Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloweener!

Happy Halloweener, everyone! This is my favorite holiday of the YEAR!!

Isn't this little guy so cute? I borrowed him from this website of weiner dog art.

I'm not feeling particularly festive today. I didn't even dress up like I usually do. Honestly, I'm having a very hard time with the devastation from these fires. The fires did not burn my house, my property or even anywhere near me, but I am very bothered by what has happened. I just feel unsettled and anxious and sad. I can't imagine what other people have gone through. Tami was evacuated from her home and by some luck in the universe, her home was still standing when she was allowed back home. I'm very grateful for that. I can't really put my finger on what is really bothering me, but something is and I need to get to the crux of it because it is making me nuts.

Those scary little trick-or-treaters will have to get candy somewhere else tonight, because I'm locking the door and turning off the light. I'm just not in the mood.

Tomorrow will be a better day. Oh, yeah, Oct 31-Nov 2 is Dia de los Muertos. I wish we'd celebrate that day, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday is officially "Recycling Monday"

Since the big Blog Action Day events about global warming and such, I've been thinking a lot about my part in the whole thing. As one person, I can't do it all, but I can do my part. If we all did our part, it could be amazing. So I've committed myself (no not like to an institution) to doing a new earth-friendly thing each week. I will post on Mondays and you can comment on the new thing that you've done to not contribute to pollution, global warming, etc. It can be a simple as walking to the post office, starting to recycle cardboard, cans, etc. You get the idea.
So, what did I do today? Well, when I went to Sprouts to get my teas and veggies, I picked up some of those canvas shopping bags. They were on sale for 99 cents each. I bought 12 of them. These are big green tote bags with the Sprouts logo on them. You take them into the store and you have the bagger put your groceries in them instead of paper or plastic. You can get more groceries into each bag and they are sturdier than paper or plastic, too. So, head out to your local farmers marketplace or local produce store and pick up some canvas bags.
Here is a link I found for some of the bags: BAGS. Hey, you could even make your own bags, how about that?
Also, if you have some recycling hints, post in the comments section. And don't forget to post what you've done to help the environment this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I made a thing

Yeah, so I made this thing.
When Julie made us (haha) make these Christmas ornaments last weekend, it got me to thinking about making personalized ornaments. This isn't an ornament. It's just a thing.
I picked up a few of these paper mache heart things at Michael's. I first painted the whole thing with Mod Podge. I did that because, as Julie explained about the Gesso, if I didn't put down a base coat first, the paint would just soak up into the thing and get all yucky. I used the matte finish Mod Podge. Then I got out some of my cheapo acrylic paints and painted in the colors I liked. I chose a couple of pinks and painted them all messy-like all over front, sides and back. While that was drying, I picked out the stamps I was going to use. I picked the old ladies stamp by River City Rubber Works and the sentiment by Stampabilities.
After the pink paints dried, I painted on some green and some blue. I let that dry just a little, and then I took a damp paper towel and rubbed some of the paint off so the pink would show through. I let that dry. I dipped a dry paintbrush into the apricot paint and lightly tapped it onto the front, sides and back of the thing.
Then I inked the old ladies up with black StazOn ink and stamped it on the thing. It didn't stamp well so I got my StazOn stamp cleaner out and rubbed off the icky image. I knew it wouldn't bother the acrylic paint because the StazOn cleaner is not water-based. Then I decided to stamp with the StazOn on vellum. I cut out the image and then Mod Podged it on to the heart thing. That worked really well, except I really had to watch for wrinkles and bubbles in the vellum. I had to lift the vellum and do a bit of adjusting. I put lots and lots of Mod Podge on top of the vellum.
I stamped the sentiment on striped paper and then cut out each word. I Mod Podged each word onto the thing where I wanted them and the put more Mod Podge over the whole ornament again. I let it dry in front of the fan and then I got out a regular old black sharpie and made dots all around the edges of the thing and around the image. I signed the back. The thing is done.
It felt good to craft again after being glued to the fire coverage on tv all week. I have another thing in the works. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

FIRE - update 8:15am Chargers

Hi everyone. Thank you for your concern and attention to the tragedy that has hit southern California. It is really a mess down here. The wildfires have made their mark yet again, but fortunately, only a few lives have been lost. I believe 1 or 2 from San Diego County and maybe the same number in Orange County. So many people have been evacuated and displaced but things seems to be working out. There are lots of people at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Chargers are supposed to play Houston on Sunday, but that may or may not happen. When they thought the stadium would be full of people, they moved the Chargers to Phoenix for practice. They thought, well maybe we can just move the game to the Cardinals' stadium, but there is a motorcycle event there on Sunday. If the game was in Phoenix, many San Diegans would go because it's only an hour flight to Phoenix from here. Next thing I heard was that they would play in Dallas. Dallas?! Yes. We couldn't give the Texans the home field advantage because it was OUR home field advantage, so they picked Houston's rival, Dallas, for the home field. That really sucks. Ok, but NOW I heard on the radio this morning, that since so many of the fire evacuees have been allowed to return home, they may move the rest of them from Qualcomm to other shelters to that we can have the game at home. YIPPEE! It's up to Jerry Sanders now to make the decision. Keep your fingers crossed. I need a diversion from the fires. I know I haven't reported much on the fires in the past few days. Nothing much is happening in our area and I'm not glued to the television as in the beginning, so I've nothing really to report. I did see the news last night and saw some of the devastation. It just breaks your heart to see so many homes destroyed. The good thing is, they are just homes. Brick and mortar. No lives were lost. I saw one couple standing outside their home and they said they had lost their home in the Cedar fire of 2003, too. I hope they rebuild somewhere else now. I don't think that location is meant to have a house on it. Our Governator has been visiting the area. I'll bet he visited the Orange County fire area as well. He has been much more proactive with resources for us than Davis did. I won't go on and on about this. If you live here, you know. I heard Bush was supposed to be here yesterday or today or something. Oh great, a live speech from the President. What speech will he bumble through this time? I think he's been in office too long. He's used up all his words and can't put two words together that make sense. That's all for now. I may post later tonight and post some cards I've made. I'll leave you with this: do a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) today. What would the world be if everyone did a RAK every day? Wow. Oh, and recycle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FIRE - update 9:00pm

Ok, here are some photos I took today after work. The first picture was taken from my back yard. It is looking west as the sun went down. It really was that orange outside. Kind of creepy, huh? It was smoky and there was a lot of ash in the air. These next two pictures are of one view of San Marcos, traveling north on Twin Oaks Valley Road. We live just up this road a bit further north than you can see in this picture. I wanted to show the smoke level over this part of San Marcos. Right at the bottom of this hill are a bunch of apartments and California State University San Marcos. The University (CSUSM) has been closed for this week. It's weird since there wasn't much traffic on the road when I was and it was even 5:30pm- rush hour. The Coronado Hills fire, the one that is now 100% contained, was up on the hill to the right in this picture. In the next picture, you can almost see the burnt areas near the road. Most of the fire was was up on the mountain. I couldn't stop to take a picture because the road is so steep and I didn't want to get in trouble with the Sheriff by being a looky-loo. This picture was taken looking west. I was at the top of the hill on Twin Oaks Valley Road. To the north (previous picture) is the City of San Marcos, and this picture is the community of San Elijo Hills, a community of about 3,000 homes on the south side of Mt. Whitney. No, not THE Mt. Whitney, the San Marcos Mt. Whitney. :) Anyhoo, this picture was enhanced. I used the sunset setting on my camera to bring out the colors of the hills and the sky. This sky is so smoky. I love how it makes for beautiful sunsets, but then again, it is smoke. Here is the road heading north on Twin Oaks Valley Road. The two hills that look like a part of a woman's anatomy (Did you know it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? It was a cheap plug, but I'll take what I can get.) is where the Coronado Hills fire was. Parts of San Elijo Hills were evacuated because they were afraid the fire would jump the road and race through the canyon towards La Costa and on into Encinitas through San Elijo Hills. This is another view of the same mountains just to show the smoke coming from the east. Just beyond Coronado Hills to the east, is Harmony Grove. Harmony Grove is a very wooded homes area and the fire was very close when I took the picture. All the residents of Harmony Grove were evacuated. The next picture was taken in Escondido. I wanted to see if I could see the flames from the Witch Creek fire as it moved up Palomar Mountain but all I got was smoke. Palomar Mountain is east of San Marcos. Palomar has been the victim of many fires. It's just so sad to see it burning again. Tonight the fire is blazing on the mountain. The fire is on the ridge of the mountain and looks like a glowing snake. I can't resist taking pictures of the sun going down in all this haze. Such pretty colors. The last picture was taken while driving west on the 78 near the 15. You can see the smoke above and below the yellow haze. That's all I have for now. I don't think I will have any pictures of the actual fire. I hope I don't, anyways. If I get pictures of flames, it will because the Witch Creek fire has gone through Harmony Grove and up Coronado Hills again.

Map of LA area fires

Julie posted a great link to a map of all the fires going on in So Cal at the moment. Check it out here.

FIRE - update 2:42pm

I'm working today, so not much time to take pictures outside. I can see from my window that the whole area is glowing yellow. Not from the fire, but from the sun. Not a sunny glow. The air is thick with smoke and the sun shining makes it glow. There is a heavy ash all over everything. At times you can see it falling from the sky. When I drove in to work this morning, I put a damp washcloth over my mouth and nose to breathe. You can feel it burn when you breathe. The temperature is hot, about 85, and the humidity is less than 25%. Wind WNW at 4mph right now but it peaked at about 38mph sometime during the night. The fires have grown and changed directions and even combining with other fires. Total homes evacuated is over 500,000 now. That's half a million HOMES! Figure at least 2 people per home - that's over 1 million people having to find shelter or hotel rooms in 2 days. Some evacuation orders have been ordered for the coastal towns of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. Those orders are voluntary at this point, meaning people can leave now if they want to, or they can wait until the mandatory order is issued. I heard that there are no more hotel rooms between the Mexican border and the Orange County line. Here's a link to a google map that shows the fire areas, the evacuation areas and the shelters. If you are unfamiliar with the area, San Marcos is off the 78, right near the 15 intersection. You'll have to zoom in on the map to see it more clearly. Zoom in a bit farther and look where the two red exclamation point (!) triangles are near West Valley Parkway. Ok, now look a bit to the left. Do you see Harmony Grove under the left hand "!" ? Those people are being evacuated right now. A lot of wooded areas there and a lot of horses and country homes. I'm only speculating, but if the fire goes through Harmony Grove, it will go over the mountains and join back up where the fire started originally on the hills of San Marcos. The one that is 100% contained. Get it? The fire is circling around and weaseling its way back over here. There is plenty of water and power in San Marcos at the moment. SDG&E is asking everyone to cut back on any unnecessary electrical use, but that's about it. We have not been issued any evacuation orders at this time. Things change with the wind, so we are all glued to our television sets. I'll take some pictures when I get home tonight and post them. I know it's been a while without pictures.

FIRE - update 8:10am

All went well for us last night. I was glued to the television until midnight when the news crews signed off. We had our bags packed and all the kitty paraphernalia gathered and ready to go if we got a phone call to evacuate. Technically, we were in the red zone, the evacuation zone, but the fire was not headed our way, so we stayed. This morning, the skies are gray and smoky. The air is thick with ash. It's 8am and already in the 70's. The air is very dry. I came to work this morning. The building is full of families, friends and pets who were evacuated from various areas of the fires. I feel lost without my television and the constant fire updates. I heard on the radio that OES was going to start letting evacuees from the western part of the county to return to their homes. They said they were reluctant to let everyone in the safer areas back home just in case the winds changed the direction of the fire and they had to re-evacuate. Makes sense. I'm off to get some news, eat a bagel and drink my morning coffee.

Monday, October 22, 2007

FIRE - update 8:57pm Video Link

Julie posted this link to 10News live feed on her blog, but I wanted to add it to mine, too. So many people just need to be informed. Stay safe out there. Watch the news and do what they say. I have our bags packed and will be ready to go if we get a phone call.

FIRE - update 5:00pm GREAT NEWS!

Fire did not take over the Wild Animal Park. All the animals are safe. They evacuated the endangered animals earlier today. I am so, so happy!!!

FIRE - update 4:05pm

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I'm here at home. We were without power for a little while. I was going through withdrawal from the news on t.v. The skies above are fairly clear. Smoky, but not so dark and scary as earlier today. The wind is still blowing like all get out, but no fire near us. The fire is behind the hill. See the pics I took on previous posts. See the hill behind the palm trees? That's the hill that was burning this morning, but no it is only burning on the other side in San Elijo Hills. People there have been evacuated in San Elijo Hills for quite some time. The base of the hills of San Elijo run into Rancho Santa Fe Road - which runs from San Marcos to Encinitas. Just west of Rancho Santa Fe Road is La Costa (Carlsbad). My cousin lives there and he got the reverse 911 call to evacuate. I believe the authorities are concered that the fire will cross Rancho Santa Fe Road. Oops, just listening to the t.v. they have lifted the evacuation for San Elijo Hills. Thank goodness. That means the fire on the hill is under control. You never can tell what the winds will do, so we should keep alert. Besides, the world needs more lerts. haha! As for the Escondido area, they have issued evacuation orders for all of the San Pascual valley, all the way up to the I-15. Bear Valley Parkway residents were told to evacuate hours ago. The smoke is terrible out there. I do not know anything about the Wild Animal Park yet. John and I still have our bags packed (with passports!) in case we need to get out. Oh, I had to come back and edit this. They have evacuated parts of Solana Beach. Solana Beach is west of Rancho Santa Fe. The part of Solana Beach that was evacuated is the part that butts up to the San Elijo Lagoon. (No relation to San Elijo Hills.) The concern was that the fire would travel from the I-15 west along the stream bed through Lake Hodges, Rancho Santa Fe and on to Solana Beach via the lagoon. That part of Solana Beach is also accessible via the open spaces as well. I guess you can't be too careful. Over and out. For now. More pictures next time.

FIRE - update 12:05pm

No pictures this time. The sky has cleared considerably just south of me. The big problem now is falling ash and the heavy smoke smell. I'm not going outside for a long time now. The smoke smell triggers my migraines. I'll keep you posted on evacuations, etc. The inside/outside kitties (Cheeto and Frankie) have given up on the fact that I'm not going to let them out no matter how much they beg. They have, however, hidden themselves somewhere in the house. Gizmo is still my shadow. Gizmo's tummy must be upset because I'm finding kitty puke everywhere. Poor thing. I'm watching tv and coloring images for cards. I've calmed down quite a bit now. It helps to post.

FIRE - update 11:50am MAP

Ok, here is a Google Earth map of stuff I've been talking about. You'll have to click the map to see the details. I hope this helps you understand what is where.

I couldn't draw on the fire locations on this map. You can go to to see more details and for locations of the fires.

The wind is picking up again. The house is shaking from the force of the wind. Still blue sky above me.

FIRE - update 11:20am

I got a call from my Tony, who lives in Encinitas, east of the I-5. He said he knows that people are getting the 911 calls. These people are told (via recording from 911) that they should get their belongings together. This notice is a 2 hour notice. If they are required to evacuate, they will be called again by the 911 system to go immediately. Tony has not received a call. Yet. So far, over 250,000 people have had to evacuate their homes in San Diego county. Where are all these people going? Some are headed to Las Vegas. Most are headed towards the coast. Can't go too far north on the I-5 because there are fires up there, too. The I-15 is now closed between the 76 and Rainbow. Where I live, there is no access north or south on the I-15. I'm going to go get a Google map. I'll be right back.

FIRE - update 10:45am

Here are some updated photos. You can see the orange hue to everything now. This smoke is to the south of me. I am not in the direct flow of smoke. As you can see from the first photo, my house is under blue sky now. The air is fairly clear, but I still smell the smoke and can feel it burn my eyes when I go outside to take photos. The second picture was taken from the center of the cul-de-sac looking north. Nice and blue that way right now. You never know what will happen once the wind changes. No phone calls to evacuate here yet. I did hear that Rancho Santa Fe is under mandatory evacuation right now. The county is utilizing the reverse-911 calling, so residents are being notified that way. The reverse-911 works in the way that they can make many calls all at once to residents in affected areas. I have a place to go if I get a call. My mom lives in Encinitas and I have an emergency bag of our clothing, meds, documents and cat carriers ready in case we need to leave in a hurry. I don't think that will happen, but I'm ready if it does. Oh, I just heard that the San Marcos fire (Coronado Hills) has died down a bit. That doesn't really mean too much because the winds are still blowing pretty good. Flare-ups happen all the time. That's all for now.

FIRE - 9am update

These first few pictures are from the tv. The first one gives you a good idea of where the fires are. The second pic shows the freway closures. The next few show some tv pics of freeways that are closed and the smoke. It's horrible. The last pictures show what it looks like from my house. You can compare the pics to the previous post t see how much more the smoke is coming our way. The first pic is from my backyard looking south towards the San Marcos fire. The next pic is my roof looking up towards the sky. The last pic is from my driveway looking south.


I live in southern California. We have fires every year. I get scared every year. The hot Santa Ana winds blow east to west for about a week every year. The winds started over this past weekend. It was about 90 outside and the winds were blowing about 35-40 mph. The first fire started up in Ramona, in the Witch Creek area. The second fire is in southeastern San Diego near Jamul. Neither of those fires is anywhere near in control. 0% contained. Now there is a fire burning on the hills in San Marcos. You can see an ember fire starting to burn here in the first picture. I took this picture from my backyard. See all that thick smoke behind the hill there? That's a lot of the smoke from the Witch Creek fire. They have evacuated the people on the hill there. There is a big hill behind my house. So far we're ok, but you never know where those embers will fall. Many of the freeways and roads are closed in this area. So many people have been evacuated and have headed west. They evacuated Ramona last night. That was over 36,000 people. I heard that they have evacuated peope from Rancho Bernardo as well. Rancho Bernardo was the place from the Cedar fire in 2003. Remember that fire? Thousands of homes lost. The winds are now blowing about 30mph in SM right now. This last picture is the sun rising this morning through the smoke. Kind of pretty and scary at the same time, huh? Many residents don't have power, so I'll keep my blog updated as long as there is power.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A few Halloween cards

I colored these House Mouse images last year when I bought the stamps. I used Prismacolor pencils and gamsol. I don't often use gamsol, but thought it might be fun to try it. It makes coloring very easy and quick. I always have a hard time figuring out the layout for my cards, so got out the most recent issue of Cards magazine and picked ones I liked and adapted. I've mentioned this before, but I am terrible with embellisments. I just don't know how to put them on, how much to put on or even do I use them at all? This second card is a very unconventional Halloween card. I colored the lobster more red than orange, so I had to choose paper with more reds in it. This paper is from Memory Box. It's on of the new ones. I can't remember the name, but you can find it on the Memory Box website. There are lots of new papers, and yes, I have them all. This last card is 5.5" x 5.5". I don't make many cards this size because they take extra postage and they don't fit in my "for sale" box, but I couldn't resist the paper and the layout. Isn't this mouse too cute in his cheese costume? Yeah, I think so, too. I'm tempted to send my cards to someone who does good embellishing to see what they would do with the card. You interested? I'll send them to you. There are two copies of each card. You embellish them, keep one and send me one of each back. Deal? Leave a comment.

The same, but different

I love blue and brown together. I also love polka dots and paisley. I would say this paper was meant for me. I've had it for quite awhile and decided it was time to cut it up and part with some of it. I also love justjohanna stamps, and this one is one of my top 50. Yes, 50. Have you ever tried to make a top 10 of justjohanna stamps? It's tough. What a fun card for an anniversary, a birthday or for a "just because" card. I did the card the same, but in opposite prints. I'm not sure which one I like better, but it doesn't matter because both of them will go in my "cards for sale" box at work. Do you sell your cards? It's often been a topic of discussion on the message boards I peruse. If you sell them, then how much do you charge? It seems the average price I sell my cards for is $4, but some go for as much as $10, depending on if there is a lot of coloring or if it is a custom order. My coworkers often tell me I underprice my cards, but I just feel weird charging more than $4 or a card. I sell them at work for the convenience. The money I get for the cards I use to help support my habit. So tell me, if you sell your cards, how much do you charge? Where do you sell them? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Catching Up

Here are a few cards I've worked on lately. All stamps are by justjohanna. This first one is a little different. For the front of the card, I stamped the mini-snowman and the snowflakes onto a piece of transparency with white pigment ink and then embossed it with white embossing powder. The transparency is sandwiched between the two torn pieces of cardstock. I put some cardstock on the inside of the card so the white embossing on the transparency showed up better. This next one I call "Snow is glistening in Aldenville". Did you know there is a real Aldenville? It's in Pennsylvania. It's pretty close to Honesdale. Both are stamps by justjohanna. Ok, so that was your trivia for the day. I stamped Aldenville on the light blue cardstock and then drew in a line to anchor the image. Then Iused my White Pearl dimension paint to the town and on the sentiment to make it look like snow. I stamped the snowflake trio in white pigment ink on the blue strip. This last card was just fun. As you can see, I stamped and cut out all the images on this card. I drew the banner around the sentiment. I also drew in the border lines around the card. I'm really liking this doodling thing. I just have to have more confidence in myself to do it more often. It's fun.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Craft Day

I've had the best creative day today! I'm getting caught up with my justjohanna assignments and I'm also working on some fun stuff. This first card, "Sea of Love" is one I've been thinking about for quite some time. All the stamps are by justjohanna. For the jars, I stamped the jar stamp with black Staz-On on a clear transparency, cut them out and then used my silver Krylon pen for the jar lid. I colored on the back of the transparency so that the stamped details would show through. The bubbles were colored in with glitter pen. I ran the transparency jars through my Xyron sticker maker. I was surprised, and pleased, to know that the adhesive didn't glob up nor did it show through the transparency. This is a thank you card. I only used one stamp, the fleur de lis, by justjohanna. I used my stamp positioner and stamped four of them in the center. Then I stamped four more on a separate piece of paper. I colored all the images with my Prismacolor pencils, and then cut out the four separately stamped images. I adhered them to the image area with pop dots. Paper is from DCWV Glitter Stack. I tied a metal tag that says "Thank You" onto the ribbon with a little safety pin. (I see globs of something on the cards. That isn't there in real life. My scanner was dirty, but I cleaned it up.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's all about Stampbord

I love Stampbord. About 6 months ago, I was contacted by Lindsey of Amersand Arts. She wanted to know if I would like to be a featured how-to artist on the Stampbord website. You bet I would! I was originally scheduled for some time in 2008, but the artist for October 2007 couldn't do it, so would I consider October? If you know me, you know I love Halloween, so I jumped at the chance to do October. I knew I wanted to do something Halloween-y and I love the justjohanna Halloween stamps, so it was a match made in Craftdom. I sketched out my design and then just went for it. You can see the step-by-step instructions on the Stampbord website in the featured how-to section. You can click on the PDF button to get bigger pictures and instructions for the project. Be sure to check out the past how-to projects. They are awesome! Thank you, Lindsey, for the opportunity to do this project. I had a great time doing it.

Monday, October 08, 2007


ANDI SEXTON!! Andi, you have won my World Cardmaking Day challenge! You have won a fantastic Al on the World stamp from justjohanna rubber stamps and, AND! a chance to win a $250 shopping spree out of the justjohanna rubber stamps catalog! If you haven't seen Andi's cute card, click here. It is so adorable how she made that cute little dog into a wreath. Wow! Congrats, Andi! Your prize will be on it's way soon!