Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Ok, mebbe I gotta give myself more credit but Renee tagged me with the You Make Me Smile award. Yeesh, this makes 4 tags for me. Given that I don't get a ton of comments, that really makes my head swell since those of you who visit and comment obviously like me :-) and I do consider all yall my stampin buddies.
So, hopefully you all haven't been tagged but if you have that's no biggie.
Here are some of the blogs that make me smile on a regular basis:
Colleen, who I know has been tagged and I'm bummed I didn't get to meet in real life when dh was traveling to Tulsa
Basement Stamper, a former Bay Area resident who is totally creative and you gotta check out how cute she is now!!!! She's probably the cutest pregnant mama on earth and is making me wish I had talked dh into another one versus agreeing we were done.
Amanda, over at Stamping Project Junkie. Very creative chick and I'm impressed that she gets some stampin done before she goes to work for the day. The funny thing is that she's from the area that I graduated from high school in :-)
Yvette, who I'm totally jealous of since she's from Australia and just went back and shared the most amazing pics of normal, everyday things from paradise. On top of that, she's got some super stamping skills!
Mason's goody bags are the official classroom bags and I swear, the whole "healthy food" mandate is both a blessing and a curse. It's so much easier and fun to throw some candy in a cello bag and make a topper than it is to put healthier snacks and some little trinkets in a bag with a topper. I prefer to use the smaller cello bags as goody bags since they're cuter, darnit!
Anyway, I gotta punch out some more scallops and adhere some images to them and then to the bags before I hit the hay. I'm already tired and dh has been snoring on the couch for over an hour now. . .meanwhile, the sink is full of dishes and there's laundry that needs to go in the dryer. I swear, there are not enough hours in the day!
If I don't make it tomorrow, have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!
and oh, I finally added a counter. I'm gonna fidget with the numbers because I do know from Statcounter how many hits I've had but I think I'm gonna start adding blog candy at certain intervals. Stay tuned :-)
Monday, October 29, 2007
Anyway, dh set the Wii back up and we got a couple games that are super fun. The first one is called Playground and is a lot of fun! We were all cracking up at each other playing tetherball on Saturday. We also got the new Guitar Hero and man, as much as the game is fun, I suck! So, do I stamp later or try to play Poison's Talk Dirty to Me.
Despite my lack of posting, I was nominated 3 times for the You Make Me Smile award. Allison, Malieta, and Donna all nominated me and I'm really honored and thrilled since they are all awesome bloggers and definitely make me smile:-) Now, I have lots of blogs that make me smile and I'm so thankful to have found the wonderful world of stamping blogs. Since I'm so darn late on this, I don't know who has been tagged yet but if you haven't, consider yourself tagged!
So, it's Monday night and Halloween is approaching. Should I finish the goody bags or play some Wii with dh?
Monday, October 22, 2007
I also got a little stampin in tonight, believe it or not. I really, really, really like the Batty for You stamp set and the Creepy Crawly paper from SU. The card is pretty self explanatory but here's the details. The card base is Pumpkin Pie and I used a layer of Creepy Crawly Double Sided paper on the bottom. I stamped the skull in Palette Hybrid Noir on Whisper White and then went over it with a Black Copic Spica Glitter pen for some sparkle. This is punched out with a 1 1/4 inch circle punch and then matted on Pumpkin Pie which is punched out with a 1 3/8 inch circle punch. This is layered on the reverse side of the Creepy Crawly paper which has been punched out with a scalloped circle punch. The ribbon is Basic Black grosgrain ribbon and the brads are from the retired Vintage Brad assortment.
This set is going to get a lot of use in the next few days because I'm making the "official" goody bags for my 8 yo's class plus I've got little goody bags for my younger 2 to pass out at their Halloween parties.
Have a great day and thanks for visiting!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I saw these cookies at the store and just had to get them. They're super yummy and called Frogs Frosted Sugar Cookies by Gianna's Artisan Baking Company so I got them partially because I like them and also because I had this idea in my head. I'm so glad that it worked out and I think this is a super cute favor/gift. My kids are not happy that I bagged up one of the cookies and plan to give it away but such is life.
So, I used Chocolate Chip and Old Olive for the topper. The ribbon is the wide Rose Grosgrain ribbon which I love, love, love!!!! I stamped the Frog from Unfrogettable in Basic Black on a metal edged tag and then I colored it in with Copic markers. I went over the heart with a clear Copic Spica Glitter pen. The tag is attached with dimensionals and that's about it. Totally easy peasy and ever so cute.
Thanks for visiting!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I wanna stamp, I really, really wanna stamp but I'm tired. I'm also nervous and getting antsy since I'm doing Nike again this weekend (if you get the chance, check out the course--it's pretty darn cool!). This time instead of *running* the full marathon, I'm only walking the half :-) I'm going tomorrow after work to Niketown in San Francisco to pick up my bib, chip, etc and enter some drawings to win some prizes--one is a pair of Tiffany earrings!
So, should I rest a little or should I stamp. . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . .
A Bay Area couple with two kids can't make it on $50,000 a year
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Maria Frias thinks of herself as middle class.
She works as an office manager for Bay Area Legal Aid, where she draws a salary of about $27,000 a year. Her husband, Ricardo, drives a laundry truck and takes in about $26,000.
But all they can afford is a $750-a-month, one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood. They sleep in the same room as their daughters, Stephanie, 10, and Andrea, 6. They have no telephone. And Frias has to set aside about $400 a month to pay off a credit card balance that went into collection.
"It's so hard," Frias said. "I'm falling behind."
The hard truth is that $53,000 a year doesn't cut it anymore in the Bay Area. Tens of thousands of working families in the region, even those with what many would consider decent-paying jobs, find a modestly comfortable standard of living is out of their reach.
A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities, a study released today calculates. If only one adult works, that figure falls to $53,075, largely because the family doesn't have to pay for child care, according to the report by the California Budget Project, a liberal Sacramento research group. But that one wage-earner must make $25.52 an hour.
And a single parent with two children needs to take in $65,864 annually, at an hourly wage of $31.67, to cover expenses, the Budget Project figures.
Statewide, the two-working-parent family needs an annual income of $72,343 to cover necessities; the family with one working adult must earn $50,383.
That's in a state with one of the highest minimum hourly wages in the country - $7.50. In San Francisco, the minimum wage is even higher, $9.14. The federal minimum wage is $5.85.
"Most Californians live on less than $50,000," said Michael Shires, an associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University.
The Bay Area is by many measures the richest region in the United States. Median household income - the level at which half of households are above and half below - was $62,024 in 2000, the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau.
But that means that almost half of all households in the region don't take in what the Budget Project reckons is needed to make ends meet. Those families often must do without some of the things viewed as essential to middle-class life, such as health insurance or a separate bedroom for the kids.
The federal poverty threshold, used by the government to calculate how many of the nation's people are poor, is an income of $20,650 for a family of four. That means basic necessities in the Bay Area cost roughly 2.5 times the federal poverty level.
"This report shows that we do need to look at families substantially above the poverty line," said Jean Ross, the Budget Project's executive director.
Today's report marks the fourth time the project has toted up the cost of living in California. The last study, issued two years ago, showed that a two-parent family with one wage earner needed to bring in $46,919 to maintain a minimal middle-class living standard; a two-earner family required $70,708. The higher cost this year largely reflects rising health insurance premiums.
Project researchers looked at a living standard above a bare-bones existence, but covering only basic expenses, with little margin for discretionary outlays such as vacations and college tuition.
They estimated prices of housing, child care, transportation, food, health care, taxes and miscellaneous, a category that lumps together everything else. They looked at rental costs rather than home ownership and made certain other assumptions that have big effects on living standards.
For example, they included as a necessity individually purchased health insurance, although many families are covered at least partly through work. And, in an effort to figure what it takes to support a family without public assistance, they didn't consider the help many families get from government benefits such as housing and child health care subsidies.
According to those assumptions, the biggest expense was rent, estimated at an average of $1,312 for a family of four in the Bay Area, higher than the statewide estimate of $1,160. Child care was the second biggest outlay at about $1,216, followed by taxes and health coverage.
Real families, of course, vary tremendously in their spending. Until a few months ago, Maria and Ricardo Frias, who are both 34, paid a babysitter $800 every four weeks. Now, the daughters attend after-school programs until Maria is able to pick them up at the end of the day.
They pay rent far below the project's estimate, but the trade-off is that they don't have the space they need. Maria gets medical insurance through her job, but she says her out-of-pocket expenses are heavy. The Friases also are paying today for past living expenses, when they earned far less, in the form of credit card finance charges.
The couple has tried many times to come up with a way to pay for a two-bedroom apartment and adult education.
"Really working hard and maybe getting a second job ... that would be the only way," Maria Frias said.
Families in the Bay Area and the rest of the state use a variety of strategies to cope with high living costs, Ross noted.
"People cut corners in a variety of ways," she said. "Some are in below-market-rate housing. Many people go without health coverage. And a lot of people live by spending more than they earn.
The project says its findings show a need for public spending on social programs, such as subsidized child care and health coverage. Health spending is at the center of a major policy debate in California, where Gov. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers are weighing plans for universal coverage.
"Many families may need assistance to make ends meet," said Ross, the project's executive director.
Those who believe government's role should be limited disagree.
"To say $50,000 is a minimum to have a modest middle income lifestyle is a reasonable statement," Pepperdine's Shires said. "But you have to be careful when you start talking about policy implications."
For her part, Maria Frias is sometimes frustrated and at other times philosophical about what it costs to raise a family.
"I see other people who are worse," she said, "and I consider myself lucky."
Struggling with your finances?
Find help at these sites:
-- Consumer Credit Counseling Services: cccsintl.org
-- FinAid (student financial aid information): finaid.org
-- Mortgage-calc.com (mortgage and debt consolidation calculator): mortgage-calc.com
-- Spread Spectrum Scene (personal finance resources): links.sfgate.com/ZBFQ
Source: Chronicle research
Monthly living cost
How much households must spend on average each month to live in the Bay Area:
Single-parent family (two kids)
Two-parent family (one working)
Two-parent family (both working)
Note: In the study, the Bay Area is made up of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties.
Source: California Budget Project
E-mail Sam Zuckerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
I got these at my LSS awhile back and only used them to punch out some scraps and then they were put away, unused, and unloved. I know I'm not gonna use them and they're virtually brand new. If you're interested in them, email me. They're yours if you're interested in just paying for shipping :-)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
When I was younger, I hated having to write a rough draft, revise it, and rewrite it. I always felt like it was a complete waste of time because when I was done writing, I wanted to be done! I was also a high school student before everybody had computers and so most of my papers were handwritten or I used the typewriter. It wasn't until I was in college and started using my neighbor's computer and then finally got my own Mac Classic, that I started to see the point in editing my work because it was so much easier.
That said, here's my prototype of my Christmas cards for this year. I tried some stuff yesterday and Snowburst just was not working for me. I scrapped quite a bit of cardstock into the circular file and then came to look at the SCS gallery for Snowburst. I wanted something nice but that wasn't going to take hours and hours to recreate in mass quantities. I think I've found it! My card is CASED from this one by Stefanie Summerer. I first saw it on her blog and thought it was pretty awesome!
I made the first card and it was just kinda eh to me. . .it was cute but not great and I want something that's great! So, I made a few changes and I like the 2nd version so much better! I have to figure out what other colors I'm going to use. I generally like to use the same layout and stamps and do a few different color combos so I feel like I'm not just mass producing and get bored. I'm thinking a Basic Grey, Groovy Guava, and Purely Pomegranate combo and maybe a Pink Passion and Green Galore combo (if I have enough cardstock) for something funky. We'll see when I get the chance to play around a little more.
Here's the details: Cardbase is Soft Sky and the bottom piece is Blue Bayou. The snowflakes from Snowburst are stamped in Soft Sky, Blue Bayou, and River Rock on a piece of Pearlized White cardstock by Paper Accents. I like that I can stamp a whole sheet One Sheet Wonder Style and then just cut it out/punch it out for the pieces I need for the card. The sentiment is from So Many Sayings and is stamped in Versamark and then embossed in Detail White EP. For the revised version, I punched the rectangles with my Super Jumbo Scalloped Rectangle punch (I think that's the right one, it's the blue one) and used River Rock stitched ribbon instead of Soft Sky Ribbon. The punched scallops are also up on dimensionals instead of being flat on the card front.
So, whatcha think? and let me know if you can think of 2 or 3 other color combos I should use on this design.
Thanks for visiting!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The card base is Basic Black and I stamped the Sanded background stamp on it in Craft White. Other cardstock colors used are Pumpkin Pie, Really Rust, and Whsper White. The spider is stamped with Versafine Black Onyx and heat set to dry (because I was impatient and smudged the first one). It's punched out with a 1 3/8 inch circle punch and matted on the Pumpkin Pie Scalloped Circle. I added some dots with a black glaze pen. This piece is mounted on dimensionals on top of the bigger piece of paper which is on dimensionals on the card front. The Pumpkin Pie and Really Rust mats are distressed with the distressing tool in my Cutter Kit.
This is a great layout and depending on how cooperative the kids are tonight, I just might have to play with it some more. I think I might use it for my Christmas cards so I want to try a few different ideas out before bed. Hey, if not tonight then maybe tomorrow since I'm taking tomorrow off as well. Maya has croup and an ear infection--poor baby! I hope she gets better soon since she is not her normal, happy, bossy little self.
Thanks for visiting!
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I think I like this one a little better than the one I did earlier. It's just a little cleaner and simpler which seems to be more up my alley these days :-)
Thanks for visiting!
The card base is Pumpkin Pie and I wheeled the Jumbo Whimsy wheel on that in Rose Red. I stamped the butterflies in Pumpkin Pie, Rose Red, and Regal Rose on Whisper White. I then highlighted some of the circles and lines with my clear Copic Spica glitter pen. This is matted on Regal Rose and Rose Red and attached to the front of the card. I stamped the smaller butterfly in Regal Rose, highlighted it with the glitter pen, and then cut it out and mounted it on a Whisper White circle with a dimensional. This is attached to a punched out scalloped circle of Rose Red and attached to the card with dimensionals. I poked holes and added 3 Fire circle brads and tah dah--I'm done! I wanted to use the sentiment but it didn't fit on the card so I decided to stamp a matching envelope. I think I'm gonna play with this set and color combo a little more today.
The second card was created by my 5 yo. I generally make birthday cards for them to give to their friends and he's going to a party next weekend. He has been dying to make a card and had me stamp the images for him then he colored them in with crayons and wanted to use glitter glue. I swear, he pulled out every bottle of Stickles and Liquid Pearls that I own but I reigned him in a little :-) He's very proud of his creation and can't wait to give Anya her birthday card.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Here are the details: The card base is Soft Sky and when I make this one again, it'll be the Textured card stock since it's so much nicer. I then took a piece of 5 1/4" by 4" piece of Blue Bayou cardstock and stamped the big swirly in Craft White along with the small flower and circle in Blue Bayou on this piece. I stamped the butterflies on Shimmery White cardstock with Blue Bayou Classic ink and then cut them out. I took a rectangular piece of Shimmery White and stamped the smaller swirly on this piece with Soft Sky. I then lightly sponged and daubered the edges with Soft Sky. I mounted the cut out butterflies with dimensionals on top of this piece and then mounted this piece with dimensionals on top of the background piece.
I stamped the Priceless sentiment in Blue Bayou on a scrap of Shimmery White and then punched it out with my large SU oval punch. I then lightly sponged and daubed the edges with Soft Sky. I wrapped some Soft Sky Double Stitched ribbon around this base and then mounted the sentiment on top with dimensionals. Since I didn't cut the ribbon that long, I folded the edge back and attached a brad versus trying to tie a knot or ribbon and I'm rather pleased with how this turned out.
I was gonna add more glitter and maybe some hardware around the sentiment but it seems to work this way for now.
Thanks for visiting and I plan to celebrate World Card Making Day when I get up in the morning :-)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Can you believe it's really October? As you probably already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Unfortunately, there are many people who are personally touched by Breast Cancer and I'm one of them.
My ex-MIL is a Breast Cancer Survivor--she's now 6 years cancer free and I'm thankful that my oldest still has his Granny in his life and that she's still active, vibrant, and alive.
Dh's mom was also a victim of Breast Cancer and I never had the pleasure of meeting her but from what I know, she was a strong and powerful woman before she was taken in by this disease.
If you're a woman, get yourself checked. If you're a man, bug the women in your life to get themselves checked out.
Be back later :-)