Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Shopping

It's that time of year when everyone expects you to get them stuff, so it's time for another shopping post by me. Last year's posst continue to get the most hits out of anything I write. Not all that surprising.

I'll start off by plugging the Etsy shop of my friend Crystal aka indiglow84.

Crystal makes her own felted beads, the necklace and earring set pictured also feature some nice antique beads. I also especially like this necklace with green felted beads with tiny sea shells, but of course the butterfly necklace is lovely too, so I'd really recommend any of them.

Of course if you like the felted style there is plenty out there for the clinically insane...

I've not linked to them because the likelihood of anyone wanting to purchase them...

She's not selling them on Etsy right now, but Crystal also makes some cute magnets. I can only assume that she'll be selling them at the craft fair (December 6th!).

Pretend for a second that felt is the theme for this post, because I think that these felt trivets I saw on delight.com are awesome. They come as a set of four (in one color).

I'm also a fan of the Bow Lovely Wristlet Clutch from Fred Flare. I'm always a fan of wrislets because my friends seem to boycott purses. Since my purse is huge I end up holding their keys, ids & whatnot. If only they owned one of these (or any) wristlets they could carry it all themselves without feeling so weighed down! I love all things Hello Kitty and so do both of my sisters, so I consider these vinyl Hello Kitties from Urban Outfitters would make an adorable addition to any gift. And at $8 each - so affordable! My one complaint is that you can't choose which one you get, which almost ensures that I will get the one that is least adorable.

Still obsessed with trees, so I think this 100% post consumer recycled material journal with unlined paper - is amazing. The cover's made out of cherry wood!

Continuing the tree obsession - this Little Birch Jewelry Stand (also from Urban Outfitters) is all natural looking (except not, because it's metal).


Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've had a bad week. In four days I've been in two car wrecks.

The first one was decidedly not my fault. The second was a slide off.

Most of the backroads were ok, so I decided to go the short way. I don't know what I was thinking. I shouldn't have risked it in any case. But I did. And I was fine...until I wasn't.

That last road was a sheet of ice and I was only going about 20 mph, but all of a sudden I was also going through a barbed wire fence. Normally when things like that happen you see it in slow-mo. Like the in the movies. This time all I remember is that one second I was on the road in complete control of the truck and the next I was plowing through a fence. There's no in between. It happened that fast.

It's always a weird feeling to me when disaster hits. Because it feels as if my world should be ending. I should be miserable. I should be hysterical. But I'm usually, almost always, quite calm.

I had to work myself up to cry, because I knew I should cry. Because I knew it was awful.

The Amish guy, whose fence was bobbing around in the air, was really nice about the whole thing. Really nice. Like, unfathomably. I just want you to understand how nice he was. There was nothing strained about it. He wasn't angry. The niceness wasn't out of obligation. It wasn't strained. And when he told me not to worry about replacing it, he meant it. It was weird, kids, but oh-so welcome.

I called the office and told them what had happened. It was so completely surreal. People do not have lives like this. Not unless they're me.

One of my co-workers sent her husband out to check out me. He let me know that I should call the cops, since there was property damage. Then my boss came out and sat with me while I waited for police and the actual dismay over what had happened sunk in.

It was a pretty depressing day. I'm not normally sad a lot. I know I don't strike people as being uber happy, but normally I am happy. The lack of happy was almost as bad as anything else that happened. I was so worn out by it that I went to bed around 8 pm and slept for 12 hours!

Today was much better. For some reason walking around in the hidious cold for a couple hours today felt really good and the movie Twilight was not nearly as awful as I thought it would be. I...actually enjoyed it.

I hate what happened, it makes me feel like a terrible person. I hate the amount of money involved and I hate that I broke something. But I can't change it now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Night Time Snow

My latest card design. At first I didn't think I was going to like this one as well, but now I think it might be my favorite of the three.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today was sort of non-descript. I designed ads, I fixed photos.

Then I left work and slammed into an old lady running a light.

At first I thought that she just drove off, but it turns out that she slammed into a barbed wire fence. Another lady and two cars of teenagers pulled over to see if I was ok. They'd all seen the lady pull out in front of me and been afraid they were going to hit too. They all agreed to stay and tell the police what they'd seen and they were good company while we waited for the police to arrive.

The policeman was very nice, but he wouldn't let me drive my car away. Might have been something to do with the panel hanging off of it. I'm really hoping it isn't totaled, but I won't know that for a day or two.

My arm hurts, but I think it's just jarred a bit. We'll see how well I feel tommorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sad Day

I've been lusting after the Nikon D40 ever since I heard it was coming on the market. I had decided to buy one on Black Friday if I could find a good price. I was browsing online to see what a D40 would go for right now and I came across one that cost $333 on broadwayphoto.com.
I saw good reviews for them on another site so I decided to go for it. I bought a warranty for another $60 and received a confirmation e-mail.

The next afternoon I was woken up from a much needed nap by one of their sales reps confirming my order. He confirmed my address and then tried to tell me that the battery that comes with the Nikon D40 only lasts for 10 minutes. I would need to buy a 1 hour battery for $59 or a 4 hour battery for $89.

Kids, what battery costs $89? Why would Nikon make such a battery? Even being only semi-conscious, this seemed outrageous. I told the fellow so and he insisted that if I found a lower price they would match it and that he could put my order on hold for me until I was sure I wanted to order.

I browsed online and found many replacement batteries for the Nikon to be as low as $13.99, but the clincher for me was when I asked on a Nikon D40/D60 Flickr Group and I got 25 variations on this reply,
"[Broadway Photo is] a scam. The D40 battery is the best in all the camera lines. You can get a D40 battery for cheap on ebay.

Their scam is well reknown, offer a camera cheap, then require a confirmation call. That is where they either say the camera comes without battery and charger, or hard sell you into expensive add ons that you don't want or need. If you refuse to buy, then your camera is put on back order forever. If you cancel they charge you a "restock fee"."

They also pointed me to resellerratings where I discovered that 9 out of 10 people had terrible experiences with Broadway Photo and at least one person had their credit card number used fraudulently soon after their order was placed.

A few people got camera's in good condition after being firm with the salesperson. But most people who went through with their order from Broadway Photo got immitations or their camera was "back ordered" (one person called in pretending to be someone else and discovered that they had 36 of that camera in stock!).

After my innitial findings of cheap, long lasting batteries for the Nikon D40, around every corner - I called Broadway Photo. I hung up after being on hold for about two millenia (or ten minutes, but still kids).

Then I e-mailed Broadway Photo and let them know that I was not impressed with their company and was considering canceling my order. That $333 was just soooo tempting though that I idn't want to cancel just yet (I did not mention that, I told them I could get it almost as cheap elsewhere...and I can, just they're probably a scam too).

But after seeing resellerratings.com and hearing from my new Flickr friends I knew I had to give up on the wildly cheap price and resign myself to paying whatever moderately cheap price comes along on Black Friday.

I called a few minutes ago and told the Broadway Rep I wanted to cancel my order.
"Ok!" he yelled cheerfully over the insane amount of noise in the background, "Would you mind telling me why you want to cancel?"

I explained the discrepencey between their battery prices and every one else's battery prices.

The smug Indian (supposedly this company exists in New York, but I heard no evidence of this) wanted to know where I had gotten my information. He thought he had me, I could hear in his voice that he thought I didn't know anything about anything (after all, if I did why would I be buying from them?). I told him I talked to other Nikon D40 users and that they said the battery that came with their D40 lasted for hours and hours. They didn't have to buy theirs seperately and when they did it didn't cost any old $59 either!

"Hahaha," he cackled, "But they paid $499 for theirs didn't they! Even with the battery you'll save $70!"

"But the batteries don't cost that much. I checked. I can buy the same thing for $20."

I couldn't understand the next bit, so finally I just interuppted and said, "Sir, I know it is a scam. You're trying to sell me some cheap piece of crap. I want to cancel my order."

Then he was an angry Indian. He told me that they weren't a scam and that I needed to check all my facts before I started accussing anyone of anything. I was about to reply that he needed to improve his customer service, but he snapped, "Your order is canceled. Goodbye!" You'll just have to imagine the tone. It wasn't friendly.

So, now I'm feeling a little depressed. I thought I could buy a camera and buy some boots to comabt the snow in, but now it seems I will have to choose...and I know boots should win, but kids I SO want that camera.

My new Flickr friends suggested I buy my camera from B&H, Adorama, or Amazon - but those would be refurbished. On reseller ratings www.beachcamera.com got mostly good reviews and they're selling for $419 brandnew, plus they'll throw in a free 4 gig card. Maybe I'll buy from them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holdays are delicious

Actually, I'm not all that big a fan of gingerbread. I like my sweets sweet. But, while I'm more of a sugar cookie girl, I like the idea of gingerbread.

I think I usually draw my people by themselves lately. It used to be I drew a lot of people together. One of my favorite things to draw was a whole crowd of people at a fair or the mall or skating rink. But lately they've been on their own. It's sort of understood that the person they're smiling at is just off the page, but even so...maybe I'll try putting a bunch of people together in my next card piece. Family togetherness and all that.

I'm going to try and print at least these two designs this next week. I'll be selling stuff at a little holiday craft fair on December 6 (get in touch if you want details, there should be a lot of good vendors) and hopefully getting up on etsy.com in the next week or so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good morning, to you

Yesterday I was in such a pathetic mood. I just didn't care at all about my work. I think I was just too tired to care. I was trying to get through my day without an energy drink, which I did, but it was not a good day to give that a go. So this morning I've had two full nights of sleep in a row and I had an energy drink and thankfully I'm actually excited about designing ads today. Good thing too because we're doing a special section for a local sale and the ads are all full color and different sizes than we normally do so they're pretty much adorable and it would just be such a shame to be apathetoc about that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter Wonder Girl

I'm designing my own Christmas cards. This is number one. I know it has nothing to do with Christmas actually...but honestly I can't do justice to angels or the nativity scene and the idea of drawing a bunch of children around a Christmas tree is a little nauseating, though maybe I'll give it a go one of these days.

Ironically, I love presents and happen to think that the nativity would be the main point of Christmas, but I hate snow. Still, the snow is pretty and while I'm not so puritanical that I believe religious imagery to be putting up idols I'm not sure that I care for the idea of a cartoon Jesus. So snow it is. Besides, when you have snow you can have cute coats and hats and gloves! And this way if I miss Christmas (as I am all too likely to do) they can just be nice wintery cards. Wintery cards are good too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DuVal St.

My however many greats uncle was Daniel DuVal. He was the first governor of Florida. Hence DuVal County at the top of Florida and DuVal St. at the bottom (in Key West).

I'm sitting in the Bad Ass Coffee shop on DuVal St. enjoying the palm trees and the pleasant weather. I'm moving down here some day kids. Maybe not to Key West, but to Florida.

I love the architecture & the plant life it makes me homesick for plaes I've never lived. I don't remember my family's homes in Cocoa or Melbourne. I remember the beach and my absolute fear of the waves. I remember cutting my foot on shards of broken pottery, burning my hands on our electric stove, and my terror of the Pirates of the Carribean ride in Disney world.

My happy memories of Florida come later on our two week vacations to visit Indialantic (The Blueberry Muffin has the absolute best breakfast of anywhere), Melbourne (good antiquing if you know where to go), and Miami (scary, scary, scary - we were never allowed outdoors alone!).

It's nice to have this break. It may be warm in Indiana, but this is bliss.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Musical Motels

I'm sitting in a hotel room finishing up the movie "Titanic" - probably not appropriate viewing the night before you're supposed to be boarding a large boat. On the other hand, I somehow doubt we'll encounter many ice-burgs in the Caribbean.

Robin and I are spending tonight in Miami and tomorrow we board our cruise. We are not at Ocean Surf, the hotel we had reservations at. We are almost positive that hotels.com told us there would be a shuttle from the airport to the Ocean Surf hotel. As a point of fact - there is no shuttle. Not to that hotel.

Instead we hopped a shuttle to a surprisingly nice Days Inn. I was sad at first because I couldn't see my relatives in Miami, but as my aunt was stuck in an early voting line all day I suppose I wouldn't have seen her anyhow. My mother also informed me that she read an online review of the Ocean Surf hotel which proclaimed it to be like sleeping in a dorm room with rough sheets, a hair on every pillow and surly staff.

So maybe it's all for the best.

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