Friday, September 30, 2011

Camelot Castle–

As most of you don’t know, I’m the PR person for the MiniDollList ( and it's companion website, MSATMiniDolls (   It has just dawned on me that I have been recently neglecting my job in the most horrible way.

Even as we speak, Camelot Castle is being built and occupied by a myriad of characters.  Maidens, Mermaids, Fae, Dragons, Knights, Noblemen, Ladies, and Commoners.  Stories are being woven, songs are being sung, and everyone is in for a good time (well, except those that are in disfavor with the Queen).




These are just a few of the cast of characters now appearing at Camelot Castle.  Please go to and scroll down Character Pages to see more. 

But don’t neglect all the other Sites on that page.  There is an Inspirational Newsletter that gives links to sites concerning Camelot Castle (in case you want to join in on the fun, it’s free to become a member),  a Coat of Arms page explaining colors and designs, a Weekly Crier page, and more.

So, if you love miniature dolls and want to join, just hop over to and join – Deadline is November 1st, and there aren’t a better group of people to hang with.  Or, if you just like looking at wonderful works of miniature art and reading fascinating stories, come on over to Camelot Castle and visit.  We’ll leave the lantern lit for you.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More ATCs

Okay, here are a couple more ATCs that I just finished up. 

This one is for a swap on Swap-Bot.  The swap coordinator for this particular swap has themed the ATCs on the 7 Deadly Sins.  She started with Lust.  I did a subtler take on that theme.

ATC Lust If you can’t read the words going across, it says “Lust dances the tango and looks good in tight clothes”.   Loved the saying and decided to build the ATC around that phrase.  Now, to come up with a card for Gluttony, the next of the 7 Deadly Sins.

This next card was done for an Open Theme One on One Swap in the Creative Souls group.

ATC October Creative Souls.  I learned exactly how painstakingly difficult it is to paste itty bitty microbeads to what you want them to stick to.  They wanted to stick to everything BUT the card; me, the tweezers, the glue, the work surface, thin air……you get the idea.

I sure hope my card making gets better.  They are just so plain compared to all the beautiful works of art other people are making out of their ATCs.   I guess practice makes perfect.

Well, that’s it' for today.  I was on the phone with the IRS for two hours, most of it spent on hold, trying to find out about EIN numbers, sole proprietorships, and filing taxes.  More on that fun subject later. 

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alice’s Halloween

One of the ATC Swaps I participated in recently was an Alice in Wonderland theme with a Halloween twist.  We were supposed to create 5 cards that depicted what we thought Alice would see if she encountered Halloween.

Below are my 5 cards:

ATC Alice Halloween BewareATC Alice Halloween Mad HatterATC Alice Halloween SpookyATC Alice Halloween Trick or TreatATC Alice Halloween Witchy Woman

These (even the Spooky card  - different printer) were all done using mainly photo paper.  Yes, I did cut out all the white spots in the fences without tearing the fence.  Yes, I did cut out the arch in Beware card.  Yes, I did cut out the fiddly rake handle on that card too.  Every thing except the background paper was painfully cut out with scissors and an Xacto knife.  Yes, it was mind-numbing and a few choice words might have been said.  Luckily, no fingers were harmed in the creation of these cards.

As you can see, I did run out of ideas and recycled the Spooky card into the Witchy Woman card with just a few (two tombstones & the wording) changes.  At the time, I had a shortage of Alice pictures.  No more; I now have plenty, thanks to

These cards ended up looking pretty decent even though they are mainly photo paper.  There are a few things I probably would do different if I do a theme like this again.  One would be use less photo paper.

I did find out an important fact.  You can use Prismacolor markers on Satin Photo Paper and they are color-fast & dry almost instantly – no smearing.  That’s how all but the Spooky card were colored. 

I did cave and used three stickers.  The tombstones in the Witchy Woman card and the ghost on the Mad Hatter card.  At the time, I didn’t have anything better.  If I do this again, I now have Halloween stamps to help me out.  I don’t rule out stickers on my cards (unless the swap prohibits them), but I really don’t care that much for them.  They have to be exceptional or I’m in desperate straights.

Later, I’ll share two more cards I created for swaps. 

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

ATCs/ACEOs, Tags, & Inchies – This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know

I have a dilemma (make that dilemmas).  I can’t decide what type of paper to use in making my ATC/ACEO cards.  Do I use Bright White Inkjet or Cardstock.  Maybe Satin Inkjet Photo Paper or Glossy.

HOW DO I DECIDE!  I’m going nuts here folks. 

Okay, I tried the photo paper, both satin & glossy and liked it.  But not the entire card made from it.

I tried Bright White Inkjet paper and like it.  But not the entire card made from it.

How to decide when to use what paper??????  Okay, so I’m not the best ATC card designer out there.  I’m new at it.  Frankly, I think I stink at it.

Here’s one I sent as part of a One-on-One Swap.  This is entirely printed on Bright White Inkjet Paper, sprayed with Matte Fixative.  I found the little spider somewhere and added a red stick-on gem.

Halloween ATC 

One of my better ideas – I must have been “on” that day.  Nothing fancy, but it’s okay.

Sooooooo, that’s ONE dilemma.  What paper and when to use.  I’m not EVEN going to get into the subject of color enhancement with inks, chalks, watercolors, etc. 

Here’s another…….How in the world do you  keep ALL your embellishments, vintage papers, collage sheets, odds and ends, etc., handy, ready to use, and easy to find, especially when you’ve got enough to start your own craft shop (okay, a LITTLE over exaggeration there, but not much)?  I have it “organized” into boxes, bins, folders, sleeves, etc., but can never seem to get everything into one spot.  Oh yeah, we aren’t EVEN going to discuss the stamps, inks, and embossing powders that can be used.  Let’s stick to the simple stuff.  Oh, and remember the stick-on gem mentioned earlier.  Yeah, those are new.  I can’t find my 8 other packages that I have stored somewhere in my nightmare of a studio.

Moving along…..this also applies to Tags and Inchies.  Here is an example of my latest tags:

Ancient Cities 1Ancient Cities 2Ancient Cities 3

These were for an Ancient Cities Swap on Roses on My Table – nothing fancy, definitely and “off” day.

Halloween Tags Three        Halloween Time TagHalloween Vampire Blood Tag        Halloween Witch Tag

These are currently for sale in my Etsy shop. (okay, shameless plug).  Believe it or not, these were made by mistake.  Long story, but let’s say pain killers and reasonable, cognitive thinking do not go hand-in-hand (I just had a lower back fusion). 

Okay, I SERIOUSLY lucked out here.  My brain was functioning and I had things on hand.  Plus, all images with the exception of the bats (which are die punched) were printed on regular Bright White Inkjet Paper and then sprayed with Matte Fixative to keep the colors from bleeding.  These actually turned out halfway decent.  A little fiber, a little Stickles, some mini gems (the ones I could find), a little Tim Holtz ink……….a voila! Tags.

Only way I pulled these together was the stuff was literally staring me in the face.  Yeah, sitting on the ONE work surface out of FOUR that I can get to & use.

So you will understand, my studio on a GOOD day:

Photo0068  One unusable work surface 

Photo0069 Another unusable work surface – can’t see the work top, but believe me, it’s crammed.

Photo0070 The left side of the work surface I use (the last one isn’t in any photos – I can barely find room to put my laptop on it).

Photo0071  Shelves to the right that you can’t see are stuffed full – most are labeled but I can hardly get to them if at all.

Photo0072  My toolbox with some of my stamps and inks sitting on the shelf above it.


Yes, I’m lucky.  I have plenty of stuff and yes, I share what I have generously.  Most comes from estate auctions so there is some age to them which is also nice (think vintage LOL).  But it would be nice to be able to remember what I have and find everything.  Did I mention this studio also holds my miniature hobby kits, furnishings, tools, supplies, etc.?  And all my molds (for use with clay and Li-qua-che), and some doll-making stuff and stuff for my Etsy store and my brick and mortar antique store space.  We are talking multi-use stuff here.

Enough rambling.  Back to my original subject.  How do I decide 1)  what type of paper to use, when to use it, and 2)  how can I ensure I know where my multitude of embellishments, papers, clipart, etc., are so I can put my hands on them when I need them.  The bad artwork I’ll just have to work at. LOL

ANY ideas, suggestions, etc, as to type of paper and method of organization would be SOOOOOOO appreciated.   I have commitments to make Tags, ATCs, and Inchies until mid-December.   Also, I really want to get into making ACEOs & Tags to sell at the Art Center where I’m a member.  Then, I would like to get into altered postcards and journal pages. 

I seriously need some direction here.  Maybe I need to hire a professional organizer.  Wonder if there are any out there that organize studios? 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I’m a procrastinator.  If I can’t get a huge block of time to do something, then I feel like it can’t be done.  Well, of course this is wrong.  I have lots of time in my day, but in small increments (say 30 minutes – 45 most times).

When I read the below article by Christine Kane, I thought, “That’s me!”  So, I’m going to try and do the 9 simple steps she has written on how to keep from procrastinating.  I wanted to share it with you in case any of my readers were like me & found this useful.   And you know what, she’s definitely correct; Procrastination IS fear.  I’ve lived it, felt it.


9 Simple Solutions for Procrastinators
by Christine Kane

Irony: As I started to write this article, I thought, "I'll just go play one Sudoku game first." I caught myself in the act and marched to my laptop.

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn't about laziness. It's about fear. It's about perfectionism. It's about overwhelm. We all experience it, and there are some tricks to help you get moving again.

Here are 9 ways to break the procrastination habit:

1 -  When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin.
When I read Stephen King's book On Writing, I noticed something.  I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it.  Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea.  Then they sit there.  They wonder if it's a good idea.  Then, they wonder if it's a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2 -  All hail small chunks of time!
Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn't happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project, or your taxes?   Stop waiting!  Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice.)

3 -  Agree to do it badly.
Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up.  Let go of doing it ALL, or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients' biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear, than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4 -  Commit aloud.
Call a friend and say something like this: "I'm going to spend the next half hour working on creating my new product." Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5 -  Define quantities.
Nebulous goals make for nebulous results. "I'm gonna get my office organized" is a lot like saying, "We oughtta do something about Global Warming."

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW.

When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk?

Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6 -  Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More.
Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.

Why?   Because you're not lazy. You're just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything.  Wow - what a difference this makes!

7 -  Do it first.
My first coach made me write songs first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the 2-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.

Why?  "Because you're telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority."

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you're not wasting energy thinking about this thing you're supposed to be doing.

8 -  Avoid nose-bleed activities.
Email, voicemail, web stats - any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity.  It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you.  Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats, until that time comes.

9 -  Don't ask how you "feel" about doing the activity.
Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed thinking, "Do I really feel like going to the gym?" (Like you even have to ask!)

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don't have coffee and sigh and think, "I'll probably feel more like it at lunch time." You won't!

If it's a priority, don't waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.


Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World.  She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success.  Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at


I hope you enjoyed this article and get some inspiration from it.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Update on Space in Antique Store

Well, it’s been awhile.   My back decided it needed to be fused, so I’ve been recovering from that. 

However, right after I got my first shelf unit rented, another one came up.  Of course I jumped right on it.  This new one is closer to the front of the store and the checkout counter, so I’m using it to sell vintage jewelry.

Now, these pictures aren’t too good, but they give an idea of my new space.  I think I’ve sold more off of it than the first shelf.

New Shelf bottom front side A  Since I stocked it, I’ve been back several times to move items around and make it more pleasant.  If you notice, I wrapped the shelves in upholstery fabric to make it look more elegant.  New shelf bottom front side B  In addition to jewelry, I sell porcelain items (like the little Made in Occupied Japan figurines below), reverse painted pictures, and purses.New Shelf first front side A  The original shelf unit is still for all my “Junktique” items.  In fact, I haven’t been to the store in three weeks and I’m sure both shelves are in bad need of a freshening and restocking.  Luckily, before surgery, I tagged a bunch of stuff.  It’s hard to sit at the table I use to tag items (it’s actually my dining room table) .  All the bending to get them out of boxes and then placing in other boxes is rough on the back (& against doctor’s orders).         New Shelf first shelf back sideNew Shelf second front sideNew Shelf top back side

We are still hoping for floor space.  Mom and I both have so many larger items we need to sell plus a floor space would allow more shelf space too.  There is one lady who it thinking about giving up her space and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  One end is a wall, so I would be able to hang pictures and mirrors that I have for sale.  Currently, the antique mirror I have at the shop for sale is laying flat on the floor, cushioned by material I laid down there.  Every bit of space gets utilized!

Well, off to work on some ATC cards.  I also need to think on whether or not to participate in a Journal Page swap and then I have to work on some Altered Tags for a Tag Swap.  That’s not to mention the items I need to list in my Etsy store (I re-opened and things I need to also make to sell in it.  Thank goodness I’m off work for another two weeks.  

Tomorrow, I’m going to try and get to Michael’s.  Since it’s the end of the week, the stuff that I wanted that was on 50% will probably all be gone.  I don’t want to make a painful 40 minute drive (on way) for nothing but I really need a few things.

The last month has flown by.  But, to top it off, it looks like I will be having carpal tunnel surgery in another week.  THAT will probably slow me down more than my back has.

Ah, such is life.  It’s good though.  The shelves are paying for themselves and then some and I’m hoping Etsy sales in all of Mom and my Etsy stores (we have four together & plus my personal one listed above) will increase the closer we get to Christmas.

Until later,

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