Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ehhhh.....Watcha Gonna Do....

So, 'funny' story.

I had the privilege of being asked to do Cynthia's wedding cake! She calls me "Aunt Michele" and so do her 2 sisters :) Cynthia is the last of the 3 to get married and I made wedding cakes for all 3! How cool is that?? The wedding was yesterday.

So, Christmas day was baking day. Cynthia wanted champagne cake - oh, my word, it is now one of my new wedding cake flavors. It is just totally yummy! Christmas evening was to be frosting making time. As I went to wash the beaters in preparation, I could only find

one beater......

You would think a seasoned cake decorator would have a backup mixer but noooooooo! I called my friend, who I knew was at a friend's house, and asked if they might have a mixer I could borrow.


BUT - my friend said - don't worry, I'll handle it, I'll see you in a bit. Sure enough, she showed up and was able to find a pharmacy open that had one lone mixer left on the shelf! Yay! We opened it up, plugged it in and.......


It didn't work.


So, an adventure ensued. She left to go to another pharmacy in the same chain, so she could return the one she had and get another. We decided to hop on our laptops and cell phones to try to find something open, in the area, at 6pm on CHRISTMAS DAY where we might find a mixer!!! Well, she found one, made them plug it in before she bought it and brought it to me.

Aaaalrighty then - back on track for wedding cake production. I started making frosting and...

can you guess..... ??



Well, I was done. I decided to go to bed early, wake up at 5 and be in the Meijer parking lot to buy a mixer. So, that's what I did. I was in the parking lot at 5:40 so I listened to music and relaxed and kept an eagle eye on the door so I could get in ASAP. Sure enough, there was no unlocking the doors until the big hand hit the 12!

I went in and found the mixers. After drooling over the Kitchen Aid stand mixers for just a moment, I moved my way down to the hand mixers. While silently thanking my mom for the gift card, I found a heavy duty mixer - stainless steel, 16 speeds with digital readout for $30 !


I brought home my new toy and was in 'Go Mode' knowing I had just a few short hours before the wedding. Luckily, I had helpers that were willing to do whatever I asked of them


I flew out the door at 11:20 which was going to be cutting my set up time pretty short - the wedding was at 2! I still had to go to JoAnn's to possibly find some fabric for under the cake stand. Luckily I found some and it was half off!!

I arrived at the church around 12:45 and fervently started setting up. Shortly before 2, I was still working on the cake when everyone went upstairs for the wedding. I could hear the piano playing and then the muffled tones of the pastor. I finally finished and while I was taking pictures of the finished cake, I heard the applause being given after the first kiss! Moments later, the newly married couple breezed into the reception hall to find everything in perfect order!


And here is what they found!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Samples for Acquinas College

Hi Acquinas College People! Here are samples of what I'll be bringing to the craft show at the Carriage House.

Fleece Scarves for $5

Flat Glass Marble Magnets - 75cents and $1

Cell Phone holders made from the sleeves of recycled sweaters for $8

Recycled Baskets decorated with recycled sweaters and trim $8 - $25

Thanks for the consideration and I hope to hear from you soon!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

OK, I think I'm on a roll....

Maybe there really IS always a silver lining. :)

My 2 day low grade fever forced me to stop. I had places to go from Monday night through today-

Monday night - Supper with Matthew

Tuesday morning - West Michigan Prayer Center Meeting
Tuesday afternoon - Lunch with the girls from the Tuesday morning meeting
Tuesday evening - attempt to make some things for the craft show Saturday
Wednesday - Kaden Day!!

Wednesday evening - trip to Holland with my best friend
Thursday - work at the office
Thursday night - Supper with Matthew (rescheduled from Monday)


So, while I've been limply laying in my bed, I've had time to think. I realized this is running from one thing to another with never enough time to really do anything just craziness and I have to come up with a plan. I can't just run around like a crazy woman. I need to be a crazy woman with a schedule and a plan :)

I thought about the things I want to do, and the things I need to do and thought about how I could fit the two together. I realized there were scheduled things that I had no choice in, like the Tuesday morning meeting, and other things that I plain need to find time to do like make things for craft shows. So I thought of which days are already full, which ones aren't, what days would be best for what. I opened an excel spreadsheet and made myself a chart and filled it in! Woot! I even scheduled free time :)

Now, I know that actually implementing this will be the hard part but it's kinda cool to have a plan and a tool. It will take time to find out if this is the right tool for the job and if I can learn how to handle the tool.

I printed out a copy - on lavender paper :) - and tacked it to the wall :D
And all because I got a chance to stop and think :D

Oh - and I've decided that I'm going to add a picture of something I've created to each post. Here's the one for this post:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inattentive ADD surfaces yet again...

I'm feeling like such a schmuck right now. I borrowed a key to the nail file office from the other office worker for the weekend so I could show my family the warehouse sale stuff on Sunday. The agreement was I would put the key in a hiding place when we were done so the other office person could open the door at 9 when she came in to work. Well, we ended up not going to the warehouse yesterday and I totally forgot about returning the key. So I got a call from the OWNER this morning, asking me where I put the key.



So, another behavior modification to put in place. Next time (although I don't think I'll do this again any time soon) I'll make a calendar entry in my phone that will make an alarm sound that says "Return key". My cell phone is becoming a good tool to use for remembering things and keeping information organized and in a place I can refer to. I almost always have my phone with me so it's cool that it has a calendar, an alarm and a notepad.

ADD is a challenge but isn't crippling. I just have to find different ways of doing things. It's just a bummer when it's effects cause negative consequences for others. ADD is not an excuse, but it's an explanation. I just have to continue to work at managing it.

Behavior modification is such a big key to Inattentive ADD. So is acknowledging the truth. The truth is, my brain just works differently! So, if I acknowledge this and not lie to myself, things are much more manageable. For instance, it is a lie to think that I will remember where I took my shoes off when I want to put them back on - so I have to put a behavior modification in place and tell myself that I must NOT take my shoes off until I get to the established shoe place!! Speaking truth to myself has really helped with things like this - until I come across something that I haven't acknowledged yet - like what happens if for some reason I don't go to the warehouse so the trigger isn't there that will tell me I have to leave the key so the door can be opened in the morning.

So, I'm 48 and still learning :) I'm glad I still have the capacity to learn!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coming Soon !!!

Ok, so, I'm now in Holland!! Wooot!! Holland, Michigan, of course :)

There's a new store in town and it's a really cool concept! The store is full of little mini-shops, different than the other consignment shops I've seen - - see ?? - -

That's the view from the front door, here's the view from the cash register -

And here's my little mini shop, at the back of the store!!

And here's the view from in front of my mini shop -

The store is called "Check 4 Fun" and it's on Washington street, just south of 36th, right before Wendy's - or 897 S. Washington suite 50. The owners are great people to work with and are excited to bring this really cool concept to Holland! They'll be opening November 1st and are looking for more crafters to fill up the cubes - but you better hurry before all the spots are filled! Here's their email so you can find out more info:

Oh! I almost forgot! They have a classroom in the back! I am seriously considering teaching some classes - I'm just not sure what yet. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line and I'll see what I can come up with!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My 5th grade graduation dress

***Insert Music - - "Memmmoorieeeeees......light the corrrner of my miiiiiiiiind......."***

Up in the attic, among the owls, country blue geese and old china, we found it. Unstained, not too smelly, not ripped or worn out:

The year was 1971 but you could have probably guessed that :) I am the youngest of 4 kids and shopping with just me and mom was rare. And shopping at the mall was even rare-er!! But there we were, in the city, and it was all about me and my dress. Add a pair of white patent leather mary-janes and I was on top of the 5th grade world.

Good times.

Maybe some day, if I have a grand-daughter, I can convince her to wear it for a picture.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Me N My Brain.........

Do you ever wonder how or why the brain works the way it does????

Things will occur to me, or connect for seemingly no apparent reason.

The newest thing has to do with all of these craft project ideas that come into my head. I have a few really good ideas but I don't have time to try to gather all the materials, make the thing, refine it then make enough to have a display on my table or take pics and list them - all with the possibility that they might not even sell!

So, it occurred to me today that there is another way to make money as a freelancer - selling project ideas to magazines and websites!!!!! DER!!! I've thought of doing this before but really didn't get it out of my head. Then today, out of the blue, for no apparent reason, I realized - I would only have to make one of something, write up a sketchy instruction sheet for the proposal, take a pic then send it off to the publisher then hope it gets published! I already have the contact info for at least one website and magazine that buys them!

So, how cool will it be to be able to get the idea out of my head and be done with it and maybe even make some moolah????


Monday, June 15, 2009

Why not Cake Decorating??

My Etsy Teammate, Karin mentioned that she thinks my cakes are my most impressive crafty skill. Aw, Garsh, Thanks Karin!!! heehee

So, I thought I'd explain the reasons for focusing on my pastel and color pencil drawings instead of cake decorating.

- Health code regulations say a second kitchen, away from the family kitchen, is required- The cost of turning a room in the house into a second kitchen is unfathomable - and how is it making money if I have to put out 20 grand or more at the very beginning of the venture?

- Clean up is a drag LOL. I would want to hire an assistant to do all the icky non-creative stuff. Once again, quite a cut into profits :)

- As to getting a job at a cake decorating place -- I tried working at Family Fare as a cake decorator. Talk about a creativity squasher...

- As to getting a cake decorating job at a place where they do 'real' cakes - I am sure they would set a work schedule that I'd need to adhere to. I'm working hard at getting this freelance thing to work because I LOVE the flexibility of setting my own schedule.

Since my dad died, I've been going 'home' quite a bit to not only visit with my whole family but also to help my Mom and sister continue to sort through 50 years of stuff and help care for my Gram who is now staying with Mom. Last time I went over there for a week, I packed my van with tons of crafty stuff and worked on lots of things while I was there. And (this was pretty cool) during the week I was there, my cousin and her 'beau' decided, on the spur of the moment, to go to the courthouse and get married! Because I was in town and not working during the day, I got to be at the 1pm wedding and got out to eat with them after!
Although I'm struggling financially right now, this will be worth it. Things are already happening in a good direction. I am making contacts that have some promising posibilities - more promising than previous ventures. I really really love drawing pictures to music and am looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Maybe some day I'll be rich and famous and I'll make me a second kitchen with my spare change :) Until then, I make cakes for friends and family, for our mutual enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remember to put Lilacs in the trunk :)

This may be a long post but I hope you read the whole thing and understand the message

So, it was getting toward the end of the yard sale. I had moved the chair for the umpteenth time to stay in the shade, I had flooded myself with coffee to counter the effects of just 3 hours sleep and was making a mental list of what groceries I could buy with the Whole Ten Dollars I had earned from the sale. I started pondering life in general and not really whining about it but, probably because of sleep deprevation, focusing too much on the things that aren't working in my life, and getting bummed because I wasn't seeing many results yet from my efforts. My finances are almost non-existent as I work toward becoming a full time freelance artist/crafter. Things are quite a struggle and sometimes it all gets overwhelming.

So, as I was getting pouty and attempting to stay awake, an old station wagon pulled halfway in to the driveway - which was disconcerting since the tables were all set up IN the driveway. The door opened and an older woman stepped out, leaned in the car to bring out ..... her crutch :)

As she slowly made her way up the driveway, limping as she came, I felt bad that I had a twinge of being annoyed that she had pulled up so far in the driveway! We exchanged pleasantries then she APOLOGIZED for pulling in the driveway and explained that she had hurt her GOOD foot and was trying to walk as little as possible.

In a quiet sweet voice, she began to tell me about herself. She lives in White Cloud but comes down to Grand Rapids on a regular basis to bring her daughter to a facility close to where I live to have dialysis. She continued her story, telling me that her daughter, who is one year younger than me, has been on dialysis for 37 years! I told her I didn't think people lived that long on dialysis! She said she didn't think so either :)

Her daughter became sick when she was 7 years old. At some point, her father gave her one of his kidneys but there was a complication and her body rejected it a week later. I'm not sure of the details but for some reason, when there is a rejection, medicaid doesn't pay for all of the bills for a while so they are dealing with attempting to pay those back.

She told me that she likes to go to yard sales while her daugther is in dialysis so she can find vases. Her daughter likes to make flower arrangements using the fresh flowers that grow on their property and then give them away. She picked out 4 vases and I told her that because of the circumstances, she could just have the vases. She adamantly insisted on paying because that was the right thing to do.

As we were talking, she spied a picture leaning against a chair, up by the garage. It had a poem/blessing on it with a border of flowers. She asked if I was going to sell it. I told her I was planning on it but when I pulled it out of the box it was in, I had noticed it was dirty and faded so I set it aside, thinking I may clean it up later. Then, I offered it to her and she said she would be willing to pay for it. This time I refused telling her I would love to just give it to her and offered to carry it to her car for her. She thanked me and, after wrapping up the vases and accepting her money, we started walking to the car. I also found out they had given a man in town a ride to the clinic because he didn't have a ride to get their own dialysis!

She opened the back of the station wagon and set her vases inside. I handed her the picture I had given her and she said - I have something for you. She reached into a large pot and pulled out the most gorgeous lilacs I'd ever seen. Without thinking, I said - why are you giving these to me?? She said - whenever I come down to Grand Rapids, I always bring flowers from my yard so I can pass them on to people we meet. I told her I love lilacs and it was wonderful that she would give me some! She said - that's why I have them!

I, of course, thanked her as she got back in the car. She told me she was now 70 and, although the cataracts in her eyes made it so she couldn't drive at night, she was still able to drive during the day. As we spoke, she started looking at something leaning against one of the tables in my sale then pointed and asked - are those angels?? I looked at what she was pointing at and told her no - they were actually gingerbread men and Christmas trees, shaped into a wreath. She said - Oh, OK, sometimes the cataracts can make the edges of things look a little blurry. They sure look like angels.

So, let me get this straight - this 70 year old woman has been driving from White Cloud to Grand Rapids for the last 37 years to bring her daughter here for kidney dialysis which is keeping her alive. They have medical bills that I don't think I could even imagine because of a rejected kidney - and a spleen that had to be removed because it was complicating the whole system (I didn't mention that earlier). She has an injury to her GOOD foot that makes her walk very slowly and she has to use a crutch.


Before she gets in the car, she slowly walks to the garden and cuts flowers from her yard so she can pass them out to the people she meets that day, not even knowing who those people will be.


The ailment in her eyes that she doesn't have the money to get corrected causes her to see angels.

As she drove away, I stood there for a few minutes, absorbing and reflecting on what had just happened and what I had learned.

So, yea, things can be bad and the immediate future may look bleak but I (shall I venture to say WE?) need to make sure (in our own special way - which may look different than flowers) we're always carrying lilacs in our trunk so we can give away something to the people we meet - - and we keep looking for angels

Monday, May 4, 2009

New "Do"!

I had such a cool experience today - and got a great cut! I was driving down 28th st and down by Ivanrest, there's a cosmetology school! Who knew?? What drew me in was the price of $6.50!! Yes, I know, you get what you pay for but if all I have is $6.50 then all I have is $6.50! So, I crossed my fingers and reminded myself that the instructor has to approve the cut and will fix it if need be.


I love it!! Phew!!!! She did a great job and it was a really nice experience. For the locals - - just in case you want to try it, it's called Beauty Star Cosmetology School, just East of Ivanrest on 28th.

"Action Apple" and "On Point In Motion"

They're New! They're Fresh! Apparently movement is my new theme!!

See them in my shop!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

So, in my 'before coffee' state, I'm pondering the words "May Day" and wonder - If May Day is somewhat of a holiday, making it a positive thing, then how did it become a distress signal??

So I Googled it :)

The Mayday callsign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962) [4]. A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m’aider. "Venez m'aider" means "come help me."
(Gleaned from Wikipedia)

Innnnnnnnteresting..... It has nothing to do with May Day. So, then I pondered again (it's what I do...) and wondered why Fred didn't propose "MaiderMaider" for a distress call! Then I realized what I'm sure Freddy thought of all those many years ago -- If someone on a ship were to yell "MAIDERMAIDER!!!!" At least one officer is going to come running and yell - "Dust calm down, stop imadining things an' dust get your dob done!"


Get it?????? If not, let me know and I'll post why it's funny (or at least why I think it's funny). ***Giggling***

Maybe it'd be best for me and everyone around me if I go get some coffee now...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Listing my first pastel drawing in my SecondSite Etsy shop has been an introspective experience. For me, fine art is a bit more personal than the crafty things I create. This is becoming even more evident now that I'm pursuing my freelance artist/crafter career. I'm still pondering most of it and am reflecting alot on my creative heritage. The most evident source is my father. Here he is with my mom at a mid 60's "Pool Party" which were all the rage back then (hence the squinting):

There are other sources that I have found out about - Like my Great Grandfather whose job was at a "Bump Shop", getting dents out of vehicles but he also did "Bump Art", for lack of a better term. He would bump art into the side of vehicles, making a picture almost like a reverse embossing then paint it. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any pictures of his work.

OK, back to reflecting - one of the things my dad and I did in our adult years, on a regular basis, was draw together. One of us would start drawing a picture then hand it to the other person who would add something to the drawing. This would go on, back and forth, until the drawing seemed complete. Here is one of the better results:

I have stacks and stacks of my dad's work but I don't believe he would want any of it on the internet and, although I would love to share his art, I choose not to. He wanted to keep his work his own. That may be why there is an emotional twinge for me to be selling my art - not that it's a good or bad thing - it's just different. So, here is my first listing of my drawings:

Dad passed away in August. I want to share the legacy that has been passed down to me and keep it alive. I have something worth sharing and hopefully my contributions will add to the goodness in the world.
.On a lighter note, I kept some of my dad's infamous hats and we take turns wearing them:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eenie Meenie Minee Magnets...

What is it about these things?? They're almost as addicting as chocolate!!

Is it the hunt to find something to fit in that little circle? Is it hyperfocusing on finding just the right image? I can't figure it out but maybe I should stop trying and just enjoy it! I've made over 400 now!! Ahh!!! name is Sheli...... and .....

I'm a magnet-aholic.......

*****the crow responds "Hi Sheli"*****


I've got some sets in my shop but I'm going to be adding more! Here's where they be....