I disappeared! *poof!*

Posted in business-a-go-go, Fun Stuff, Main at 12:40 pm by carrie

Well, I haven’t posted in quite some time… what have I been doing, you ask? (or maybe not) Working on the website, that’s what! yay!

So, it’s a good start! Not completely done or ready for the world to click thru (we can’t even accept credit cards yet, eek!) but it’s starting to come together!

My original plan looked nothing like the above example… it has changed so many times! We are working with Zen Cart and I am learning what it can and cannot do. It makes listing pretty easy, I can add products instantly but the default design is covered in orange… finding and destroying all orange items has been quite the challenge. We will be victorious in this battle over burnt orange navigation bars.

Another reason for lack of motivation in blog world… it has been SO hot.

Went over to weather.com… this is what it spit out… see all the 100’s? The LOW on Wednesday was 90 degrees! I love California but I’m so much happier when it’s cold. I would rather bundle up any day. Whine, whine whine. I know I know. I want to move to the beach. I’m assuming if I say that often enough, it will happen. Beach beach beach. Lots of repetition today… that’s from the lack of movement.

Cindy is coming up today to make bath salts. We’re adding a citrus blend for the summer. Not sure yet but I’m sure I can create something out of my 250-something scent oils. When I start a collection of something, watch out. I want them all. I used to make scratch and sniff books for school projects. It’s one thing to have art you can look at, another to make them smell good… I like to make my audience use as many senses as possible! I’ve been known to serve cake and hand out pretty bags of candy during my art presentations, too. What teacher wouldn’t think of give me an “A” as he/she eats a delicious artsy tie-in cake while watching food being animated? Is that cheating? Someday, I’ll post “The Dirty Dozen”. My stop-motion donut western with delicious actors and actresses. Don’t make that face ;)

Joe made me a fabulous CD he titled “Paris After Dark”. My favorite song is “Boum!” by Charles Trenet, 1938. Joe even made a lovely collaged cover for the CD. As seen below :) We need to encourage Joe to start his own blog. Are you reading this Joe?? :)

Also pictured is the cover of “Sing Girl Sing… Make Boys Dance”. I LOVE a good mix CD!!! Especially when it is made with love :)

Back to work! Let’s see if mr. air conditioner can get under 79 degrees!


clustering ideas

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main at 1:33 am by carrie

So… it’s been a while but the other night, while watching yet another episode of 24, I did my not-so-famous clustering idea drawing thing that I do.

I pull out a stack of magazines and flip pages. I then quickly draw an element from a page that I like. A pattern on a pillow, a framed picture, some flowers… I find tons of inspiration that way! Some people like to clip pictures and collage them into books or large pieces of paper to form one large montage… for some reason, this method has worked the best for me. It’s like putting on special, magical glasses and seeing these images for a second or third time in a different way. I think the accidents are the best… sometimes I grab the wrong color or put an element next to another I normally wouldn’t have… ask any artist, the happy accidents usually become the masterpiece :)

This is part of a painting, a lampshade and some embroidery on a messenger bag. It’s not quite what I was shooting for, but I love the colors together. The little birds make me happy (although in reality that cage is too small) :) I think I’ll take the Eiffel and birdcage elements and use that in a final painting (someday).

This was a picture of an ornate doorway. I elaborated on the ornamental top and then threw some flowers into the middle for fun. This could be a great framework for some other art.
This was actually a painting with a prussian blue frame, the canvas art in the middle, and the odd red panels on the side looked like little velvet curtains or stage curtains to me. I was immediately inspired to create little curtains around our TV in the livingroom. We got a lovely new TV but it’s too big for the cabinet we have. It had doors that closed but had to remove them to fit this monster. If I used some nice upholstery fabric with damask or the like, I could swag it over the top and down the sides like an old movie theatre! I could use a curtain rod and little drawstrings to close the curtains when it’s not showtime. But that is project #2,304 for another day :)
More blue and red together… I actually have a very similar vase up at the shop… it currently has seashore colored flowers in it… I’m thinking red and blue together for the next big window display? It’s not a common color-combo for decorating but oh how I love it so :)

I think this was a pillow with little chi-chi balls on the outside? Can’t remember. But, I liked the colors together and I think I may do this in a tile/chintz pattern. Little pink roses, lavender and pink and blue flowers. Could be cute.

This was just a texture study with wallpaper patterns, floor patterns, a plate and an interesting wood wall. The far right one was actually a plain wood wall grey-washed but somehow, I made it all brown. It looked really neat in the picture.

So, there you have it… one thursday evening and some mini-inspiration :) If I log it all, I may actually refer back to it ;) Consider yourself logged you little rascals! (where is this coming from tonight??)

I can’t find my camera!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 12:37 am by carrie

This post will soon be filled with pictures of the beautiful flowers my Mom sent up to me at the shop for my birthday, pictures of the cake and card Cindy made me AND pictures of the card and necklace Rachael made me! When I find that camera… and I know it grew little feet and it’s running away from me as we speak, I will post those pictures and gloat about what fabulous friends and family I have ;)

OH! and I updated the wedding blog… even more pics of the event. You can see them at the bottom of the blog!

Have a happy Sunday, which is Father’s Day! We’ll be busy working on a website :) This time, for sure.


Hello Katie!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 4:31 pm by carrie

My cousin Allison had her baby! Kate (Katie) Allison! She weighed 7lbs 15oz and was born at 3:01 pm on June 7!

She’s going to kill me… but Katie looks like Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle right here… and I really do think he is adorable!!! ;)
She just looks so happy and content all bundled up…
Here are her two other wee ones… Jack and Riley. Both adorable! Jack looks like he’s up to something there ;)
He’s a great big brother :) Allison…now it looks like you are going to have 2 heart breakers (and one protective older brother!!) :)

Here is Allison looking completely unhappy right before having Katie.

Allison recently discovered this picture hidden behind another in a frame… what an embarrassing treasure! It’s Allison and I dressed up as little cowgirls c. 1980. We are actually sitting on a pony. I look sleep deprived (the one on the left). I was probably up until 4am watching 24… again.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

I’m watching the stuffing and cardboard pile up… we finally got the Bethany Lowe stuff but I only got a few of each patriotic figure! eeek! So, I tried to place another order… got a few things, but not everything. They always sell out so quickly! I should start taking pre-orders. I already ordered Halloween but I’m mighty tempted to scan their catalog and let you guys pick everything out ahead of time so I don’t run into this problem again. You’d think they’d figure it by now and double their production?? Wishful thinking?? Well, back to work with me… I’ll finish pricing everything and snap a few pics before the masses come up and grab these up tomorrow! :) Oh! and now I’m inspired to paint a few signs with stars and stripes and glitter!! Think anyone would buy a patriotic cupcake picture?? Too much??? hehe!


Dr. Phil vs. Mr. Clean

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, sidenotes at 11:46 pm by carrie

Last night we were up late watching the first 4 episodes of 24 from the first season. I’m hooked… dang it. Today was my day off, so after lunch with Nathan I started tidying and watching a re-run of Oprah… somehow, I forgot to flip to my favorite lady, Judge Judy… but after Oprah, I flipped over to Dr. Phil.

I have no idea why… but after I watch an entire episode of Dr. Phil, I get the overwhelming compusion to clean. And clean I did. I scrubbed, I vacuumed, I did dishes… I was a HUGE distraction to Nathan who was trying to get some work done. Not to mention, I was scaring the dog with all the moving of furniture. I’m hoping that someday, this will make sense… why does Dr. Phil make me feel dirty? My theory is one of the following:
1. Dr. Phil reminds me of Mr. Clean
2. The people on the show have such chaos in their lives, I feel I can take care of my chaos in one afternoon
3. The irritation of seeing them air their dirty laundry reminds me to do mine.
4. Watching Dr. Phil sends the smell of lemony disinfectant to my brain, making me want to scrub, scrub, scrub.

Am I the only one with this issue??

The moon is completely full outside the back door to my left. We rearranged our office so that I can look outside now… I just realized how nice it is! By rearranging the office all the overflow has piled into my art room. So, it has turned into the “we can’t find anything in there” abyss room. But, it was all for a good cause… Nathan got a new keyboard and he has started composing music! His first song is quite lovely! So, the art room is now… scary.

I only show you this because it may force me to actually do something about it. Again, I SHOULD be working on the website but… wouldn’t I need a clean and functional create-a-torium before I did that? Notice my photo tent, the assorted lights, light box, tripod, jigsaw, dry mount heat press, baking soda, tv, drafting table and chair… and about 4 inches of walking space. I want little shadowboxes everywhere. Little shelves filled with little clear jars of beads, paint brushes… everything neat and tidy and pretty. I have a stack of magazines that are taller than an 8-year old child. Any creative ways to have them “out” but not really “out”? I don’t want to go to Ikea, but I might… let me loose in the container store…either way credit cards get maxed out. Need to start thinking of some creative and less expensive storage solutions.
True to form, and totally random… I’m posting another creme brulee picture. This is from the Bellagio hotel… three troughs of brulee, each with a different flavor. I didn’t show the after picture… do you question why?
I didn’t post this before, but here are a few pictures from my Mom’s graduation! Unfortunately, the inside photos didn’t turn out so well, but we got a few outdoor shots that turned out great! Here she is getting ready to sit down! She’s the smiley one in the middle!
Here’s Mom, her brother Bill and Uncle Tom! I think they are all looking in totally different directions!
Happy flowered Babs the graduate.

Nathan and Scott are in the living room working on our new TV hookup. Scott just exclaimed… “Look guys! You have the static channel!” and now they are watching “Cool as Ice“. Boys.

We’re going to look at wedding pictures now… so I best be off! (Then we’ll probably be up until dawn watching more 24… curses) Back to a regular work week tomorrow! :)


They got hitched! (finally!) **Updated June 17!!**

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, outings at 3:55 am by carrie

First, I have to mention that our Cottage Style photo shoot was today. Really… it was all about my Mom’s cottage house but it had lots of items from the shop and a few of my handmade things poking out here and there so I’m super thrilled! I was up at the shop all day (and it was really busy!) so I got phone call updates… wish I could have been there!! There was talk of even using one of the photos on the cover! Wowee wow… wow…. I mean…. uh, no big deal ;) So, everyone was really nice, creative… lots of flowers, fruit and cakes sprinkled here and there… and the dogs even got in some of the pictures… little hams that they are. One of the polaroid proofs had Biscuit and Barkley sitting on the couch next to each other (I mean, come on, who are they fooling!) looking at the camera, heads slightly tilted and just adorable. I’ll put more info on the next post including info on the stylist, photographer and possibly a few proofs!

So… the wedding of the century has happened and they are hitched! Scott and Alicia, that is. I consider these two to be in the top 5 of the most important people in our lives… they got bumped up after purchasing their Disneyland Annual passes ;) hehe… they know I’m kidding.

So, we skidded in Tuesday night after a long drive through the desert. We started the evening off with what Scott likes to call the “pre-ception” at the Luxor Steakhouse. Super great, everything is drenched in butter. Next, we got ready and got Alicia in her dress. Keep in mind these two are far from anything traditional… I asked her about centerpieces, for example, and she said “do I look like a centerpiece sort of person?!?” Ahhh, Alicia. She didn’t want a cake but I secretly got that together… look at the pictures, does she look like someone who didn’t enjoy the traditional cake cutting? I think not!! :) With that all said, you’ll notice she did not have a white dress and her veil is a mix of pinks and black with lots of rhinestones. She looked amazing :)

She had a pink dress with a black tulle layer above with black ovals and little glittery dots.
Alicia’s Mom on the left, then Alicia, her sister Marji on the bed and I’m hiding behind her.
More futzing with the veil as Alicia puts her face on.
We sprinted down to the lobby to get into our vehicles and get to the wedding chapel. Half of us got there on time and the other half sat down to hear Alicia say “I do…” with some misting… and then… “You may now kiss the bride”. It was THAT quick!!! They look SO happy here!!
This is a typical Alicia look… like… “uh-uh you aren’t going to do that…” I have no idea what they are talking about, but this is one of my favorites :)

Below, this is what they flashed on the marquee outside of the wedding chapel!

After the 6 minute wedding, we headed over to The Mix lounge over at TheHotel at Mandalay Bay. I had NO idea it was up on the 64th floor. Aaaallll the way up in a glass elevator.
This is the view from their balcony. Also, if you use their restroom, you go into a stall and close the door behind you… when you… uh-hem, sit down… you are looking out onto the world below. Floor to ceiling glass, spotlight on you that reflects on the inside as you look outside onto the twinkling lights. It was a tad disturbing even though you know nobody can see in :) Really, really cool, too.
So, this is the drawing of the cake I designed for them. I wanted it to match her dress but have a wedding and formal look to it. All pink and black. I was having a hard time deciding between fondant with real or gum paste roses… square or round…. etc etc etc. The possibilities are endless! I contacted several bakeries but went with a bakery that was inside of the Mandalay Bay. The top was chocolate, the bottom vanilla.
Here is how the cake turned out… I think it was beautiful! And it was quite tasty! I purchased the cake from The Chocolate Swan and the owner, Mary, put it all together for me AND delivered it to the Mix. Alicia had NO IDEA she was getting a cake (I think) and it was fun to surprise her with it! I sent the black and white polka dot ribbon via priority mail and Mary got it the afternoon of the wedding… just a few HOURS before we were going to cut it!. Believe it or not, that is all butter cream icing smoothed out and the only fondant is the pink ovals on the top tier.
Scott and Alicia cutting the cake. Alicia… I got the cutter and server while you were shopping with me! Sorry I had to be so pushy… “go to the car and stay there!” hehe
They didn’t make a mess… they were cute and dainty ;)
They are so utterly and completely happy in this picture.

This happens to be in front of the group’s meeting spot for the 3 days we were there. “meet in front of the Porsche” was heard as well as “gooooo team!” on several occasions. Thanks to Melissa for the good wrangling skills. What did Nathan say? It’s like herding cats. I chuckled just now.

And this is my absolute favorite picture… I have no idea what is going on right there, but it’s on the right and it’s making them happy :)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something…. but it was a great trip and it was so awesome to see those two so happy :) Reminder…Don’t call Alicia “Mrs…” anything… she doesn’t like it ;)

No big wins to report (in the land of monetary)… we did get hooked on this penny slot that actually took 50 cents at a time… but they made lots of noises and we could all sit in a circle and swap stories and giggle… so it was a lot of fun. I went barefoot at this point… the floors in Vegas… quite dirty… ;)

Now what do I do for a distraction? :) “Oh, look… there’s Elvis!” Didn’t say that once while we were there… for real… shucks ;)

********UPDATE JUNE 17, 2006!!!!*********************

And now, for your viewing pleasure, you can see the wedding of the century on video! The audio is lousy, but Alicia and Scott each say 2 words… you don’t have to hear everything perfectly, you can see their joy and misty-ness!!

So, click HERE to view their I do’s!

I also got an email full of jolly pictures from the wedding via Scott’s sister Carol! She took some awesome candids and behind the scenes pictures of the limo ride and the ride in the elevator… take a look!

Here is Scott and Carol waiting for Alicia to come down from the bridal suite. This was in front of the infamous Porsche that someone may actually win by doing something at the Luxor. We were there for hitching, not gambling… of course!
Here is the inside view of the bridal carriage that took them all to the Viva Las Vegas Wedding chapel. They were having more fun than they should have! Meanwhile, the white toyota minivan full of the misfits of the party were lost on Frank Sinatra Blvd and hitting all sorts of traffic and road construction. In the limo, starting at the left, Melissa (Scott’s “Best Man”), Bob (Carol’s Fiance), Tom (Alicia’s Dad), Linda (Alicia’s Mom) and Marji (Alicia’s Sister).
Scott and Alicia properly hydrating before they say their vows. Calm. Cool. Collected. They were cucumbers!
The “Best Man” and the Maid of Honor. That confused the photographer.
We look confused. Maybe it’s just me?
They do!
Now onto the Mix… here’s Sarah and Melissa!
Carol and Scott
The odd cake setup. It was dark in there, there was movement.
close up of the cake!
Alicia is apparently afraid of elevators. AND I found out tonight that she used to do roller skate dancing with frilly skirts and choreographed routines! I’ve learned SO much about this one these past few weeks!
Here we are going down 64 some-odd floors. It was a tad nerve-wracking. We all made squeeling noises the whole way down. I think?
Love… in an elevator.

I’m sure I’ll get more pictures later… but until then! Happy matching rings you two!


Consignment no more :(

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 4:01 am by carrie

I’m sad to report that I had to let all 50 of our consignors go. I’ve been so overwhelmed this year so far and had to find ways to keep my sanity and cut back some of the things that produce a ton of work. I figured I was working a minimum of 24 hours per month on consignment alone and after crunching the numbers, it’s just not worth it for the shop. I based this on the cost of gift wrapping and packaging, merchant fees, paying my bookkeeper, cutting checks, mailings… etc etc. If there are products that fly off the shelves, I plan to buy them up front where I can. But as far as logging, tagging, counting every sold tag each month, bagging what needs to go home with the consignor, cutting checks and mailing them out… it just can’t be done anymore, not in a timely matter anyway. I feel terrible about it, but something had to be done. I hope that nobody takes it personally :(

This may be the time I get into a new tagging system, bar code system or check out system up at the shop. Keeping up with inventory has been a mystery ever since we expanded. At any given moment two years ago, I could tell you we had 3 of something… now I’m lucky if I can find anything at all. Chalk it up to getting older or busier… in any case, there has got to be a better way :) Time to investigate!

I think reading Alicia’s post inspired me this morning. I feel like I need to start evaluating what I do and what I am doing and figure out the best use of time in any situation. For example, it’s 3:20 am and we just gave the dog a bath. I’m currently doing laundry and avoiding the inevitable packing for our trip. Right now I should be doing something else… what am I doing? Procrastinating. I guess I’m “organizing my thoughts”… so this could be a bad example… but I know daily, I could be more organized with my time.

As far as the shop goes, I do feel it’s like having a baby. I’ve watched it sit up, crawl, take its first steps and now it’s starting to get its first teeth. It’s been crying and been very demanding lately and i’m just frustrated. Okay, cheesy analogy but… I’m starting to see patterns each year with the shop now so the “mysteries” are starting to make some sense. Although, things change constantly, I’m now seeing this pattern form for one calendar year:

First Quarter-January, February and March

1. Christmas is getting boxed up, trees taken apart, Christmas lights neatly wrapped and put away. Any available storage you had is now gone.
2. Order all fall, Halloween and Christmas items for the end of the year.
3. Pay sales tax. Ouch.
4. Think you have money until you pay all your vendors and sales tax. Gleeful feeling gone ;)
5. Set up Valentine’s day by 1st week of January at the latest.
6. Take down Valentine’s put up Easter.

Second Quarter-April, May and June

1. Take down Easter, prepare for Mother’s day – gift baskets and bath products a must!
2. Pay more sales tax
3. Orders down to a minimum… need to batten down the hatches for the summer
4. Teacher gifts and Father’s day big right now.
5. Our anniversary party is in there somewhere. Need to send out postcards 4 weeks in advance, decide on food to serve etc.
6. Fourth of July up by 1st week of June (ha!)
7. Order Valentine’s day, Mother’s day and Father’s day for next year
8. Order Christmas Trees
9. Use down time to make as many things for the shop as possible. Beef up back stock on jewelry, boards, bath products etc.

Third Quarter-July, August, September

1. 4th of July up- take down… add summery items
2. Halloween up by end of August. Shipment probably is in by end of July. Find room!
3. Order fill-in for holidays in August or September.
4. Halloween party cards out.
5. Halloween items up on website. Scan in Christmas items and have them ready.
6. Pay more sales tax
7. Check tag, business card, sticker and register tape inventory. Order more if needed.
8. Keep crafting and squirrel it away.
9. Order thick mat thing for behind the register, save legs

Fourth Quarter-October, November, December

1. Christmas up no later than November 1… in reality, a bit earlier
2. pack up/sell on sale all Halloween
3. Keep making things. Very little time after Thanksgiving.
4. 1st week of oct – make christmas postcard
5. Send out postcard 1st week of november
6. Order ribbons, bags, boxes and tissue for packaging. Should have decided packaging theme for the year (i.e… 2 years ago, white feathers, last year, vintage glittered tags tied to each bag)
7. This is where I decide if I can hire someone. Not as of yet, but soon.
8. The day after thanksgiving starts the 26 days with no days off. Start taking tons of Vitamin C, plan on getting lots of sleep and do not craft at home. Need to figure out how to handle the website at this time!!!
9. Schedule massages… figured I should have one every 10 days or so ;)

Add all the paperwork, accounting, cleaning, cardboard clearing, customer service, merchandising, pricing etc etc into that equation… it’s hard to juggle :)

It’s 3:47 now and I may or may not start on a necklace that I want to wear at the wedding…which is in 18 hours. We hit the road in 5 hours and Nathan is sitting on his computer composing a piece of music. The dog is still damp. We still have nothing packed…and now I’m hungry :)

I’ll be back in a few days… happy thoughts to Alicia of Scott and Alicia, married in 18 hours… happy thoughts with Allison who is actually going to be induced on wednesday now (I think she’s relieved not to have a baby the same day the Omen is released) happy thoughts with everyone who is traveling and happy thoughts in general… Stay positive, think positive, set big goals, dream big… it’s bound to pay off eventually :)


It was so hot today…

Posted in Fun Stuff, Main, outings at 3:14 am by carrie

I didn’t feel like doing much of anything… but I went up to the shop and got a bunch of paperwork done. It was 92 when I got there says mr. thermostat. I was there for 9 hours and the a/c got it down to 82. I may have to offer ice blocks at the door if this continues!

New offerings on ebay:

More glass necklaces :)

I want to work on some combs and barrettes, wrapping wire then adding semi-precious stones and pearls. I’ll make one for the dress I’m wearing (which is actually SUPER cute and flattering) at the wedding and see how it does, if it tangles in my hair etc etc… of course I’ll probably be constructing this item in the car near the world’s largest thermometer! That website reminds me… We saw Elizabethtown over the weekend, and although the story was… hokie in (most) parts, I love the idea of a travel journal like the one Claire (Kirsten Dunst) made. Drawings, pictures, maps and stories behind all the little places she has been. I really want to try to do that someday. Although, a trip thru the desert to get to Las Vegas would yield nothing… there is nothing to see on that trip. “Gateway to Death Valley”… something to boast?

We leave for Scott and Alicia’s wedding on Tuesday… I just finished her veil. I’m frightened that I’ve put more rhinestones than she would like on it… eek! I’ll post pictures later, hopefully she’ll be smiling.

We went to my Mom’s graduation from the University of Phoenix on Saturday! We bombarded her with leis and I made a 2006 graduate charm bracelet with the school’s colors (garnet and citrine). Finished that the night before…I tend to get my best work done at 2 am before the event. Surprise :) We ate at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen up at downtown Disney… funny how we always end up doing something in or near Disneyland. I had the Jambalaya and some garlic bread with mozzarella. Divine :)

We’ll be gone until Thursday afternoon… we have quite the few days ahead of us… and we are going to see “O” (cirque de soleil) at the Bellagio on Wednesday evening… the best show in the world, hands down.

OH! and keep your thoughts with my cousin Allison who is being induced on Tuesday. It’s her 3rd baby and they opted on not knowing the sex. They have one of each already, this is just going to be icing on the cake ;)

Hope we come back to cooler weather… please please! :) well, I just looked it up and Vegas is going to be 104, 102 and 97 while we are there (it was 107 today! eek!) So, coming back to 84 degree weather is going to be a HUGE treat!

Weddings, babies, graduations, photo shoots, birthday parties! phew! This month is getting busier by the second!

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