Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Christmas in July

Thanks to ALL of the kind folks on ArtFire who have so graciously critiqued both my shop banners as I try to "decorate" for Christmas in July! I really appreciate everyone who took the time to LOOK and see if I got them looking decent. Great, they're not. But then, I don't intend to use them forever--just for now. ALL are sized at 1000 x 200 pixels, so they can be used as a "backdrop" type of banner.

As promised, and as a way of saying thank you for giving me the most precious commodity we all have--some of your TIME, here are 14 backgrounds you can use to get your banner ready for the Christmas in July promotion.

To use these banners, just save them to your computer. To add text, you have several choices. You can usually add it with your photo editing program. Microsoft Paint will do the trick! Just make sure you click on the option that makes it transparent!

If your photo editing software refuses to cooperate, that's still okay--you can make this work. Here's how: Keep your photo editing software open, but also open up a word processing document. Create a text box. Type in your text, and when you've got it the way you like it, be sure you a)save it just in case, and b) make it transparent. Now, click on your text box, hit "Ctrl c" to copy the text; click the tab to return to your photo. Put your curser somewhere in the center of the banner and hit "Ctrl V" to paste in your text. Neat, huh? Now you can play around with the size and the location until you have it where you want it.

Enjoy with my thanks and gratitude! --Linda

Monday, June 29, 2009

Knitting as Therapy

People in Texas don't knit. They crochet, and they quilt, and they do lots of other things--but they don't knit. While yes, I also crochet and quilt (and lots of other stuff--like beading), it is knitting that is my first love. But as a Texas knitter, I'm kinda an anomoly.

Knitting is theraputic; it is calming; it is relaxing. Knitting gives you time to sit and think, because unlike fancy crochet-work where you must be constantly counting, all but the most complicated knitting pattern will "fall into place" after a few repeats. You'll know by looking what you need to do next--leaving you free to complemplate on whatever problems or plans you need/want to think about. I'm not wasting time--I'm knitting.

Working with yarn is a soothing, tactile sort of thing. I love the feel of the yarn in a skein, and the feel of it as it slides through my fingers as I knit it into something wonderful. I love all the different colors, textures, and possibilities each skein represents. I'm every bit as bad about yarn sales as I am about fabric and bead sales!!

I've had a pretty rough couple of months lately. Anything that could go wrong, did. Some of the things I could do something about, and others I could not. But how to figure things out, and how to figure out which was which? So I knitted on it.

I knitted and I knitted and I knitted. And as I did so, I had the satisfaction of seeing progress. It was something that I could get right. Best case scenario for me is one sock per day. So essentially each pair of socks represesnts two days of working. Working, knitting, thinking, and figuring things out. Getting things in perspective. Being productive.

Things are better now. Not great, and certainly not perfect--but they ARE better. However, the bright side to all of this is the 18 pairs of socks I got knitted during this time. Two pairs never got listed because they were bought out from under me before they were even finished. NO, I'm NOT complaining!

Knitting is also something I can do when it's the only thing I can do. Cancer seems to have decided to run amok through so many families of my co-workers during the last couple of years. I can't do anything about that. Not a thing. But I can knit. I knitted "chemo-caps" for the partner of our Division's budget co-ordinator. Small things, but they meant a lot to the lady who wore then. I knitted a prayer shawl for a colleague who's husband had cancer and PTSD. And of course socks. Socks went to keep the feet warm of our Public Hunting coordinator last year when she had cancer, and more recently for her father who just succumbed to cancer last week. This morning I gave our program's administrative assistant socks for her mother-in-law who just got diagnosed a few weeks ago with cancer. Knitting says love. For her, and for her mother-in-law.

I can't fix the world; heck, I can't even fix my own life. But I can keep it's feet warm!

Friday, June 19, 2009

PAY ATTENTION! I've Got it ALL figured out!!

When you knit you have time to think. So while I have been knitting on a pair of socks for my co-worker's mother-in-law who has just been diagnosed with cancer, I have plenty of opportunity to think about other things. In this case, that's good, because I've been trying to come up with a way to make amends to all the ArtFire Crazy Train riders who got short-changed by me during May and most of June. And I've finally got it!!! SO LISTEN UP!

From NOW until the END of June, for each dollar you spend in one of the shops I skipped, I will give you half that value as a discount in Rocky Creek Gems. If you spend $20, you will get a $10 credit in my shop. And if that means something you like is $10, then hey, it's yours free for the cost of shipping.

Now, in order to spread the shopping around, you may buy as many things as you'd like from one of those shops, but it will need to be just one transaction. That's only fair to everyone else! That's the only limitation I'm putting on this. You may combine all your credits from as many shops as you like, or you may redeem them as you go. Your choice.

SO HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO: Send me an email (lmcmurry@swbell.net) with the following information:
A. The shop(s) you made your purchase(s) from.
B. The amount of the purchase(s) (not including shipping!).
C. The transaction number(s).

WHAT I WILL DO: Once I have contacted the seller and verified your purchase, I will send you an email with the exact amount of your credit.

Since the coupon code isn't operational yet, when you redeem your credits and are ready to check out, choose the payment option where you will mail me your payment. You can then send me a note telling me you're redeeming credits. If there's additional money due, I can then send an invoice for the difference and/or mark it Paid. That way you can also still leave and receive Kudos/Karma. You'll have until June 30 to redeem your credits.

So, do I still have your attention? Good! Here's the list of shops eligible for this offer:


Okay, that's 23 eligible shops! Now surely you can find something to buy with that kind of variety to choose from.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Aunt of Invention

If Necessity is the the mother of Invention, then Desperation is the sister of Necessity. And THAT makes it the Aunt of Invention.

When you need to bead, you need to bead! It's that simple. And when you need to bead a cabochon, but don't have a cabochon--well you can get pretty desperate! Of course, non-beaders wouldn't understand that, but we beaders understand completely. I absolutely LOVE the story behind this gorgeous necklace from Haffina Creations. Desperate to bead a cabochon and not having one, she raided her mother's button stash and found....the perfect substitute cabochon! WAY TO GO!!

Now, lest you think Haffina is just another "pretty beader" forget it! Get a look at this scarf she knitted. It's 101F here in Elgin, Texas today, but I'd still love to just cuddle up with this lovely creation right now--in the air conditioning of course!

Did I mention that Haffina also makes polymer beads? Oh yeah! She does that too. Check out these Mandala Turtle Beads. Pretty awesome, huh?So, uh, why are you still reading this blog? Why aren't you over at her studio shopping all her gorgeous treasures? Get going!

Life is what happens while you're making other plans.

Life is what happens while you're making other plans. And that certainly been true for me over the last 6 weeks. Right now I'm just in survival mode. I really don't like "airing my dirty laundry" in public, but sometimes you just have to do it in order to "come clean" and explain long absences, why things haven't gotten done, or at the very least why they weren't done in the manner you (or anyone else!) would prefer. For those who are interested, here's the link to my ArtFire posting in Free For All: http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?mop=modload&name=Chatterbox&file=viewtopic&topic=12835&forum=1

One needs to be careful however not to let these REASONS become EXCUSES. I intend to do my best not to. Life goes on, and I'm a fighter, not a quitter!

So to those of you who so graciously tweeted, twittered, plurked, plunked, blogged, slogged, posted, pasted, and otherwise promoted my Rocky Creek Gems ArtFire shop: THANK YOU!

To those "train riders" who got "short-changed" by my "derailment" --I promise to make it up to you. I'm not sure how just yet, but it WILL happen!

Okay--time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back in the saddle!
I'll see y'all down the road! Take care!