Monthly Archives: February 2007

Last Day of Vacation

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Yes, it’s Sunday. Tomorrow, I have to return to school. I am in the middle of coloring my hair – it was really gray at the roots! We can’t have that! I also need to shave my legs, and do my nails – both finger and toe. Aren’t you glad I shared?

Yesterday was spent on the road from noon til 3PM, on the relentless search for fabric. I definitely have this obsession with buying out stuff. It started with the search for Zarela Casa products to sell on E-Bay – they were only available at certain WalMarts. Then, it was my haunting of the Hobby Lobby stores in search of the frames I used to make my shrines. That finally ended in my ordering 100 tailor-made shrine frames from China… I am trying to learn to order most things, and keep track of suppliers, but I am not able to pin down all things.  AH Guadalupe
At the moment, I am searching for this certain fabric from Alexander Henry – it is the one that I use to cut out the Guadalupe figures that I use on my crosses and sheer shrines. I was afraid of running out, as it is discontinued. So far, I have stockpiled 23+ yards. That’s a LOT of Guadalupes! I have started selling it on E-Bay now, and yesterday’s trip yielded 7 more yards. I know, I have a problem.  And now, I am finding more and more different images… Stop the madness!

Last night, after dropping the dog off and making the rounds of JoAnn’s, Hancock’s, TJMaxx, and Hobby Lobby, I finally settled down to working on orders. Finally, it seems that my Etsy site is attracting customers! I had several orders come my way while I was in Florida, as well as the E-Bay auctions that closed upon my return. Last night, I worked on 2 Blue Dog Shrines, 3 Sheer Guadalupe Shrines, and 2 Guadalupe crosses. Almost done…

The weather is gorgeous today!  I have tried to hang out on the back porch for a while, but the wind makes piecing things like paper and fabric difficult!  It’s really best for drying paint!  I also had my husband take pictures of newer works so that I could put them up on E-Bay! Check out my latest auctions!

Maybe I’ll take a nap.

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Back from vacation with a new distraction

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My husband and I have returned from St. Augustine, where we stayed in a lovely B & B called Casa de la Paz.  We stayed in the Christopher Columbus room, which was small, but comfortable.  Every morning, we made it to breakfast, where we met people from up north mostly, but also a family from Venezuela.  My husband likes meeting new people at breakfast more than I do – I guess that only my first period students know that I am not a morning person.  Especially with the added “pop quiz” aspect of speaking Spanish.  😉

We visited the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, ate at the Columbia (and other restaurants), and went and saw the ocean.  Of course, we went to the Castillo de San Marcos, and visited Flagler College.  It was hard to spot college students, though!  I didn’t really buy a whole lot of souvenirs, mainly postcards.

Of course, I did make my husband go with me to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, where I bought some Catholic items like medals, prayer cards, and books (four of the lives of the saints for children, and one of the Virgin of Guadalupe story).  I was disappointed that there were no good coloring books, but it was a great shop on the whole.

By the way, in case you are wondering, I am NOT Catholic.  But it is fun to visit these places because it gives my husband a chance to rant.  I think that he was actually disappointed that there was no reliquary claiming to hold a drop of milk from the Virgin Mary’s breast.  The name of the shrine refers to Mary as a patroness of motherhood, I think.

While checking into WordPress with the idea of making a blog entry on the road, I came across a new interface that allows one to import all blog entries from Blogger into my present WordPress blog.  Of course, I spent hours doing just that with my It’s All About The Food! blog, as well as my two NaNoWriMo blog records.  So those can now be read here – thereby confusing many readers with my novel pseudonyms.

I am working on transferring my Diaryland blog, but that will take a while.  I found no way to keep the original dates by directly copying the entries into WordPress, so I am having to copy them into Blogger first.  Then, I will transfer them here.  I have already done 9 entries from February of 2003.  As if I don’t have enough to do!

Year of the Pig

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I am officially on break right now – this school year, the system is trying ouboart one-week breaks for Thanksgiving, February, and Spring (April) with a little bit longer for Christmas and New Years. I like!

Okay, so tomorrow is the celebration for Year of the Pig. Actually, according to Chinese Astrology, this is the year of the Fire Pig. Which means… the year of BAR-B-Q!!! I know, I am very clever.

So, in honor of the year, I have designed a digital collage called Year of the Boar (you can either call it Pig or Boar). It is now available in my CafePress shop on T-shirts, posters, and other products – I love CafePress! My ultimate goal is to live a life of artistic luxury while CafePress sends me checks every month. I am not there yet, but a girl can dream.

Here is how I do my business. To date, I now have the Maison Celeste CafePress Shop, the Maison Celeste Etsy Shop (which, for some reason, I labelled “tiedyefor”), and my auctions on E-Bay. I was going to have a Yahoo! store, but the interface and possible necessity of inventory freaked me out! I am definitely into user-friendly interfaces. I recently discovered Auctiva, where I can keep my auction templates all together, along with my uploaded pictures. Auctiva is great, because it allows me to put more than one picture up without paying E-Bay for extra pictures (I don’t know how they do that).

I use PayPal for my online transactions, of course, and I can directly invoice people for independent purchases. Finally, I take advantage of USPS for shipping. I still hate shipping, but now I don’t really have to go to the post office. They will ship boxes and envelopes right to my door, I can pay for postage online through PayPal or directly on the USPS site. Then, I can schedule a pick up right at my front door for the next day! Cool, huh?

I don’t know how this turned into a summary of my business practices, but there you go. If there’s anything I need to improve, it is my real-life, person to person networking. I am very reticent to approach retailers and shop keepers to sell my stuff. There are lots of reasons:

  • I don’t think they will want to buy them to sell in their shops.
  • I have worked retail and know that you sometimes don’t get paid on time – or at all – for items you leave on consignment.
  • Big fear: What if they DO want my stuff, but I cannot possibly produce the amount that they want. Deadlines are not my strong point…

I also should get involved in art associations, and other networking clubs. I am starting with the Atlanta Collage Society, and may enter one of my pieces in a show.

Okay, enough of that – tomorrow, my husband and I are going to Savannah and then, on to Saint Augustine to stay in a bed and breakfast. I will try and relax for a while – I need a rest, believe me! We are boarding my dog, Lupita, for the first time. I hope that it goes well. We are going to pay extra for her to have Doggy Day Care on two of the days. I still feel guilty. Especially since they will also be bathing her – she hates that – before we pick her up. Hey, better them than me!

My Real Age

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I’m old – It’s so sad. I have recently taken the Real Age Quiz and I am supposedly about 9 years older than I really am. No – I’m not going to tell you how old I am. My husband is supposedly 2 years younger than his actual age – but I think he cheated. But that makes me 11 years older than he is. Demi Moore, eat your heart out.

Last week, I purchased You: On a Diet. I am in the midst of ruminating on changes that I can make in my lifestyle. At present, I drive home from school and generally take a 2 hour nap. Part of it is the student body I have this year, part of it is the commute, and part of it is just plain habit. I find that if I go somewhere else after school (such as TJMaxx or to the mall), I generally can forgo the nap.

Oh, and part of the napping is avoidance. I have a dog that wants to be walked, but it is too cold outside (this coming from a woman who used to take riding lessons in the cold at night about twice a week – when did I become such a wimp?). I also am behind on my orders. Today is the day I get caught up! By the way, I have about 18 auctions up on E-Bay at present: Check them out!

I will stop with the self-criticism for the moment. This week has gone by like a blur, and after next week (conference week), I have an 11-day break. I like this newest school year plan. My husband and I may go somewhere and try out a two day boarding situation for the dog. She has never been boarded before, but we have a new Man’s Best Friend just across the highway, and they offer “doggie day care” and boarding.

Last Monday, we (my husband, the dog, and I) went in for a training consultation there. My dog has not had obedience training yet, and is pretty hostile to men. We figure that she must have been mistreated by a man as a wee puppy. She likes my husband, and for some reason, my next-door neighbor, but when most men come near her, she growls and backs up.

Of course, the trainer we met with was a man. We played it cool, and she paced around and whined and growled. Finally, I went over and sat next to the man on the floor. She approached him and after some time, took a biscuit from his hand. He said that this was a good approach (I know – this is not my first animal), and showed that if I actually took his hand, that she would see more clearly that we were friends. So now, I guess I need to “get friendly” with all male visitors to our house…

The consultation was very professional, and I have no doubts about their ability to train my dog (they would keep her for 2 weeks, then show us how to work with her). We are not ready to pay $1200 to $1400 for the program. It is great, however, to know about the boarding services.

At first, I considered going to Louisiana for Mardi Gras, but we have done that before. I really wanted to consider going to Saint Augustine, FL – I haven’t been there since I was 8 or 9. We could also pass through Savannah on the way. We were thinking about Asheville, but I want there to be a possibility of it being WARM.

Fund for Teachers Grant

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Since the New Year and the new school semester began, I have been in kind of a wacky mood. I completed a Fund for Teachers grant proposal (my first grant proposal ever) and actually made the deadline, I have been organizing all of the National Geographic science and social studies theme sets that our system purchased two years ago, and I have been trying a new tack with my lessons incorporating art. While my husband was in Anaheim for a music convention, I took 3 personal days and had 5 days at home alone with the dog. I am buying art idea books like crazy, but only sporadically making art. I have been eating and buying everything in sight.

The Fund for Teachers grant was mentioned to us by our school system in December. When the e-mail was sent, there were examples of the kinds of grants that have been funded:

  • Travel to four cities in China studying, filming, and cataloging the history and culture of Eastern China
  • Attend the Creativity Workshop in Florence, Italy to learn strategies that nurture student creativity
  • Travel to Salamanca, Spain to attend a master’s Spanish language course at the University of Salamanca
  • Travel to Chennai, India to observe, study, and learn teaching strategies for math students with learning disabilities
  • Attend an intense Spanish language immersion course in Cuernavaca, Mexico designed for educators

Of course, when I read the many grants provided for travel and language, I immediately thought of Mexico. About 7 years ago, I went to the Baden-Powell Institute in Morelia, Mexico to study Spanish for two weeks. I went alone (as my husband often reminds me, missing our first anniversary) and lived with a Mexican grandmother and her son and went to school in the mornings for four hours of one on one instruction. In my spare time, I walked around Morelia and bought things. I also went to Atlixco to visit old family friends. Then, my mother flew down after the course and we stayed in old colonial hotels in Morelia and Patzcuaro and toured the “craft belt” – even taking an eco-tour on the spur of the moment with a guide named Francisco Castilleja.

So, in a nutshell, my grant asks for $5000 (exactly) to travel to Morelia, rent an apartment for a month, and to take one month of classes at the Baden Powell Institute. I have also proposed field trips to Patzcuaro, Puebla, and Guadalajara. My purpose is to home my Spanish skills, and to research crafts and folklore in the area with the purpose of writing curriculum using these things in my ESOL Language Arts and Reading Curriculum. Sounds pretty impressive, huh? I’m a bit impressed, myself. It sounds like a totally different person will be doing this project…

If I get the grant, we will rustle up our own monies to pay for my husband’s airfare, tuition, and expenses. The only concern I have is my dog. Now, I have done some research, and it is supposed to really not be a big deal to bring your dog to Mexico with you – you just need vet records and a health certificate. I also know that it is possible to drive to Mexico – my family did it in 1977, and my mother and aunt did it about 10 years ago. My husband is resistant to the driving idea, so we have made plans for airfare and car rental.

My dog, however, is pretty neurotic, so I have misgivings about finding a dog sitter for 6 weeks. I mean, every day when I come home from school, she nearly breaks the door down with pawing and frantic barking. It is as if I had abandoned her. She runs around, barking and whining. This, of course, does not happen when my husband leaves the house. So, how will she handle me being away for 6 weeks?

As usual, I am putting the cart before the horse. Let’s see if I get the grant, first.