Thursday, October 17, 2013

Martha Stewart, I'm no Expert, but . . .

. . . I am a blogger. And I'm as qualified to be a blogger as you are.

Martha Stewart seems to have gotten blogging and corporate web-presence confused. In an interview on Bloomburg Martha states that she has a minor gripe about bloggers because "who are these bloggers? They're not trained editors of Vogue Magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren't tested, that aren't necessarily very good or are copies of everything that really good editors have created or done. So bloggers create a kind of . . . umm,  umm, popularity. But they are not the experts. And we have to understand that."

Well, that just kinda irritated me. Because, truly, Martha herself is not an expert either! She has a staff that writes her blog posts. She has a staff that markets her products.  And I expect she has a legal staff who negotiates using the MS name on products that have been developed by other people. 

This is just my opinion, but, honestly, the Martha of many many years ago was more personable than the Martha of today. The Martha of today has nothing more in her focus than to expand her corporation as much as she can. 

I think Martha needs to read what a blog is so that she can better understand what a blogger is. A blogger is NOT a trained editor! A blogger is an individual with something to share. And, blogging started with individuals, not with trained editors from corporate giants.

This article on says: "The earliest blogs started in the late 1990s as online diaries. Individuals posted information on a daily basis about their lives and opinions. The daily posts were listed in reverse date order, so readers viewed the most recent post first and scrolled through previous posts. The format provided an ongoing inner monologue from the writer.
As blogs evolved, interactive features were added to create a two-way conversation. Readers took advantage of features that allowed them to leave comments on blog posts or link to posts on other blogs and websites to further the dialogue."

This article on eHow says: "For the most part, blogs have three features that set them apart from other types of websites. A blog's content is usually updated far more frequently than a regular site. Blogs can also be syndicated. You can read a blog through a web browser or through a feed, This means that people can read the posts on a blog without actually visiting the site. Blogs also offer a community feel and conversation."

Now, from what I'm reading blogs didn't start out as mind-numbing drivel put out by trained editors and I don't think blogs should ever evolve to that. And bloggers didn't start out as "trained editors" and I don't think bloggers should back away and disappear into the past and allow trained editors to take over!

To carry my feelings out to the area of blogging I am most interested in I will share with you a blog post from Jenny Rohrs over at Craft Test Dummies. I first saw the video in a Craft Test Dummies facebook post. In the comments of that post I stated:  "I have several MS products and I hate to hear her say this because it WILL influence my future purchases. I won't get rid of everything I have that has her name on it, but I doubt I will add any new MS to my stash.
And, I'm sure she isn't referencing the MS blog with that comment, because, you know, she has professionals hired to write her blog, test her recipes, develop her craft line and basically be the [bogus] crafter she obviously is not. I say that because a true crafter would know the value of the craft world blogosphere!
Personally, I would rather have the blogger input of the everyday crafter with a real life hands on experience than that of the craft lab test associate working in a controlled environment room with access to her entire line of products who never has to overcome lack of product or variables in temperature, humidity etc.. Because, what does that craft lab test associate really know about finding a crafty solution to something that just didn't actually work the way the manufacturer claimed it would? Nothing! Give me real people! (Obviously Martha has now lost what little respect I might have still had for her!)
Personally, I would rather have the blogger input of the everyday crafter with a real life hands on experience than that of the craft lab test associate working in a controlled environment room with access to her entire line of products who never has to overcome lack of product or variables in temperature, humidity etc.. Because, what does that craft lab test associate really know about finding a crafty solution to something that just didn't actually work the way the manufacturer claimed it would? Nothing! Give me real people! (Obviously Martha has now lost what little respect I might have still had for her!)"

Jenny is hosting a Bloggers Link Party, so go over there and add your blog to the link list! 


I am also sharing a blog post from Carolina Moore over at Crafty Hangouts. Carolina is also hosting a link party, but she is looking for video responses. Go to her blog for that one: 
Crafty Hangouts: Martha says, "Bloggers are No Experts":


I hope there is enough internet chatter about this that it will get back to Martha Stewart and hopefully she will reconsider having such disdain for the blogging community and recognize that she actually relies on these untrained non-editor type [craft] bloggers to share their views of her products. I think that for as much as craft bloggers can have a positive influence on other crafters with regard to buying MS products, they too can have a negative impact. And it doesn't necessarily have to be done with what a craft blogger says, but can easily be done with what the craft blogger does not say! Because I can't tell you how many craft products I have purchased because it was mentioned in a craft blog. If these products are not mentioned, no interest is gained. Just sayin'.

Here is a link to the Bloomburg video:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Christmas Cottages

I posted the picture above on Instagram and Stacy, an online friend from Blissfully ArtJournaling (one of my Yahoo groups) was interested in some close up images so I thought I would post it here so she (and anyone else interested) could see them.

I will state upfront – this is not our original idea. Nope, like many crafters we got our inspiration from another crafter. In this case the inspiration came from Gillian’s project on Snazzy’s DT: Design Team Project #2 ... A Christmas Cottage.

As soon as I saw this my first thought was “I want one!” And my second thought was that this would be a fun project for me and my daughter to work on together. 

So off I went in search of house shaped shadow boxes. 

I have no idea about the house shadowbox Gillian used, but I found one I liked that are made by Kaisercraft. 

I sent my daughter an email with links to the inspiration house on Snazzy's blog and to the Kaisercraft shadowboxes I thought we could use. And, as expected, she was just as excited as I was to make one of her own.

So, I  ordered two of the Kaisercraft Beyond The Page MDF House Shadow Boxes from (actually, through their eBay store). Here is the shadowbox on their retail site:,
But you can find them available on many sites, just search for “  Kaisercraft Beyond The Page MDF House Shadow Box

First thing we did was play with different configurations since we knew we didn't want their pre-designed config. For one thing, we knew we wanted to put a Christmas tree in a cubby and none of the cubbies were large enough except the attic, and we didn't want our Christmas tree in the attic. Once we had our configs determined we altered some of the tabbed pieces and used E6000 to glue all the sections in place.

Next up we painted the entire house with a spruce green – I can't really give a reference for the paint since I just used a little of this and a little of that until I achieved a color we liked. Two coats of green. Once dry we added one coat of what we are calling Chicken Coop Cream. We call it this because it is a cream color paint that my daughter & her husband used to paint their chicken coop building. We don't know the actual color name or even the brand of paint, it was cream colored and we needed cream colored so she poured some in a pickle jar and brought it to my craft room. I'm now the proud owner of half a pickle jar of Chicken Coop Cream Colored paint. :D

When the cream paint had dried we scuffed up some edges for that rustic look. The day we wanted to scuff up the paint my DH was out running errands and we had no clue where he might have some fine grain sandpaper, so, not to be delayed we did what any decent crafter would do - we improvised - we scuffed with nail files - the coarse large version nail files. Worked perfect.

June 22, 2013

Next up we started covering some of the walls, floors and ceilings with Christmas themed scrapbook papers. This actually took longer than we expected because of the process in finding complementary papers and pleasing positioning. Fortunately I have tons of Christmas paper as well as one pack of the Teresa Collins Christmas Cottage paper, which was wonderful since we both wanted a lot a variety in our houses.

After we had papered as many surfaces as we liked (we did not paper every surface) we started adding embellishments. Some are Tim Holtz and some are Teresa Collins Christmas Cottage Collection and some are just . . . whatever we find that we like.

We also used Spellbinder dies to cut the red circle around the clock we have in our large cubby (the one my daughter has her Christmas Tree set in) and the red scalloped medallion in the attic of my daughters house. We also ran some gold vellum through the Xyron and attached it to white cardstock before cutting out the gold cross (again, Spellbinders die) that my daughter has in her shadowbox. Oh, and the wreath located in the attic of my house is a Spellbinder die. I cut the wreath from a forest green paper and colored the embossed parts with some Gelly Roll Metallic Gel pens. I then attached the wreath with pop-dots for dimension.
My Christmas Cottage - Aug. 24, 2013

My daughter's Christmas Cottage - Aug. 24, 2013
That’s where we are to date. Now we are looking at dollhouse miniatures to add. My daughter wants a mini violin and we both want some cookies & milk for Santa and some tiny gifts. Hopefully we can find a miniature nativity to add also. No telling what all we will add before we call them done. This has been so much fun so far! LOVE love love crafting with my daughter! :D

This is a slow project for us – we get together maybe once a month for craft day (her life is too full for her to have much more free time than that /: ). But we decided early on that we would work slow and not rush it. We planned for it to be an extended project, so it’s all good.

I will post pictures of the houses again when we get more cute stuff to fill the spaces.

Friday, June 14, 2013

If You Looked . . .

I follow Krista Smith and her Saturated Canary Blog not only because I love her images, but also because I love her heart, the way she sees life and the way she feels about family.

Krista recently blogged "If You Looked...", which I really enjoyed reading. Krista got her inspiration from a blog she follows, The Shine Project (where The Shine Scholarship Project to help at risk kids get to college started). I found it interesting reading both "If You Looked" (well, actually all four since Ashley, who writes The Shine Project blog, actually has written three "If You Looked" blog posts - I'll link all four below).

So, I decided to throw one of my own out here. I hope you enjoy mine and maybe you can link your own in the comments and I can enjoy some more "If You Looked . . . " posts. Anyway, here goes:

If you looked into my home, you would find a house that is obviously well lived in. We keep most mess contained to my den and the kid room. But there are still small spots that say "yes, people live here". You would certainly see carpet in my den and the kid room that have seen better days. Those rooms had new carpet installed at the same time as the master bedroom, but the master bedroom carpet still looks decent. My den and the kid room both make me cringe sometimes. And, honestly, if it weren't such a chore to have it done I'd have all the carpet pulled and the hardwood underneath refinished (I have wished dozens of times that we had done all rooms when we had the living room, dining room and hall done. Hind sight is 20/20). And, you would probably see dust bunnies in my hall because it seems as if they reproduce like the real bunnies are reported to do. I can pick them all up with my handy-dandy Swiffer SweeperVac every single day and by bedtime there are small bunnies already gathering. Oh, and they grow fast too! The next day those babies will be full grown. And if by chance I don't get to them then by the next day they are fat little rabbits that border on obese!

If you looked into my den, you would see a bedroom converted to den that is way too small for all the stuff it holds. In an 11X12 foot room I have managed to squeeze a full size entertainment center (stuffed to the gills and then some - with arts & craft supplies lined up in front of whatever belongs there (i.e. encyclopedias etc.), a three drawer chest, a computer armoire, my computer chair (the Manager size chair - not some small office worker size. No, had to be big because I needed it tall enough to lean my head back & rest my neck. My neck gets very tired very quickly - never fully recovered from two disk surgeries), three bookcases and a file cabinet. And we're not talking three bookcases the width of tower bookcases, no, these are significant (one is 3.5 foot wide and the other two are 3 foot wide each). And, as if that was not enough stuff to fill this room, I have added a 2X4 foot folding table that sits in front of the entertainment center and there is where I sit to do a lot of my artsy-crafty stuff. And, speaking of stuff - tons of stuff. It is hard to find free space in my den. I have put plenty of Art-Bin plastic storage to use holding art supplies that transport easily so that when I babysit my 3-year old great-grandson I can quickly clear the stuff out so his busy hands don't discover inks, paints and markers galore.

If you looked into my gmail, you would find, well, not as much as you would find in my ISP mail since the gmail is for forums and sites that I prefer to keep tabs on what come in. I initially set it up because I needed to be involved in a Yahoo group related to my former job but for some reason I was hesitant to use my ISP email address to set that up so I set up gmail. Once I retired I found other Yahoo groups to join and since I already had the account established it just made adding them easier.  And then I found it handy for other forums and such. So, since I'm not really involved in hundreds of forums, well, there really isn't all that much in my gmail.

If you looked into my cell phone, you would find 116 contacts - several are for the same people because I prefer to list peoples home, cell and work individually. I give the contacts names like: Barbara @ Home; Barbara @ Work and Barbara @ Cell. So Barbara takes up three of my 116. You would also find a couple dozen text messages - most between me and my oldest granddaughter with texts between me and my oldest grandson running in second place. I really don't text much with other people. What you won't find are pictures. I had to get a new cell phone a couple of months ago and I just have not put the SD mini card in to pull my pictures back in - and I haven’t taken any new ones since. 

If you looked into my head, you would find thousands of thoughts that all run together and step on each other. You would find the small compartments of some bad emotions that I try to keep locked for personal sanity and the compartments of good emotions that I try to keep open so they can spill out freely. You would certainly find the keys to what makes me who I am because a lot of what has formed me did not deserve a place in my heart.

If you looked into my bedroom, you would find the previously mentioned carpet that I wish I could get rid of. You would find a couple of old train lanterns that don't really go with the decor but made their way to the bedroom because hubbies den ran out of room and he loved them too much to put them in storage. You would find my stack of pillows because I simply cannot sleep with just one pillow. I have three. I need one under my head, one between my knees (best way I have found to fend off back pain in the mornings) and a third pillow for hugging - not because I don't have someone there to hug, well, maybe I don't have someone there to hug since he now sleeps with a C-Pap mask on and it's hard to hug around the hose and such, but that's neither here nor there. No, I need the third pillow for hugging to stave off shoulder pain in the mornings. Getting old sucks.

If you looked out my window this morning, you would see a beautiful summer day with nice green trees that have a slight breeze blowing through them. Of course, its midafternoon, but I will still call it a "beautiful" summer day because I'm inside with an air conditioner running - but it is scorching hot out here now.

Well, that's it for my first entry of "If You Looked . . . " I pulled several prompts from Krista and Ashley's blogs, but I will save the rest for subsequent posts. For one I need to get off the computer for a while and for another, well, nobody wants to read long drawn out blog post and this one has already run way too long. 

Cya later! :D

Friday, February 1, 2013

You're Never Too Old for Coloring Books!

True story. But yeah, the big problem with typical coloring books is they are made from paper that is generally best colored on with crayons. Not my medium of choice. :(

Ah, but no need for the sad face! Nope, no need at all! I am making my own coloring book! And I am making it with digi-stamps printed on my favorite paper for coloring with, my preferred medium, Copic Markers (X-Press It Paper).

This image is going to be part of my coloring book cover. Her name is Ani. She is currently available in Krista's shop: Ani, but if you like her and want to own your own copy than I recommend going on over there to buy her because shop stock is dynamic and she may not be there later.

Ani, colored with Copic markers
I haven't decided on the complete cover yet, but I went ahead and colored my girl so I could enter her in the color challenge (Challenge #36) over on Krista Smith's challenge blog: Saturated Canary Challenge Blog.

I had her printed and had stared at her for the better part of last week just trying to decide what colors would work. After a lot of back & forth I thought maybe the best plan would be to go to Michael's and see if I could find some scrapbook paper with a beachy theme and pull the colors from that. But then last night I stopped by Krista's blog to see what was going on and the color challenge jumped off the screen and hollered "We are the colors for your Hula Girl! We would be PERFECT! Use us!" And I whispered back (because, while the colors hollered at me, hubby could not hear them so it just wouldn't do for me to holler back, so yeah, I whispered) "Yes, yes, you are perfect!" (Oh, and I'm not crazy for having conversations with inanimate objects - or at least the voices in my head say I'm not - LOL.)

Anyway, I started out thinking I would do just a color book of Krista's super cute images, but I am waffling between that and a book of a mix from the tons of digi's I own. And I do have a ton . . . and, to be honest, they really are all cute. I mean, they have to be really cute or I wouldn't have bought them! Right?!?

Well, now off to concur the next challenge - not someones blog challenge, nope, this challenge is to try to match paper to the colored image and find the embellishments that will work with a color book that will need to lay open flat for coloring in. Shouldn't really be too hard because if all else fails I will just color white paper to suit me. :D