps all at once!!! And that's on top of other orders, including a few custom orders, that I need to catch up on!!! I've been so busy here with the dogs, my mom visiting, my daughter's birthday...auuuuggghhhh!! And yes, I'm aware that I've used far too many exclamation points in this entry, even for me.
And I'm NOT complaining, don't get me wrong. My dog training business is in BAD shape in this economy, and making any money at ALL on my artwork is something I've dreamed of all my life. I just want to be sure I can meet all of my obligations in a timely manner. Without imploding.
We saw the play Wicked for my daughter's birthday. I've never seen a "real" play/musical/show type thing before, this was my first. It was amazing!!!! (sorry, more exclamation points..there may be a shortage someplace caused by this entry)
I loved my daughter's birthday this year. Not because of Wicked, although that was wonderful, but because of how gracious and selfless she was this time. Long story. I'm very proud of her. And I can't believe my daughter is 14!!
And...today I tattooed my mom. Twice. First a tattoo on her ankle. Later, her eyeliner. Here's a picture of the ankle, in the interest of respecting her privacy (and the fact that I forgot to take a picture of her eyeliner).
Oh...and we're back down to 4 dogs!!!! YAAAAAAYYYY!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today's Feature


I was featured today in Owlbot's blog!! Here is the link
I think she did a great job with the questions and pictures she chose, and I'm so happy she featured me. :)
On the home front, the dogs are driving me insane. I will never again have this many dogs in my house at once. UGH. My mom's in town and I feel bad that she has to deal with the chaos. We're going to the mall for some retail therapy in a little while!
The stamp pictured here today was a custom request, a pet portrait. I love doing dog portraits, because I love my dogs so much and I know how much the stamp means to the person who ordered it. It makes me happy.
Alrighty, time to get out of this dog-infested dwelling for a while.

Monday, October 13, 2008

holy smoke!


Ugh, fires abound in SoCal today. It's very windy and that means brushfires, it's a bad day. We live somewhat close to the fires - not dangerously so, but close enough to be smelling and seeing smoke everywhere.
I've been trying to get caught up on orders today - I've been carving all day long. I've had to stop every 5 minutes or so to remove various items from various dogs' mouths. Seven dogs, all doing nothing but looking for things to get into or drag through the doggy door. My two female corgis (one is the new dog-aggressive one) got into it this morning over a shirt on the bathroom floor. Ellie, my original female corgi, loves to sleep on whatever clothing has been left on the bathroom floor. She gets REALLY possesive over whatever's there. So of course she had to start snarling and snapping when Lucy (the new, aggressive one) came over to see what she had. Lucy is doing WAY better, but still won't back down when challenged, so a full blown fight broke out. I got in the middle, of course, and got bitten pretty badly on my knee. This time it was a real bite, ripped pants, blood. Niiiiiice. It wasn't intended for ME, I just got in between two snapping mouths. It sucked.
So...fires, mischievious dogs, dog fights and stamp carving.
A long day, for sure. Here's a custom stamp I carved this morning (well, by "here" I mean up there..where the image is posted).
That's all for now..

Friday, October 10, 2008

back on track..for now..



Whoops, been a while since I've had a chance to post! I don't want to get into bad habits and stop posting. We've had some family drama going on around here, though, that's made it nearly impossible to get anything but the essentials (and sometimes not even those) done. AND of course there's the new dog - who's doing great, by the way. But of course, just as we've gotten to the point where she can be trusted, muzzle-less, around our other dogs, we've taken on boarders! I'm boarding two schnauzers (again) for some clients, and then tomorrow we get our friends' beagle for the next week or so. That makes SEVEN dogs here starting tomorrow. So Lucy, the new one, has to go back to being muzzled until we're absolutely sure she's not going to attack any of the newcomers. We've been giving her muzzle breaks throughout the day, letting the schnauzers hang out in their big crate (which they're very content in, so it's not a problem) for a while so she can be freeeee! Ugh...lots of stress, though.
And my mom will be here next Wednesday! I haven't told her about the extra dogs, not even OUR new one, so she's thinking there will be three, like last year. Hehehehe. I'm not going to tell her. *snicker*
I carved a new stamp today, and posted a necklace I made using polymer clay and a hand-carved stamp, so here they are for your viewing pleasure. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What the heck is wrong with me?

Lately I'm constantly fatigued. I get out of bed and I'm already tired again. I always feel like I could just drop off to sleep. I hate this!!

Today I had a revisit with a client whose dog attacks people when they enter the gate in her back yard. She boards horses for people, so the boarders need to be able to come in to be with their horses. She attacked and bit one of the regular boarders recently, so we had her come over to work with us. The session went really well, we were able to have the boarder come in the gate with no incident, walk down to the stable and go back out the gate, over and over. It went really well, which is a relief. I'm too tired today for stressful training sessions!!

The new dog has been a major challenge for us. She's attacked our dogs dozens of times. The attacks are diminishing in number every day, and so far there haven't been injuries because we're there to break it up. Still, it's stressful and irritating and is throwing our whole pack off balance. We're working hard with her, and I hope we can train her out of this. *sigh* It's hard.

I'm supposed to be heading out to the grocery store right now, but I don't want to!!! I hate grocery shopping. Hate it!! And I'm so tired I just really really really don't want to do anything. I just got done carving a stamp to fill an order, and that's about all I can manage to do.

Alrighty, not much else to say today. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

...and how was YOUR day?

I'll bet that the following sentence will NOT describe anyone else's day today; I spent the entire afternoon tattooing my sister-in-law's nipples. Am I right? Did I have a completely unique day? Maybe not, there are a lot of people in the world, but just maybe!

She and I are going to open a permanent cosmetics business together, and right now we're both learning. One procedure that's often done is areola reconstruction - women who have had a mastectomy and reconstruction need the color added to their areola for a more natural look. So I practice on my sis-in-law today because hers are really pale and she's always hated that. It was an experience, let me tell ya. Harder than I thought it would be, but a very good learning opportunity.

That's the only creative thing I did today, so I'm sure you understand why there's no picture accompanying this post!

Friday, September 26, 2008

All you zombies


About to leave for a revisit with one of my dog training clients. On the way home I will be picking up a corgi puppy that another of my clients can't keep. The dog keeps attacking her chihuahuas, so she needs a new home. So what does the idiotic dog trainer with three dogs she already can't afford (that's me by the way) do? Decides to take the dog!! I couldn't help it, she's SO cute!!!! I already have two corgis, they are my absolute favorite dog breed...so here we are. I actually have a couple friends who might want to take her, but otherwise we'll be keeping her. I'm insane. The best part is that when my mom visits from Florida in a couple weeks, we'll have our (possibly) four dogs, plus two clients' dogs that I'll be boarding, and possibly one other friend's dog I agreed to watch while they went on vacation. Ahahahahahahah!!!! Definitely insane.

Carved a new stamp yesterday. It cannot be stored near brains.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

customs


I'm sick again. This is just baffling! I just got over bronchitis, what? A month ago, tops? Now I've got a throat infection!!! I'm back on antibiotics again and I feel awful!! This is so not like me, I just don't usually get sick. To have it happen again this soon, and bad enough to need antibiotics is really weird. And annoying.

Sick or not, I had to work today and the job was in Ojai. That's close to an hour away from here, so I wasn't thrilled. Luckily it was an easy training session - small dogs, very nice owner. Now I'm home filling some Etsy orders. Sales have picked up a bit over the past few days - most of them have been custom requests, which is really fun! The picture I posted today is a custom request for a Frida Kahlo sugar skull and a sacred heart. The sacred heart is actually my "sacred eyeball" stamp, minus the eyeball.

Eh, I can't come up with anything interesting to say. I'm sweaty and feverish, and need to continue carving. I was just taking a little break here. Back to the carving board...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

not so swell


Well, I'm happy to report that I'm not nearly as grotesque today as I expected to be. Yay!! Not much swelling at all, just the impression that I'm VERY heavy-handed in my lipstick application. That's the thing about getting your lips tattooed - the color always looks REALLY dark at first, but more than half of it disappears when they heal. So you go around looking like a freakish tart for a few days, only to wind up with relatively lightly stained lips to show for it. *sigh*

I carved a new stamp yesterday (pictured here). It's actually part of a drawing I did for a return address stamp. I liked the swallow so much that I carved it by itself. I'll probably still do the return address stamp - the same swallow carrying a scrolled banner with the address on it.

We have FIVE dogs in the house right now. Three are ours, two belong to dog training clients, we're boarding them for a few days. Five dogs. I'm tired. Sadly, the dogs belonging to my clients are far better behaved than OUR dogs. At least I know my training skills work when it matters - when people are paying for it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

that's just swell


Today is fixin' to be a comedy of bad timing. And yes, I said fixin'. Which means some small part of me is an eighty year old woman who lives deep in the Appalachians.
My sis-in-law and I are starting a permanent cosmetics business - and she's in training right now. Today I get to be her "model" for permanent lip color. Which means I'm letting someone with zero experience tattoo my lips. (Don't worry, I'm doing hers next!) I've had it done before, years ago, and it was a fiasco. That was mostly my fault, though. I was told by the woman who was going to do it that if I've ever had chicken pox, I carry the herpes virus. What that means is that even if I don't get cold sores (which I never had before), the procedure could bring them on. She told me to take a supplement called L-lysene for two weeks before the appointment. I ignored this, believing that because I've never had a cold sore, this would not be a problem. I. Was. Wrong. All the cold sores I've never had in my life arrived, all at once, on my lips the day after the appointment. It was absolutely hideous. I missed three days of work. The color didn't even stay because of the trauma. I wasted a ton of money.

So...yeah, I'll be letting my sis-in-law have at me today. BUT, this time I had my doctor give me a prescription for Zovirax, which I've been taking for the past few days and will continue to take for a few days afterward. The cold sores will not be an issue this time. I will, however, still have really swollen lips for a day or two. And as soon as she's finished with me today, I have to go to a client's house and pick up her dogs - I'm boarding them over the weekend. THIS should be fun. I did warn her, so at least she won't be completely surprised when I show up looking like an overly made-up duck. *sigh*

Etsy's still slow, but I've had a few sales. I posted a new stamp today - but I'm guessing it won't do all that well. It's not really mainstream...but we'll see. Can't hurt to put it out there. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

arrrrrrrrrgh!


Going to the Pirate Festival in Ojai this weekend! I might even dress up, if I can find something pirate-ey in my closet (you'd be surprised at what's in there!). Etsy sales are still somewhat slow, although I did have a couple last night. I'm getting a bit busier with custom orders, though. Wait..those count as sales! Guess I'm not doing TOO badly. I just get bummed when days go by and nothing in my actual shop sells. I love doing custom stamps, though.

WOW...fascinating blog entry today, eh? I just got back from the gym and narrowly missed getting in a wreck on the way home. Some idiot decided to make a left turn from the NON left turn lane, cutting me (sitting in the actual left turn lane) off. Why? Why, stupid person, why? I HATE when people do things like that. And this was one of those intersections where the left turn lane is clearly indicated, there's a left turn arrow, and it's obvious that there's only one lane. To top it off, they didn't even give the little "Oops, sorry, I blew it" wave. So of course I did the "WTF are you DOING??" shrug/hand gesture, to no avail. I had to just stop short and hope the person behind me didn't hit me. *sigh* I truly truly TRULY hate inconsiderate drivers. Grrrrrrr. And I couldn't flip them off because my car is decalled with my dog training business and name (it's a franchise, so my car has to be all decked out), so I have to be careful about how I behave on the road.
Okay...time to get in the shower.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

is this thing on?


Sometimes I wonder if I'm just blogging into thin air. I've kept a more personal blog on a different site for many years now, and have regular readers. That site allows me to check my stats and see how many people read. I haven't figured out how to install some sort of stat counter on this blog, so I have no idea if anyone's out there. If you are, feel free to say hello! :)

I carved a new stamp yesterday - trying to gear up for Autumn and Halloween. I plan to make a few more Halloween stamps within the next couple days. I've been busy with dog training lately, but my Etsy sales have dropped dramatically. It's weird, even the views have dropped. There never seems to be any rhyme or reason to it. Maybe it will all make sense when I've been there a bit longer. I did make one sale today, but the buyer didn't pay.

Alrighty, time to go get some lunch.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

better days



Oops, see what happens? I start feeling better and stop paying attention to my blog! Actually, my dog training business has picked up quite a bit the past couples weeks, so I've been busy with that. I'm ALL for being busy, keep it coming!! I have managed to carve a couple new stamps, though, as you can see. My Etsy sales have dropped over the past few days. It's weird, last week and the week before, things were starting to roll, with a sale or two almost every day. Now it's come to grinding halt. I haven't changed anything, so I have no idea what the deal is. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to sales there. I hope they pick up again. One thing I need to do is start making some Halloween stuff, I'm sure people are looking for that right about now.
And right now I should be cleaning the house. My book club/reading group...whatever it's called, is meeting here tonight and the place is a mess!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

love is stronger than death..


New carving! This was custom request to be used on wedding invitations, what a cool idea. Oh, I was featured on another Etsy artist's blog today: click here to see, which made my day. :)
Hmm..rather short blog entry, I know, but today's a lazy day and that's all I've got!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

if it wasn't attached


Ugh. My head. Three weeks of bronchitis left me ill-prepared for alcohol consumption. The Toad show was AWESOME! I think. I wish I could remember more of it. I know I manned (womaned?) the merch booth most of the night. It was like old times! My daughter got her shirt signed by all the band members - two of whom she's known for a while now. She and I got to watch a bit of the show from the stage, off to the side, which was really nice. Not a bad deal for her first real concert! I just wish I didn't have a hangover today. *sigh* I love Toad.
I carved a new stamp yesterday - see?
And..yeah, that's about my aching brain can conjure up for today.
Over and out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

today's feature

I was featured in another Etsy artist's blog!! How cool, that's a first for me. Here's the link: click here
And in other news, I just woke up and I'm SO tired! But it's Friday, we'll be seeing Toad tonight, and all is right with the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

maybe, just maybe


I think I juuuuuust might be getting better! I'm definitely not as fatigued today. Not coughing nearly as much. Hmmm..yep, I think it's finally happening! Just in time, because this upcoming weekend is going to be action-packed. Friday night we're going to the Toad the Wet Sprocket (my absolute favorite band - and friends of ours, long story...) show. I'm bringing my daughter, it'll be her first real concert. She's a long time Toad fan, and has seen Glen Phillips perform several times, but hasn't seen Toad live yet. She's in for a treat. Then Saturday night is a wine and cheese get-together at a friend's house. Last but not least, we have a barbecue to go to on Sunday. So yeah, I'm getting better just in time. Hopefully the weekend won't send me into a relapse!

I had four sales in my Etsy shop today, yay! After posting the umbrella stamp in my blog yesterday, I carved the goldfish pictured today. I think it's my new favorite carving. I really like it for some reason. :) Anyway, the umbrella and the fish sold, as well as a mailbox stamp and another Dewey the Corgi stamp. He's popular! He's actually a real dog, one of our three dogs, and the stamp really doesn't do him justice. It does look like him, but it's hard to convey that much cuteness in a stamp. Hehehe.

Okay, I've orders to fill, back to work!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

save it for a rainy day


Still hanging out, waiting for the bronchitis to depart. Any day now, please. Meanwhile, carved a new stamp today. This was a fun one - I posted a thread on Etsy asking stampers what kinds of stamps they'd like to see, things they can't find, stuff like that. I got lots of suggestions, which is inspiring. I started with one that sounded fun - an umbrella. So, there ya have it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the best medicine



In an effort to distract myself from this apparently incurable scourge (yep, still sick), I spent the day carving. The "sacred eyeball" stamp is just a design I doodle sometimes. The logo stamp was a custom request from an Etsy member. I'm kind of pleased with how it/they came out. I notice that when I'm working on a carving, I temporarily forget that I'm sick. Not a bad deal.

On the dog training front, I had a weird revisit yesterday. It's funny, all day I was hoping the client would cancel because I was feeling so bad. There was NO WAY I was going to cancel on her because I'd had to last week thanks to this same stupid bronchitis. So I dragged myself out of the house and made my way over there. When she opened the door, the look on her face was priceless. It went from confusion, to realization, to utter horror in the space of about 15 seconds. Then she clapped her hand over her eyes and said "Oh. My. GOD. I'm SO sorry! I totally forgot you were coming, I am SO sick!!!". I just started laughing. There was nothing else I could do. My head was too stuffed up and throbby to elicit any other emotion, and I told her it was no problem, I totally understood. Cause I do!!!

She was actually leaving just then to go to the doctor, she seems to have the same thing I do. I wound up staying and working with her dogs, she trusted me to lock up the house when I was finished. It turned out to be a good thing I went because two things happened; 1.) her dogs walked perfectly for me, making me sure they're capable of being trained and are just pulling one over on her and 2.) one of her neighbors actually called me because she saw my car there (it's all decked out with my company logo) and wanted to meet me. I went to her house and have probably landed another boot camp gig, so it was good that I got out of the house.

Okay, time to go out and ship off some orders!!

About Me

Hippieville, CA, United States
This is the story of life after losing the "real" job and the house, trying to find the middle ground between making a living and actually living.