Monday, January 29, 2007

CHA report

I spent a day at the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) show walking the floor. That means I didn't have to work at the company booth and instead spent my time checking out all the new products.

Perhaps seeing all the sneak peaks at LifetimeMoments jaded me (note: I think LM has the best sneak peaks on the net). Or maybe I didn't really enjoy myself because exhibitors get treated like crap since we don't buy anything. I'm upfront with who/what I am. I'm an avid scrapbooker who happens to be working for an exhibitor. Or it could be I've been to too many tradeshows. After all, I was just at Memory Trends a couple months ago.

In any case, there weren't many sneak peaks that made me seek out the manufacturers' booths. I'm sure I have a different perspective since I'm not a buyer for a store. The show was about 3/4 scrapbooking and 1/4 other crafts. There was hardly any woodworking or metal crafts and very little fabric or yarn. Quite a change from three years ago.

I didn't notice as much bling as at Memory Trends. There were lots of bird themes, swirls, and border prints. I hate border prints. The paper isn't as versatile; I think of them as "moments" paper. I'm not a moments scrapper. Swirls/flourishes are still big. You can get them in stamps, chipboard, the aforementioned border prints, and even new dies for the QuicKutz Revolution.

Clear stamps are still big or should I say bigger than ever. I'm not really a stamper, though you would think I am with all the supplies I have. There are even more cute journaling stamps available. But, I think they encourage notes, rather than stories, so I have mixed feelings about them.

More boy stuff and not cutesy little boy stuff. Good for all my friends with sons and me with my nephews.

Bazzill has a new Smoothies line of cardstock. It is thinner than their usual stuff. I feel like they're going full circle. I remember when the majority of their line was smooth. Me, I don't need the texture. But everyone else seems to like it. Actually, in an ideal world, I'd like every Bazzill color to be available in textured and smooth CS. And I'd like the textured CS to be textured the same on both sides.

There were even more die cutting machines. ProvoCraft has a 12-inch wide machine and QuicKutz has something that is rumored to be an OEM version of the CraftRobo. I think they'll do well because QK has a good reputation in the industry so people who were hesitant to buy a cutter before will buy one because of the name.

There was one item that really excited me, but I don't know if any stores I know will carry it. It was a little machine that punched squares for wire binding. It was perfect for making your own mini books ala 7 gypsies. You can see it at Bind-it-All. If you find someone who's selling this, let me know.

(edited 2/4) I forgot to add the other item that I wanted. I walked over to the OTT light booth to give them a suggestion: I've spent the past year looking for a portable battery operated task light with no luck. It turns out, they are releasing a battery operated model in April. Woo hoo! It is definitely going on my shopping list.

I saw one celeb, Heidi Swapp, but that's it. I heard there were a lot more on other show days.

I did a couple of make and takes. They were just okay. The really good ones all had huge lines and I didn't want to waste time in line.

Glad I had a chance to walk the floor. Wish I could have walked it with friends rather than by myself. After all, isn't scrapbooking a social activity?

Never ask a woman this question

I was at a luncheon with my cousins and friends of my cousins. My cousin is pregnant and brought her 4D ultrasound to share (just taken that morning). I'm curious, but not fascinated by the whole baby growth process. I always imagine it as an alien growing inside you. Maybe that's why I'm not a mom, lol.

On the other hand, I love babies. Love, love, love babies. I don't mind the crying, the pooping, the spitting when I'm babysitting. I love holding babies. I don't have one of my own so I'm always thrilled when someone offers me their baby to hold.

I'm not sure which side of me this person saw, but as we were admiring the ultrasound photos, she asked me, "Do you have kids?" I can handle that. But when I answer no, just move on. Don't ask, "Do you want kids?" That is an extremely personal question. It is none of your d*mn business why I don't have kids. Whether I answered yes or no, I was sure more uncomfortable questions would follow. So I told her the truth. It just never happened. And I guess she saw my pain since she shut up.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thirty-one and done

Between the last post and last night, I designed and made 31 baby shower invitations. Not bad eh? And you thought I didn't scrap, lol. Cardmaking counts doesn't it?

I only have myself to blame since I did volunteer. Wednesday, I designed the card in my head and spent some time on the computer laying out the text. Thursday, I went to the scrapbook store after work and bought paper. I printed out the directions and most of the cards and put together about half of them. It was fun to finally get so much use out of my Xyron Cheetah. Friday morning, I stopped by a local wholesaler and bought a spool of white grograin ribbon (if you need any, just let me know. I bought 100 yards, lol). Friday evening I had to buy more paper (more on that later). I finished making the rest of the cards, ahead of schedule, woo hoo! Today, I delivered the cards to the hostess and I'm done with the shower. I think I've contributed enough.

From what I hear, the hostess is an organized person at work, but that wasn't obvious during this process. I had several questions, none of which were answered in a timely fashion (you ask to help on Tuesday and you want to mail the cards on Saturday?). You don't tell me how many invitations you want for sure until Thursday night, after I've purchased the supplies (hence the Friday night trip to the LSS). The original estimate was 25 or 26, at most 28 including souvenirs for the honoree and hostess. So I bought enough supplies for 30, thinking that two over would be adequate. It just killed me when told me she needed 31. Of course, I could have used different paper, but of course, I wanted them all to be the same.

All in all, I think the cards are pretty cute. I had a few moments of panic when I looked at the papers at home and the colors clashed instead of matching like they did in the store. I got over it pretty quickly since I didn't have time to buy more paper. I know that colors change in different lights so I hope everyone looks at their cards under fluorescent lights, lol.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

That was an odd phone call

I just got a call from a friend (T) of my cousin. I only met her once so it took me a bit to remember who she was. T said that my cousin asked her to call me to make sure I was included in her (my cousin's) baby shower planning. But then T said that she pretty much had everything planned so I was wondering what I needed to do. Plus most of the guests would be coworkers and friends so I was really wondering why I should be involved (I only know two of her friends). Still, I graciously offered my help and asked what I could do to help. Nothing. Okay, so why the call? Then I asked when it was going to be and that cinched it. I'm going out of town that weekend. So then T was going to change the shower date. Whaaaattttt? T said that my cousin really wanted make sure I wasn't left out. I didn't think we were that close. Plus I'm not the kind of person who expects others to change their schedule for me. I hope that I don't give that impression.

Now I'm wondering should I have offered to help pay? Was that why T called? What could I really have contributed? Do I worry too much? (You don't need to anwer that last question.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hay, hay!

I'm now the proud owner of a bale of hay. Why you ask? For Rascal of course! We got tired of going to the feed store every month to replenish his hay supply so I talked A into buying a bale. It is a much better value than buying the shopping bag sized bags of hay, which costs $5.99. The bale was $25. I'd guesstimate that the bale equals at least 10 of the smaller bags. If the hay goes bad before Rascal eats it all, I can always use it for compost or mulch.

So far, I've found two people to share the bale with. If you have any need for Timothy hay, you know where to find me.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Coupons are our friends

I've been trying to save more and am trying a couple of coupon things (hey, I'm tired and can't think of a better word, lol). I've always been a coupon clipper, but am trying to take it to the next level. I joined the Grocery Game to get her weekly lists of lowest prices. It took a while to get used to it, but once I did, I found that I did save a little more than I did on my own. On the other hand, it look more time than clipping and checking ads on my own. My subscription renewal comes up this week, which is good timing. I won't have time to do much grocery shopping these next few weeks so I'll just go back to my usual shopping ways. I may join again soon. Frozen food month is coming up and though I save lots during this time, it will be interesting to see what she says.

The other thing I've done is to get coupons online. There are several services online that offer all the coupons from the Sunday paper. For items that I purchase often, I think the service is worth it. My problem is, sometimes you have to purchase a minimum of five coupons and I only need one or two. Good thing I have lots of people to send coupons to.

Of course, I have to share my best coupon savings story. A store had vitamins BOGO (Buy One Get One free). Their regular price of $28.99 was $9 higher than the usual sale price at the grocery store, but BOGO made it a good deal. Plus I had two $5 coupons and they let me use both. Plus I had a grand opening coupon for $10 off a $25 purchase. So a $57.98 purchase came out to $8.99. I'd say that was worth the special trip I made to the store.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I need to get organized

I've got scrapbook stuff scattered all over the house. It is so embarrassing (to me). But even worse, I waste so much time looking for things. It hasn't gotten so bad that I buy duplicate items, but right now, I can't find some things that I know I have. And since I know I have them, I can't bring myself to buy more.

I did get my act together enough to scrapbook with a couple of friends. One woman graciously offered her home, which in many ways is better than cropping at a store. There weren't any distractions like shopping, lol. Nor are there any time constraints like store closing times, not that any stores have cropping time on Sunday nights. Two cards and one layout...I think that's a record for me!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Just how old do you think I am???

As you know, I never discuss my age. This is something that started, oh, maybe ten or more years ago. I think it had something to do with not meeting life's expectations, where I was in life, the ticking baby clock, wishing I was in a different place in my life. Now it is a habit and I don't feel like breaking it.

Lately, I've been slipping a bit and I'm pretty sure that some of my coworkers and friends have guessed my age range, if not my true age, not that I would ever confirm it. Really, it isn't that difficult to guess. I don't hide that getting a color TV was a big deal to the family or that I watched certain sitcoms when they first aired instead of on Nick at Night. I've got enough years of work experience that if you add that up with college, you'd at least get in the age range.

So why am I bring this up now? A (not so) funny incident over the holiday break plus a skin care discussion over on LM. Several people are discussing the merits of Arbonne, a skin care line sold through direct sales. I know several people who "sell" it so I'm debating whether or not to try it. We all want to look younger right? Especially after what happened when I was visiting my dad.

We were at the assisted living facility he's at and one thing that's important to do is to say hello to everyone. You know, brag that your family has come for a visit. So as we're coming and going, we had to allow extra time for meeting all of his friends and exchanging the usual plesantries. There were the usual choruses of how nice to meet you and aren't you lucky to have such nice children (making us feel like we're twelve again). So it was all very pleasant until one woman said to me, "Oh, are you his sister?"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I know it has been a while...

but I'll be back soon. I just don't feel like spending too much time on the computer when I get home. I think the ideal situation would be to dictate my posts on my commute to work and then have someone transcribe them for me so I could edit them before posting. Ahhh, to have that luxury.