Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dog:2 Human: 0

So, I took Zoe with me for gas. While I was paying ... that little stinker climbed into MY seat and was HONKING THE HORN at me.

The cashier absolutely LOST it when he looked out at the noise ... and saw a DOG in the driver's seat honking the horn.

You know the rule: Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Third is deliberate. FOUR TIMES she honked at me to hurry up. Oy!!


The guilty barker ...

And our Sonic drive-in is The Awesomeness. We went there after playing on the Pet Playground by the gas station (it's REALLY neat, has a bunch of pet-washing stalls with lots of options, like even skunk stink removal, and is set up specifically to wash pets, plus two HUGE playgrounds, one for small dogs, one for larger dogs, set up like obstacle courses with a big old-style handpump and water bowl. Very neat), and the server brought out a packed MilkBone with Zoe's cup of water. Neato!


Look at those pathetically sad hound-dog eyes!

I swear, I LOVE taking this dog places. Because of her mix (Half Corgi, half Blue Heeler), she CONSTANTLY gets comments, and the staff at all the local pet stores just flip out over her.

.... still awake ...

It's 5 am. I haven't even so much as had a nap.

I wouldn't say I'm wide awake. My body hurts, my eyes hurt, but my brain won't give up for the night and let me go to sleep.

So I came out to the computer ... and ended up having to do a complete system restore to fix whatever eldest dd did to my computer that fried three programs, including Firefox. Child is SO in trouble. This, after losing her cell phone for the SECOND time, because she has no concept of limited minutes. Grrrrrrr.

I hurt. I'm sick and tired of hurting. I know the stupid abcess didn't help, and that it made my nerve block wear off, but geeze .... a few months go by, and I forget how miserable I was before the last nerve block.

And as more time goes by, the symptoms of course get worse, and the blinding brain spike headaches get more frequent, and I reach the point where my head constantly hurts to at least some degree and there's pretty much no relief to be found. And I have to wait until the 7th for my next nerve block -- though I may call this morning and see if they have a cancellation for tomorrow to squeeze me in earlier.

.... and can someone tell me why my "ferocious" Corgi "guardmutt" has decided that the squeaking of my ceiling fan is evil and must be barked at at 4 am? I had to turn the fan OFF to calm her down.

Oh. Look. Shiny!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Frugal Crafter

Crafters never throw anything away -- we all know it, we're all 'guilty' of it, and most of us drive our families crazy with the resulting cries of "Don't throw that out, I can use it!"

* You know how you're not supposed to keep clear acrylic and polymer stamps in their original packaging? That original packaging is nice and clear, and usually a decent weight as well. Reuse them, don't toss em!
--- Instead of buying page protectors to make shaker pockets for cards and scrapbooking, use the clear leftovers from the polymer stamps.
-- Spread alcohol inks on them, wait for it to dry, then run it through a die-cut machine for translucent embellishments.
-- You can even stamp on them if you use permanent inks! Or use a permanent marker, and layer your journaling over a photo.

* Don't throw out the chipboard/cardboard inserts in sticker packs! Also, for a lot of places where you can buy collage supplies online, they add thin cardboard to make sure the pages they send stay flat. Reuse!
-- The cardboard in sticker packs make fabulous sturdy bookmarks. Either cover with gesso and paint or stamp, or you can cover them with paper and go from there.
-- Larger sheets make great postcard backgrounds.
-- The lighter weight cardboard works just great with most punches, particularly corner rounders, to take away the sharp (and potentially boring) points.
-- Use them as inexpensive cover and back pages for accordian books and cards.

* Empty medication bottles are endlessly useful.
-- Save them for circle templates, and just trace around the smooth bottoms.
-- Use them to store embellishments, like eyelets and brads, or beads.
-- They make great storage for mixed or custom-blended embossing powders.

* Even if you don't garden, you have access to plastic plant flats. Most home improvement stores and garden centers will just give them away, all you have to do is ask.
-- Great storage for wood-mounted rubber stamps. You can put up to two layers per flat. Just cut a sheet of long paper for the bottom (and make sure you wash the flats first!!) and stamp out the matrix for where your stamps will fit so you know where to put them when you're done. You can use cut wood, heavy dowels -- or even cut toilet paper tubes -- to support the layers of flats so that you can stack them.
-- They make good project trays. Line with paper, or leftover cardboard, add aluminum foil or waxed paper, depending on the project, and you have a decent-sized tray that you can carry with you to another room of the house, or safely stack out of the way and cover your project so children and pets don't get into it.

* Paper scraps. Don't throw them away, use them.
-- Thin scraps, and a border punch, and you have coordinating borders for cards and pages.
-- Cut scraps further apart, and use them to make paper quilts and mosaics for cards and embellishments.
-- Run them through a die-cut machine.
-- Use them in your paper punches to create a stock of shapes in patterns and colours that match your projects.
-- Thin scraps can also be used for paper weaving, to create some interesting page elements, or to mimic ribbon behind photos and journaling.
-- Use alphabet stamps on strips for instant titles and greetings.

* Wallpaper sample books. Discontinued wallpaper books can be picked up, usually free, at most places that sell wallpaper. Most of the time, you not only have entire pages in there, but borders and other coordinating papers -- great for cards and scrapbooking.
-- Use sections of one paper for mats, sections of coordinating colours for other layers.
-- Slide a cutting mat behind a page, and use a craft knife to cut out specfic elements. This is great for border papers that just aren't quite perfect to use on a page - too short, or too wide - but you can get embellishments and design elements out of just a few cuts.
-- Another item great for die-cut machines and punches.

* Just because a glass bead is broken, doesn't make it trash. Don't throw it out, just shift from using it on jewelry to using it for embellishments. (Always make sure to file down any sharp edges and points for safety)
-- Beads broken in half can be added to cards and pages as flower centers, eyes, and anywhere you want a sparkly POP.
-- Collect enough broken beads, and use them with strong two-sided tape in place of using the tiny microbeads, or with the microbeads as larger accents of sparkle.

* You don't need to spend a fortune on sandpaper. Odds are, you have plenty of what you need right around the house.
-- Old nail files are great for distressing paper.
-- Nail files will take sharp edges off wire, and smooth out areas where you've cut shanks off buttons and loops off charms.
-- The very fine and buff sides of nail files replace the harder-to-find extremely fine sandpaper, and can be dampened for use with polymer clay, or PMC.
-- An addition to useful nailcare items is saving old nail clippers. They may not cut your nails well anymore, but they'll still snap a shank off a button!

* Cereal boxes don't have to go in the trash, either.
-- Good source of cardboard for projects.
-- Cut off the top, and cut the sides on angles, then cover in paper for instant and coordinating magazine holders (or use them to hold your stencils!)
-- Reseal the top. Cut off the top 2-3 inches, and the bottom 2-3 inches for great horizontal holders for pens, markers, and other accessories.

* "Fun" foam, the cheap sheets usually in the kids section of the craft store, that also come in pre-cut packs. If you have kids, you probably have this stuff around the house.
-- Those pre-cut shapes can make some nice stamps, and some even already have sticky on the back that you can use for mounting!
-- A little bit of double-sided adhesive, and even tiny scraps of the foam can be used in place of buying puff dots for dimensional accents.
-- Why buy shadow stamps, when you can make your own? Increase your stamp collection the easy way. Use an outline stamp (much like the ones QK sells in the store) and permanent ink to stamp onto foam. Cut the foam out along the outline, and mount in whatever way you choose. You now have a shadow stamp that perfectly matches and fits your original image -- two stamps out of one!
-- Use two sheets, or the thicker foam, and you've got a great pad for dry-embossing, or a great pad to put behind the paper you're stamping on.
-- They can also be used as pads to set nail-heads or eyelets.

* Expanded polystyrene -- packing foam. Don't throw it out and create landfill issues, use it.
-- It holds toothpicks great. Use toothpicks, bamboo skewers, whatever, and elevate things that need to dry -- great for painting on polymer clay, or adding mod podge, or any other sealant to pieces.
-- Cut/dig holes the perfect size into the polystyrene to hold your paintbrushes and craft knives.

* Keep a box for "found objects." Train your eyes to look for parts discarded on the ground. Washers, small electronic bits, buttons -- you'll be amazed at what you can find, and then use. This is especially great on vacations, when you can collect shells, river stones, and any other goodies you may find.
-- Padded envelopes that you've received are great for storing these items. Just label each padded mailer ('Beach, 2007,' etc), and you'll always have a supply of unique items for embellishments.

I'm not THAT old ... am I?

Thing 1, the eldest daughter, started HIGH SCHOOL today.

There are no words

I <3 my pain clinic!

SO, as a few of you know, the pain levels have been kicking my butt lately. I noticed that the nasty brain spikes started returning the day after I took my last prednisone and antibiotic, and wondered if it was related.

The pain doc said: "Absolutely." With a dental abcess, and my occipital neuralgia, the pain from the abcess, and the stress of infection and the prednisone, it aggravated the occipital nerve to the point that my last block wore off about a month or two too soon.

I'm scheduled to have needles shoved into my brain yet again on the 7th of September. That was the earliest they could get me in, and they APOLOGIZED for that. COOL!

I asked my pain doc about getting something to take at night, something that would last longer than 2-3 hours, because I'm sick of waking up and having to take more drugs. He did offer a stronger version of my current pain med, but darnit, I'm sick of pills. I have to take way too many on a daily basis as it is. So I asked about patches.

He said the Duralgesis patches aren't any good for acute pain, and they actually have to build up in your system. Then he stopped, and asked if I'd tried the Lidoderm patches. Why, no, no I hadn't.

..... Oh. My. God.

First off, they're huge, so I have to cut them down (which also means I get more usage out of each scrip), since I don't exactly have a big neck. I worried a bit, because I have some adhesive allergies, but the adhesive on these is really, really mild (in fact, it barely wants to stick on the back of my neck, darn hair).

.... And. They. WORK.

Not only do they work, they work directly on the area that HURTS, and doesn't affect the rest of the body. I can still take other pain meds without a problem at the same time. More importantly, they don't screw around with my brain or perception, so I don't feel all drugged up.

AND -- I can use them when my RSD sets off a joint or severe muscular pain elsewhere on my body, with direct to the pain relief.

My husband called earlier to check in after my appointment, and he said I sounded a hundred times better than I did yesterday.

Well, yeah, of course -- I can move my head without whimpering now, and my neck muscles are even loosening up a bit because they aren't clenching over the pain.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monoprint Cheats

Ever do a really awesome monoprint, and never be able to duplicate it? Yeah, me too.

There's a couple of ways to save you from this.

First, the easiest -- USE YOUR SCANNER! While it may not get all the shimmers if you use pearlescent or metallics, you've at least got the colours and pattern and you can always add in shimmer after you print it. This gives you MANY prints, instead of just one.

Second -- you don't have to only print one.

-- Work inside a page protector, or two sheets of acetate. When you put your paper in, use two sheets, and put them with the backs together inside the ink zone. You'll get two copies, pretty much identical.

-- A second round can then be done, and yes, it will be much lighter as most of the original ink was absorbed by the first paper, but you'll still get the same pattern and colours, and the secondary prints make great accents to work with the original.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Product Review: The Silent Setter

The Silent Setter

I used to loathe setting eyelets -- and for that matter, my family loathed it when I did it, too. The NOISE!! All the pounding drove them crazy.

There are other products out there that are quiet for setting eyelets and adding holes, but most are somewhat limited in where you can do it. If it isn't along an edge, you might be out of luck.

Not so with the Silent Setter.

The tool itself looks a bit like a hand drill: a comfort-grip knob on the top, magnetic chuck on the bottom that will hold the punches and the setters. You can literally put a hole ANYWHERE -- and in complete silence.

They aren't kidding about the name.

Operation is simple -- just push and twist to make a hole. Slightly more pressure is required for heavier cardstock, but still, the amount of pressure needed is SO much less than the more traditional methods. It's also perfect for adding holes for brads. With no limitation on where you add the holes, so brads can be added even after most of the project is complete.

It's surprisingly easy to use, even for me. Sometimes I do have to get a little leverage by standing up to use it, but I've had few problems with it working. My hands and wrists do ache if I have to set more than just a few, so it may not be the best for arthritics.

Switch the tip to a setter, and repeat the push and twist to set eyelets. It takes a bit of practice to make sure you don't mutilate the eyelet, but then that's the case for every single setter out there. And since each eyelet is different, some softer than others, practice is your best friend. Still, it's much gentler on eyelets than other tools, and you can -watch- as you set it and stop when it is perfectly scrunched without waiting to see if it worked or if it ended up mangled.

Some people have said that it only works with the eyelets included. This hasn't been the case for me. I've used multiple different brands of eyelets, and had no trouble. Coming from a woman with bad wrists and hands, this is something special. I suppose it all comes down to the user, and how much time you're willing to spend working with a new product.

If you expect any tool to work perfectly the very first time you try it, I imagine you don't have a lot of tools that you like. All new tools require practice, whether it be scrapbooking tools, or power tools in the garage. Very few people are absolute experts the first time they try something, so be patient with your tools and practice!

The Silent Setter has another nice bonus -- it comes with its own carrying case. The case is nicely padded, so the heavy tool won't bang up anything in your crafting bags.

You get three punch tips, three setter tips, and a mini craft mat inside the case, along with a small tub of eyelets to start.

The price is average, around 20, but it's easy to find them on sale.

I give the Silent Setter a B, mostly for the learning curve involved and potential difficulty for folks without a lot of hand and wrist strength.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Book Review: Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope: Ideas And Projects to Spark Your Creativity
by Suzanne Simanaitis

"Indulge your creative cravings! Explore dozens of stories, exercises and instructive projects, all designed to feed, encourage and sometimes flex your creative muscle. You'll tap into the joy of drawing, be encouraged to create art in bed, create your own folded-paper shrine, discover the liberation of stream-writing, practice idea brainstorming, make your own duct-tape purse, learn to quiet the negative voice in your head, dream up your own creative studio space and much, much more. Inspiring art and eye-candy on every page–a Kaleidoscope of creative energy awaits you today!"

The title is not misleading. I consider this to be a book that should be in EVERY crafter's library, regardless of the crafts you pursue.

It is NOT "just another project" book, like so many out there, but a book that instead inspires you to create and work on your own pieces and letting the process lead where it may. This is going to be a book I read again and again.

I know what I'll be buying my crafty chicas for presents this year now, that's for sure. The author (who is a wonderful lady, and another Suzanne) put together a craft book that can be read over and over, and isn't just filled with projects. It is, without a doubt, the best crafty book I've bought in a long time. Not only that, but there's so FEW books like this, that are inspirational and make you think and give you ideas, and new ways to see things.

When I get a major brain fart and I WANT to create something, but just can't figure out what, having something to look through to help give me ideas, and better yet, not just for art, but writing as well, is a complete sanity-saver.

There are WORDS in this book. Not just a lot of pretty pictures and instructions, but stories and inspirational exercises to work you through the creative process. The book is a journey of self-exploration, helping you to reinvent the creative you and find your own true style. It's all about finding yourself.

While there are projects included within the pages, they aren't your average crafting projects, with a definite focus on collage and mixed-media work. Ribbon flowers, crafting with metal, reflection decks, postcard books, portable shrines, beeswax art, even a tape purse! However, these are really a minor part of the book, the main focus is on finding your own creative side, and learning how to best apply it to your art.

I honestly can't find enough words to describe just how wonderful this book is. Buy it, read it, buy more and share with others.


Suzanne Simanaitis is also the editor and founder of ARTitude Zine, a quarterly, independent magazine about art, craft, and creativity. (ARTitude can be found at:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Product Review: Fiskars ShapeCutter

Fiskars Shapecutter

For the record, let me state now that I'm one of those people that can't cut a straight line with either a straight edge OR a paper cutter. Seriously, I swear to you. Cannot. Do. It.

That's one reason why I am utterly in love with my Shapecutter. This thing is a lifesaver for cutting shapes, even if it's just rectangles and squares. They end up precise, neat, and perfect for mats.

One caveat: You -must- use either the Fiskars ShapeTemplates, or another thick, sturdy template for this tool to work. The blades are SO very sharp that they bite right through and tear up thinner, flimsier templates and stencils. However, there is a HUGE selection of templates that will work with it, and most of them range from flat-out cheap to entirely reasonable, considering how sturdy they are and the number of shape options on them.

The ShapeCutter

Using the ShapeCutter is fairly easy, once you practice a bit -- I don't recommend starting with your expensive papers right out of the box. Larger shapes require a steady hand, and getting accustomed to the slight wobble if you don't keep the support perfectly flat on the template. It's too easy for the support to dip down into the open space, and then you get an uneven cut, so practice, practice, practice. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

The "adjustable" depth isn't quite as adjustable as they claim. I've played with it, and it doesn't seem to make much difference, except that at the lowest setting, it's locked down tight for deeper cuts into heavier paper. Still, it does a good clean job, even on vellum, which is always a nightmare to cut without getting weird edges.

Not much pressure is required to cut, even with thicker cardstock. The blades, as I said, are exceptionally sharp, and they do a good job making fast work of getting your shapes cut out. They even do well with sticky-back papers that you just peel away after cutting.

Even the basic Shapecutter comes with replacement blades, and is quite cheap. There are other kits available, going up in price according to what is included. Most of the kits have at least one template and a cutting mat to fit it -- the more expensive sets have more templates.

The ShapeTemplates

I couldn't believe how many were available. Not just your basic shapes: square, rectangle, oval, circle, hearts, stars, diamonds. No, there are alphabets, tiny shapes, tags, boxes, envelopes, borders, banners, even themed templates -- really, anything you might need.

In addition to the shapes INSIDE, the outside of most of the templates is also usable -- deckle edges, ruffles, and more. Instant borders or paper ribbons for your projects.

Each of the basic shape templates has multiple sizes of each shape, so you don't have to do any measuring for layers -- just pick the next size up or down, and you're ready to go.

Perfect circles, every time, and while many people have punches, they don't make them large enough to do the size of some of the shapes on the templates. That's another advantage to this tool. One template, one Shapecutter, many sizes, and no need for a ton of punches that take up space.

Templates are available either singly, or in sets.

The templates are easy to keep in a smaller space -- a single magazine rack will hold a LOT of these things, and keep them out of your way. They even have holes so you can put them in a notebook.


Granted, you can't get very intricate shapes out of these with a ton of details -- but hey, that's what our die-cut machines are for anyway, right? However, the selection and size of shapes available make this tool very convenient, both in price and functionality. And there's also the space involved: not much at all.

This is one of the few items that will ever get an A+ from the Pooka.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Product Review: Sizzix

I have the original model, the Personal Die-Cutter, though most of the review applies to all three systems: The Personal, the Sidekick, and the BigKick. However, for anyone that will really be putting their machine to a lot of use, I recommend either the Personal or the BigKick — the Sidekick is a little more awkward to use, wobbles a bit, and won't take the larger dies.

First off, if you have a die-cut machine, and a Xyron, you are next to invincible when it comes to card-making and scrapbooking. No more buying someone else's die-cuts at 3-5 dollars a pop. The only money is in paper (cheap) and dies, which are not so cheap but usable over and over. Embossing dies are also available, greatly expanding your range of embellishments for pages.

It only takes a tiny bit of paper folding to go from a single die-cut to amazing borders and frames. An accordian fold of light-weight paper (this does not work with heavier cardstock), slightly smaller than your die, will create a connected border of the image. A snowflake fold (remember making paper snowflakes? Same fold), also slightly smaller than your die, will create wonderful frames of repeating images.

"But die-cut machines only make single color embellishments!" Actually, no. Every die has little score lines on it, marking places where different colours can be added for both colour, texture, and dimension. Simply cut a variety of paper, carefully cut along the score lines, and you get multi-coloured embellishments with a lot of pop. Holes in a die can have paper placed behind them, or just use the negative space created.

"But I like the dies from other brands, could I use them?" For the most part, YES! I've only tested the Cuttlebug dies so far, but they worked BEAUTIFULLY in my Sizzix. When you add in just those two brands, your range of die-cuts expands exponentially, and both brands have die-cuts, embossing dies, and texture plates. YES, texture plates! Texturize an entire section of paper with a single run through the machine, without spending hours embossing the pattern by hand.

Specific Product Review

I've heard that the Sizzix can be a little rough on weak or arthritic hands. It -can- be a bit difficult, but the key to using the machine is leverage, not hand strength. So long as you have it on a proper table, your body does most of the work for you. Note: The Cuttlebug dies I tried were actually much easier to use in the machine, and took a lot less pressure to make the cuts.

The only thing I dislike (caveat, it's not really a dislike, just a minor aggravation) is that you have to cut your paper down to fit inside the machine. Granted, if you cut the paper just enough to barely fit inside, and you're using the Sizzlits or equivalent size die, you can get multiple cuts from the same piece, just by adjusting how the dies fit.

You do need to practice with it, to learn just how much pressure is required for each individual die (some are a little slower to cut all the way through, but a second pass through the machine in the opposite direction usually fixes that), and the best positioning underneath the pressure plate. Larger dies will require a further push under the plate to get all of the die.

The Converter module is a necessity: it allows you to use the Sizzlits-size dies without use of multiple shims to make the die meet the pressure surface. There are adaptors available to use the Sizzlits, but they're less convenient, the Converter is definitely the way to go, and much steadier. You don't have to adjust the fit of the Converter, like you do the adaptors, and you don't have to readjust every time you slide the die through.

Dies range from the cheap, to the very expensive, though the expensive sets are all alphabets.

-Some of those alphabets are well worth the money, providing not just the letters, but blocks with negative space letters or shadow letters, full numbers, and punctuation. Got kids in school? Great for science fair projects, and other displays.

-Among the dies are 'build your own' paperdolls. You can buy a die with a basic body, dies for hair, dies for accessories, and dies for multiple clothing sets. Perfect to amuse kids, or make custom figures to put in a scrapbook.

-There is a wide assortment of seasonal dies for use in projects, and many remain usable the rest of the year — it's all in how you use them.

-Add in the Cuttlebug dies, and you've got an endless variety of dies for any use you may have.

The cutting pad is removable, not fixed, so you can make a "Sizzix sandwich" and layer your paper, die, and pad, then run it through the machine so that it cuts exactly where you want it to without slipping. When the pad starts to wear out, you can just turn it over and go till that side is too worn. Further paper shims can be used to keep the cutting pad up near the pressure plate, extending the life of the pad and decreasing the number of replacements you need to buy.

I won't say that I specifically recommend the Sizzix above other die-cut machines, though for ease of use, and cost compared to the higher end newer models, it's definitely worth the money if you want to customize your projects and make your own embellishments.

It gets an A from the Pooka.

Easy, full-motion Shaker Boxes

Hate Shaker boxes that just don't, well, shake? Me too. You go through all that effort, and then the goodies inside just don't wiggle around properly.

There's an easy way to fix that.

1 -- Measure your window size, and make a template, a bit smaller than the window size (about 1/4").

2 -- Using cheap craft foam (the thin stuff), trace the template, then mark around that line 1/4" away from it, and cut out that frame from the foam.

3 -- Glue the foam frame to your project, add in your goodies, add the cover, then add the final frame/cover/embellishments to cover the edges of the cover.

There's no sewing, or anything complicated to keep the shaking goodies inside the box. You get a complete seal all the way around, and a bit extra dimension, PLUS the Shaker box really shakes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Movie Review: 300

I didn't see this in the theaters, and now I'm really regretting it.

'300' is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel -- that right there should put everyone that wants to see a 'historical' perspective on notice. You aren't watching a documentary, you're watching a live-action comic book.

And they pull it off beautifully. Literally. The cinematics are absolutely gorgeous, the visuals rich and disturbing. It's absolutely beautiful. Look for the dance of the Oracle near the beginning, and ... just wow. Almost hypnotic. Gorgeous.

I can't say much for the story, because I sort of zoned a bit on paying attention there -- I was that caught up in WATCHING all the pretty. Sometimes being a CGI nerd works against me, but I think drowning in all the pretty was a decent trade-out in losing some of the other things. I could have watched it with the sound off and still enjoyed seeing it, that's how pretty this movie is.

With that said ... I'm not going to call this a spectacular movie. It's a beautiful FILM, but as a movie, not quite as compelling. There's cheese-factor in the script (but again, graphic novel, hello), and Gerard Butler's lovely Scottish accent, while mostly controlled for this, still gives you a few twinge moments because it just doesn't fit. The eye-candy is amazing, both in cinematics, and the cast -- I swear there wasn't a single homely soldier among the 300 (a walking ad for Body Sculpting), which contrasted sharply with the freak-show horrors of Xerxes' army. The plot? Well, it's not like they really had to reach for depth there. 300 men face an endless legion of the enemy for the sake of freedom. End plot.

It's worth watching at least once.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Snarky Ink

/begin snark

Miami Ink is missing from the air ....
.... so that we can watch a show where 50% of the episode is dedicated to Kat talking about her BOOBS?

Where's the great stories about the tattoos, and what is behind them, and seeing the artistry?

"Dancing With Myself". I wonder if Kat even realizes that the song is way too appropriate for a self-centered twit like her? She comes off as so bloody shallow, despite her fluffy "Oh, I love the world!" persona that seriously seems forced. Or how potentially insulting that song can be for her "partners" and employees, all the artists that are REQUIRED to make a tattoo studio work ... to have the owner going on and on about ... herself?

Don't get me wrong -- the artists she has brought into the shop are AMAZING. I'd love to have work done by all of them -- even Kat, if her ego could stay out of the way -- and if I had the money, my butt would be in LA getting Hannah to do the mermaid that I want. A
fter seeing the work from the other three artists they show, I even know the specific pieces I want from each of them -- although Corey would be handed a marker and told to have fun finishing my back. Yep yep yep

... but watching Kat is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

/end snark

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Memory Wire in Crafting

It's not just for jewelry!

Several different companies make memory wire, in varying levels of cost and components. There's even some that's silver-plated, and you can find it in gold and silver tones.

Three different sizes are available: necklace, bracelet, and ring. Unless you have really big fingers, I can't see the ring wire fitting. HOWEVER, it has so many other uses, it's worth picking up a pack.

IMPORTANT: Never cut memory wire with your regular wire cutters for jewelry. Memory wire is tough stuff, and will notch and destroy your wire cutters. Purchase either cutters specific to memory wire, or pick up a heavy duty set at a home improvement center. You can also bend it back and forth to break it, but that can take a while and is a little tough on the hands.

-- Snip ring-sized memory wire about half an inch past a full loop. Bend one end into a tiny loop with round-nosed pliers. Now you can add on beads and charms for scrapbook or card embellishments, even use alphabet beads for mini-journaling.

-- They also make great wine-glass charms, so everyone at a party knows which glass is theirs.

-- You can cut multiple loops, and link them together into a chain to add dimension to scrapbook pages, with each loop capable of holding other embellishments.

-- For pet pages, choose beads and a 'dog tag' charm to mimic your pet's collar. You can even fold a matching ribbon in half, glue it shut, and thread it onto the wire.

-- Using the bracelet or necklace wire, do the ribbon fold and seal, and you have an instant dimensional circular frame for a photo or journaling section.

-- Engagement, wedding, or graduation? Sparkly sparkly beads, and a Swarovski crystal, and you can re-create school and engagement rings to put into your scrapbook.

Be creative!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dog:1 Humans: 0

Had to go to the store to get more stuff for the party this afternoon (teenagers, eeesh, bottomless pits). As I start getting out of the car, my cellphone rings from home.

"Mom, can I give the dog a bath? She's GROUNDED!"

Oh lord. "What did she do this time?"

"Well, there's this hole that she and Nugget (the dog next door) have been digging in, and now she's all muddy after going through the hole into their yard and JUMPING INTO THEIR SWIMMING POOL!"

Yes, my Houdini Corgi got into the yard next door to go swimming.

It took both kids to give her a bath, and EVERYTHING in the house is currently damp and smelling of wet dog.

She's exceptionally proud of herself.


I HAD to call the DH after I got off the phone with the kids to giggle the story to him.

Went to the neighbors once they got home to let them know about the swimming, and the hole in the fence. THEY thought it was funny, and couldn't believe Zoe managed to get through that hole. Stubborn little Houdini girl.

She was less thrilled with me putting her in the car afterward and taking her to the Mobile Vet at the feed store for shots and tags. -I- was thrilled that everything they did only cost me 70 bucks, where it's 100 just to walk in the door of my regular vet, without shots, tests, and meds.