01 April 2010

Please come join me at the new paperbatty blog

The moon across the street this morning.

I wanted to consolidate my identity on the web, so I've become paperbatty everywhere. That meant a new blog. I've moved some of my old stories over there, and I'll leave this blog in case I want to link to something here.

I'd like to see your faces over on paperbatty. Come on over and follow me. As I was just saying over there, when I look at that little block of avatars I imagine that you are sitting in dusty red velvet fold-down seats talking quietly among yourselves and waiting for my show to start.

01 February 2010

Crafty Monday

I want to show you a card I made for my Twitter friend Dreena's color (or colour, as she writes it) challenge called Curry Chicken. Go over to Prairie Papercrafts and Stamps if you'd like to read Dreena's challenge post.

All she really asks is that designers use Real Red, Night of Navy, Crushed Curry, and Whisper White. These vibrant colors from Stampin' Up! are some of my favorites, although it's asking a lot of me to require four colors. I like two colors and maybe a teeny bit of a third accent color. So, I decided to stretch myself. That's always good.

I kept with Dreena's nautical suggestion--at least in spirit--and gave it my own Victorian turn, as always.

This is the first challenge in which I've participated. I used MyDigitalStudio to design this card. I've just begun to be able to do a lot of the things I wanted the software to do. I like using it to make a collage of images and paper patterns. Click on the image above to see a much larger version.

You can see that the image needs some glitter. That's something My Digital Studio needs badly. I will definitely glitter the cards I print.

One more thing. It's Lisa's birthday and she's giving stuff away on her blog, Papergrace Designs. You might want to check it out, if you like papercrafts. And you probably wouldn't put up with me if you didn't.

Happy birthday, Lisa, one of the sweetest chicks on Twitter.

28 January 2010

Valentine smart-ass

I have a million Valentine stories.

I believe what Mama used to tell me: If you get too big for your britches, someone will take you down a notch or two. Yes, she really talks like that. Usually what takes me down a notch is Fate or karma or the Force or the universe at large.

When I was in sixth grade, I was a smart-ass, but hardly anyone at school knew that, because I didn't talk that much. Ever since my parents had lied me all the way from Honolulu to the god-forsaken frozen prairie of Illinois two years before, I had drawn my mouth up into a tiny anus and refused to cooperate. I scowled in silence. I demanded mangoes and fresh pineapple and sugar cane. I didn't get what I wanted. People I didn't even know felt free to tell me how cute I would be if I would smile.

Make me, I'd think to myself.

What gave me a great deal of pleasure at that time was to be better than any of my classmates. I could draw and write, and I loved to hear how wonderful it was so I could blow off the compliments with my snotty eyebrows. I was wearing a cloak of meanness, and it was a good thing because that place was freezing.

So...sixth grade, and Valentine's Day was approaching. Mrs. Guthridge told us that we would have a contest. Each student would bring a box to decorate, as our Valentine mailbox. We would vote on the winning design. I knew then that I was going to win.

Most kids brought a shoe box, so I was ahead already. I had a shirt box, with a large surface for decorating. I was going 3-dimensional. This thing was elaborate. I covered it with little lace-doily umbrellas with bendy-straw handles and red and pink hearts, and plenty of glitter. It was beautiful. I sat in my sullen bubble and waited for the votes to be counted. I was the winner. Of course.

I acted like it didn't mean a thing to me, but I felt good inside my bubble of superiority. I might have to put up with these dumb farm kids referring to my birthplace as HY-why-ya and asking me if that was why I had slanty eyes, but I enjoyed my hateful thoughts.

The day of the Valentine's party, we took our boxes full of candy and bad puns and cheap little envelopes home with us. I had to walk six blocks, and the wind was sharp. The kids with the shoe box mailboxes just tucked them under their arms and went on their ways. My shirt box caught the wind and escaped like a kite. The whole box flew up into the air, sailed right into Mr. Gordon's tree, and burst open. My Valentines flew away like birds.

Goes to show you.

27 January 2010

Valentine thoughts

I love Valentines.

Because we lived so far away, I don't remember meeting my grandma until I was four years old, and that only briefly. Most of my younger years, Grandma was photos, letters, and cards. Cards! With glitter and foil and dry embossing and movable parts. The Valentines were especially appealing, with their hearts and lace and sweet sentiments.

So here's my first Valentine of the year. The little pocket on the front holds a tag for a special message. The pocket can also hold a gift card, tea bag, chocolate square, or love note. My favorite part is the inside tag with the x and o.

I can't tell you what sort of paper I used. I bought a stack about a foot tall at a rummage sale, and I've been trying to use it up ever since.

I stamped lightly with tea-colored Ranger Distress Ink, and used the same color to antique the edges of the paper pieces. I crumpled up a piece of pink card stock and smoothed it with a bone folder, and then repeated it numerous times until I liked the soft texture of the paper. I drew a tag and cut it out, backed it with pinkish card stock and tied a little raffia through a paper heart and a tiny button. I used some mulberry paper that Crooked Stamper sent to me. And glitter, of course.

See anything strange about my photos? I am stressed by the fact that I can't seem to take a decent photo for anything. Really. No matter how many experts give me advice. I don't understand it. But I'm not going to let that hold me back. These images are scanned. I know they aren't good, but I'm just going to call it my style for now.

I hope these scans don't kill my mentor Lydia.

05 January 2010

Dance like #612 Moe - Chihuahua

I love dogs, but I had no intention of adopting another one anytime soon--until someone sent me an email link to a little Chihuahua named Moe, who was living out at the Anderson County animal shelter, where they do euthanize dogs when they are overcrowded.

In the ad on Petfinder, he looked so sad and pitiful. The shelter was offering a bargain on adoption fees in hopes of enticing people to rescue animals before the holidays. I kept checking back to see if someone had adopted him, but there Moe sat.

Finally I decided I had to go see him. Perhaps there would be a reason we weren't right for each other. He'd be too grouchy or ugly or mean. He'd make it plain that he didn't want to live with me. It would be obvious that he would never fit into our furry little family. If we didn't like each other, then I would wish him the best and stop thinking about him.

Nope. He was a teeny little big-headed imp who weighed less than four pounds but didn't seem to notice. I just loved his attitude. And he loved me as soon as I understood that his business was to dance and mine was to feed him dry cereal for his trouble.

He sleeps curled up on my shoulder with his head in the hollow of my neck. He makes little baby noises when I cuddle him. He bites me whenever he wants to express his displeasure. We're working on that, but after all he is a Chihuahua.

He dances so joyously. First he throws his arms up over his head, then he spins on his back legs so fast that I'm not yet sure how he does it. He throws himself into it, turns 360 degrees, stops on a dime for Rice Chex or a pretzel. If I don't have something edible to offer, he spins again. And again.

He makes me laugh. A smile is worth a million bucks some days.

He makes me think, too. Makes me tell myself, I should dance joyously again sometime.

P.S. After a day at our house being called "the little guy," #612 Moe revealed that his secret dog name is Bob Bobby Boblet Bobert.

02 January 2010

The Twilight Zone

I don't stay up to watch the ball drop anymore on new years eve. 

Instead I watch hour after hour of The Twilight Zone on Syfy, supplemented by Wikipedia's list of episodes. The program, first broadcast during my formative years, helped me answer the age old questions for myself and became a part of my world philosophy (and also scared me so badly I'd lie in bed and ponder the mysteries long after the light was switched out). I swear that I still make decisions based on lessons I learned from Rod Serling.

In the twilight zone, life is fair. Steal, and you will never live to enjoy what you've taken. Lie, and the lie will come true in a way that will force you to lie in the bed you made. Lose your faith and find yourself tested and found wanting. Maintain a childlike sense of wonder and the universe will protect you from yourself. Offend nature and be quickly reminded of the fact that you are a mere mortal animal. Refuse to understand another's perspective and find yourself in a similar position when next you wake.

Too bad that real life is not more like The Twilight Zone, where the good are rewarded and the bad are punished in ironic ways.

P.S. My favorite episode is the one in which Old Man Simpson is saved from the fires of hell by his love for his old woman Rachel and his coon hound Rip.

01 January 2010

A new start

Happy new year.

I'm back. We'll no doubt talk about that later. I may start slowly, but I'll endeavor to persevere.

Resolutions? I have a few.

1. Learn something every day. This one isn't difficult at all; I include it so I guarantee myself some success.

2. Blog regularly. Who is to say what "regularly" means? I am going to try for several times a week at least.

3. Become more fit.

4. Organize this whole house. (I've been working on it for two years. I can almost find everything now.)

Okay. Stick with me. I'll get warmed up and then we will see where we end up.

I'll keep you posted.

P.S. Rose, thank you for all your encouragement.