Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Washington, here I come! :D

I leave tomorrow morning to run some errands before I head to the airport for noon.  I land in Washington at 2:35, situated at the hotel by 4.  I'm SUPER excited!!  I have reeeeeeeeeally awful food allergies, so I need to go buy some food from Trader Joe's when I arrive, and then I'll spend the night putting together packages for sale and watching the in-house free movies.  :D

I am leaving my shop open while I'm gone, but I won't be able to fulfill any orders until I get back to work on Monday, August 8th.  

Happy Washington Pen Show, everyone!  

Friday, 15 July 2016

Sale time!

Well, the sale is ready.  I've changed all my prices and added some new sets.  I've still got more sets coming, but they won't be finished until the end of next week.  I'm finally planning to finish my Women At Work pin-up girl set.  I'm so close!!

At any rate, if you're inclined to help me with some vet bills (Luna's back on her old meds, by the way, but at the dose she needs, it's still $77 a month) and replacing my father's hearing aid, check out my etsy shop!  Everything's on sale at 20% off (except the $6 sets, which are still $6), including the bulk order of 40 sheets of TR paper.  :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, 8 July 2016


Blerg is this word I use when I'm trying to shake off the sadness or discomfort of reality and steel myself to keep going.  On the one hand, life doesn't seem easy when I get up every day and do all the things that need doing, and endure all the things that need enduring.  At the same time, it seems ridiculous to say that because of how privileged I know I am, on a variety of levels.  And knowing how lucky I am is part of what helps me keep going.

At any rate, BLERG.  Things have been really up and down over the last two months, and I can't believe it's taken me that long to post.  There has been a lot of stuff going on with my father's dementia getting worse, and his care being an ever increasing pressure on my mom and I.  The house is in need of a lot of repair, and I can only do some of the work myself - the rest I have to pay for.  Except I'm not exactly rolling in money.

Speaking of which, the pets have cost a lot of money these last few months.  Not just in vet bills, but in things they have destroyed that need repairing.  Exhibit A:  Our kitchen chairs.

Notice anything missing?  Like THE SEAT??

The kittens are both to blame for this.  Despite having a million scratching posts that I regularly spray catnip on to keep the kitties interested, Butters and Ripple (aka the two tiny terrors) decided they preferred to use the *hand painted* woven chairs that mom brought from Mexico years ago along with the ornately painted kitchen table.  Well, now the chairs are completely unusable, and we have nothing to sit on at the table.  I thought about buying new chairs, but they are only about $20-30 cheaper per chair than getting these ones restored (which costs $150 + tax per chair, and there's four).  These broken chairs match the table, and more than that, my mother loves them.  It seems really unfair that because I rescued some cats she now has to put up with the extra indignity of mismatching kitchen furniture and the loss of furniture she loves.  She already puts up with the cats all over the place, litter boxes in the hall, cats under her feet while she cooks, and all the animals wanting in and out all day long.  So I really want to get these fixed for her.

Cost:  $678 + materials

There was another major destruction recently - my dad's hearing aid.  Exhibit B:

That's all that's left.  Mom took it off dad while she was taking him upstairs to get ready for bed one night while I was still at work late.  Except she left it on a shelf that Ripple managed to get up onto.  He got so excited by the dangling wire bit that he batted it off the shelf and completely destroyed it.  For days we didn't know what had happened to it.  Originally we thought it was our fault losing it, but Ripple brought us the wire half of it as a present, all proud of his hunting skills.  UGH.

Of course, it costs $1500 to replace.  Mom and I discussed just not getting a new one, but my father has very bad dementia, and we have noticed that without his hearing aid he is essentially deaf.  The problem with that is that without auditory stimulation, dad's brain shuts down even more.  Maybe there's no medical explanation for that, but from experience, what I can see is that without his hearing aid for a few days, he stops being able to walk down stairs (he can't figure out which foot to put in front of the other and ends up stumbling dangerously down!), eat food off a plate on his own, recognize where he is, or even recognize me.  While we were waiting for his hearing aid replacement to come in, he didn't know who I was.  He kept asking me if I was a "school friend", except he couldn't tell me who he thought I was a school friend OF.

The culprit for this cost and destruction is Ripple.  This is his attempt at an "Who me?  But I'm such a sweet, innocent kitty!" face.  I'm buying it not at all.

COST:  $1474 (taxes included)

Next up is Luna's meds.  I've been steadily increasing the dose of the Vanectyl-P as Luna became more and more immune to it's positive effects, while at the same time getting more sensitive to its negative ones.  She drank all the time, she started needing to pee often, and eventually began peeing in the house when left alone for even just a few hours.  All of that I could have figured a way around, except her eyes started getting growths on them again.  I called the vet to let him know they weren't working as well as they once were, and to ask to him to proactively start thinking about what we were going to do when the day came that the meds didn't work at all.

He mentioned there was a new drug that had just come out called Apoquel, from the same company that makes the Vanectyl-P.

COST:  $77 a month

Just now, I did a bunch of reading on it, and it's got some reports of AWFUL side effects, so now I'm completely freaked out.  But before a minute ago, I was really happy without how it was working.  Luna looks good and feels great.  So, fans of stationery - what do I do?  There's nothing else that has been controlling the growths on her eyes and the raw hamburger meat that her muzzle turns into without it.  EEK.  I think I'll have to keep going with this, but perhaps I can try lowering the dose, and I'll definitely add 6 month wellness tests for blood work to make sure everything is still okay.  Which are $250+ each time.  BLERG.

I've got a vet appointment for her tomorrow at 9:30 anyway (COST:  $75 for appointment and nail trim), so I guess I'll talk to him about maybe going to an allergy specialist.  But what if it turns out she's allergic to cats??  What do I do?  Get rid of all the cats?  I can't exactly get rid of a highly aggressive, supremely anxious, 3 year old dog.  If it were that easy, we would have rehomed her when we got her, like we had always intended to do before finding out she was so dangerous.  And I frankly don't want to get rid of ANYONE.  Man.  Okay, Simone.  Stop your brain from turning in tiny, frenzied, terrified circles and don't get ahead of yourself.  One step at a time.  Just breathe.

(10 minutes later)

Okay, I'm back.  I had to take a break, I got so worked up about this new drug potentially giving Luna cancer that I couldn't stand it anymore and needed to let off some anxiety.  I took a walk, ate some cookies, and now I'm vibrating at a slightly lower level.  Blerg, indeed.

In other news, my friend Jackie came to visit last month for a week.  It was so nice to have her here.  She lives in BC, and I'm grateful she comes back at least once a year to see me.  :)  We went hiking with Luna (who loves Jackie, and vice versa), and I've got cute pics to prove it.  Of course, she was a total disaster on the hikes.  Whenever anyone passed us, especially a cyclist, I had to jump off the trail into the brush and control Luna while she snarled, lunged, and barked loudly.  Gah.  Still, she was so happily exhausted when we got home she slept 5 hours until bed, went pee, and slept soundly through the night.  For a dog with agoraphobia, she was a trooper.  I'm proud of her.

In other breaking news, we now have Turkey Vultures living in the tree two houses down from our yard.  They are pretty big and kind of terrifying.  Let's just say Butters' days of being outside with minimal supervision are OVER.  He has to be within a few feet of Luna or myself at all times now.  Here's Luna, taking her duties seriously.  I like it when they are both safely on the deck.

 And here is Butters after a weekend day when I sat with him outside for 5 hours.  Poor guy's all tuckered out.

In amongst all this, and tons of other things going on that I won't bore you with (here are the highlights - I saved a baby nestling cardinal I found on our front porch, I couldn't save an adult squirrel the turkey vultures dropped from the top of a tree, I couldn't find a live chipmunk that Butters brought into the house, and the semi-paralyzed squirrel that had been frequenting our yard that I was nursing and making sure was protected and fed and watered disappeared after a few weeks and hasn't been seen since), I've managed to design some new stationery.  The downside is that Canada Post is about to strike, so I really can't take on new sales until I know for sure I can mail them out!  Here's a sneak peek.  I haven't finished all the sets yet and some require some tweaking.





I suppose that's it for now.  Have a great weekend, and I'll keep you posted about when the Canada Post strike is over!  I'm so desperate for funds to replace dad's hearing aid at least that when the strike is over, I'm thinking of having a 20% off (or more!) sale for fundraising purposes.

Happy letter writing!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The start of Pin-ups month

I've been working on it for a while, but I'm excited to announce that I'm almost done my series of pin-up girls!  My life is pretty hectic, and although I've completed most of the templates, sometimes I get stuck and can't come up with a design I like, so there's got to be a bit of wiggle room.  But I've got enough already done that I feel (semi?) confident putting out this schedule:

Releasing one set every Wednesday, starting next week (May 11th):
Come Eat With Me (ie. picnic time!) (3 Sheets)
Oceanside Lounging (ie. at the beach) (4 sheets)
Homebodies Have More Fun (ie. around the house) (4 sheets)
Getting Dirty (ie. fun in the garden) (4 sheets)
Women at Work pt 1. (6 sheets)
Bathing Beauties (3 sheets, maybe 4)
Women on the Move (ie. sports!) (4 sheets, maybe 5)

All the names of the sets are still subject to change.  :)

To celebrate the release of my pin-ups, I've completed and listed the first set - Postage Paid - a three sheet set of pin-ups with a snail mail / writing / fountain pen theme.  Enjoy!

Have a great day!  I'm heading home for some serious work on my short story about inuksuit.  I've joined a writing group that meets every Monday night, so I really have to step up my game.  If anyone knows any good books for tightening up my sentences without make sentence structure extremely boring, let me know.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Printing Woes

Well, I had a glorious run with the printer I used for Tomoe River, but that run is decidedly over.  I am now working with two other printers, but neither prints reliably or perfectly.  On one, the margins are 1 mm off, which means I'll have to adjust the templates accordingly.  the yellow balance is also slightly higher, which isn't terrible, unless I'm printing images with people on them.  I'll have to print the upcoming pin up sets on the second printer, which occasionally prints a white, background as light pink.  And neither printer can print more than one sheet at a time, so I now have to hand feed each sheet in at a painstakingly slow pace.  On a good day, the printers don't eat every other sheet of TR paper.  On a bad day, they won't print a single page at all.  And there is one design I can't get ANY of them to print at all - the owl from The Gentlemen set.  It's so frustrating.

The upshot is that I no longer have any reliability in terms of printing TR paper, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Because of this, I've had to change my shipping time.  I can no longer just print off a batch of TR paper without effort, on any printer I want.  I have to jump between printers, and some days none of them will print a single page.  Because I'm kind of at the mercy of the printers, I need about 5 days to get orders printed on TR paper out.  I'm really sorry about this, but my only other option was cutting TR paper entirely out of my shop, and I don't want to do that.

I've been pretty sulky about this whole printer situation, so I start watching Legend of Korra to cheer myself up.  I have become totally obsessed with it, and ended up making some personal use stationery with images from the show that I found on fan art sites.  :)

I don't have rights to the art, so it isn't something I can offer at KWS, but I love to make stationery for personal use with images from my favourite artists and shows.  I've got some cute Brian Froud ones too!

I got a really amazing note from a customer in Australia who bought some stationery to pay vet bills.  The original is thick, textured paper in light pink, and the ink is a dark crimson.  The colours didn't show up so well after being scanned, but how amazing is her writing???  I was very wowed and touched.

I sent her back some of my Korra stationery, along with a matching envelope I printed up.  I've been experimenting with printing images that match my stationery on white envelopes lately, and I'm liking it so far.  The letter below has an update about Luna, for whoever is still keeping tabs on that.

Here are some of the envelopes I've sent out lately, while I was playing with the printer.

A regular pen pal of mine sent me a letter on such gorgeous stationery that I had to share.  

Lastly, the raffle for March.  With the printer acting up so horribly, I didn't want to add to my printing to-do pile, but now it's time to get this done.  I've started with a new way of choosing the winner - I use a random number generator to give me a number, then count from both the top and bottom of the list of customers for a month.  I take the two names, then get the random number generator to pick either 1 or 2, and count from the top down to choose who wins out of the two semi-finalists.  This month, it's rx671, who beat out TamraBOrr in the semi-finals.  I've already contacted rx671, so I'm just waiting to hear back now.

Time to head out.  Have a great weekend, guys!