Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Your Priorities Straight?

Just what is that exactly? I know I have responsibilities and some things have to be done in a timely fashion but I just don't feel like doing them. Like instead of writing this post I should be paying some bills but I just hate to part with my hard earned money. Now does that task take priority over cleaning and washing. My guess is yes. So I guess I won't clean or wash before I pay my bills.

Does paying bills take priority over making money? Hmm... that may be a toss up. However I think making money takes priority. The bills will always be there but the customer only appears for a split second and depending on what they see will determine whether they want to part with their money. So I think I'd better work then pay the bills. How's that for rationalization of doing what I want to do?

I've tried many ways to make extra income. You can view them all at Firecrackinmama's Business Opportunities. The surprise is that I am making some extra income. Not enough to quit my full time job and retire but enough to put gas and groceries on the table.

My favorite though is playing with my Zazzle Galleries. Firecrackinmama's Zazzle seems to do the best but it was becoming so full of different items for different holidays and occasions that I opened a few other niche galleries.

I now have:

FirecrackinFootWear - specializing in designing Keds shoes for women, toddlers and babies. It's really a lot of fun but I haven't had time to do very much lately because of my

FCM_Christmas Gallery - naturally it was the season and I spent quite a bit of time there.

One of my favorite galleries though is my Firecrackinmama's Tropics. Again it's feeling a bit neglected but I'll be back there soon. This cold weather makes me long for the tropics!

My newest however and most empty is my Firecrackinmama's Party Gallery. It's all set up and just waiting for the party items for all occasions and holidays. Should be a fun thing to do.

You may ask what is so great about Zazzle? Well, let me share with you some of the items you can get there. First you will find unique, customized/personalized gifts designed by artists, photographers and graphic designers. None of these items are found in stores unless a buyer from a store has purchased them.

Second if you don't see what you want to buy from a gallery, you have the option to design your own. Just head on over to Firecrackinmama's Create Your Own Gifts and have some fun by simply following the template instructions. Obviously if you need assistance you can contact Firecrackinmama through the Zazzle messaging system or at

If you read all the way down to here then you are probably serious about visiting one of the sites listed above. In that case don't get caught spending more money then you have to. Be sure to check out my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle Blog for the most recent discounts and deals.

Here's the list of goodies:

Zazzle: Gift Certificates - Give the gift of creativity, instantly!

Unique Christian Gifts

Wine Lovers Gifts

Unique Golf Gifts

Retirement Gifts

Groomsman Gifts

Mother-In-Law Gifts

Best Friend Gifts

Outdoorsman Gifts

Photo Buttons

Photo Keychains

Photo Stickers

Photo Postcards

Photo Calendars

Photo Gifts

Teacher Appreciation

and more if you can believe it!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Most Difficult Christmas Gift

I've had to take some time out from designing for my Zazzle Gallery to make my mother's Christmas gift. She is now 88 years young, has everything and wants nothing and loves her Russell Stover's chocolate cover nut candy. Her long term memory is great and she recognizes us all but she can't remember anything new for over five minutes.

I bring her down for dinner every night and we watch Wheel of Fortune before I take her back home. Oh, yes she still wants to be in her home. We've come to realize that taking her out of her routine and environment leads to drastic disorientation. So eventually we'll have people come in to assist her - not yet though.

The holidays haven't seemed to phase her too much. I do wonder what's going through her mind as she sits in the living room with me staring at the Christmas tree while I work on my computer. I'll ask her but I never get a real answer.

Over the past couple of years I have taken all her picture albums and let me tell you there are thousands of pictures dating all the way back to the 1800's and made DVD's for easy viewing. Somewhere along the line my family was keen on tracing their linage through photography. My mother's favorite is the one I did of my father and her's military years. It was the first one I did and the worst one as I was a newbie.

The second one I did for her was of her mother and father as babies through her marriage to my father. I gave her that one on an Easter Sunday and she became so upset we had to turn it off. I had plans to do one of my brother and I from infancy through the passing of my father. However I have hesitated since the result of the previous DVD. So I've taken a chance and am doing something else with the same theme.

Many that have followed my Blogs know that I have been doing wide format printing and making other printable items for several years now. A favorite of mine for a long time has been making booklets of all kind. The last one I did was of my niece's wedding for my mother.

My mother loved it and looks at it often. It was printed on dual sided matte paper and bound in a hard cover. It's easy for her to peruse. So I decided for Christmas I'd order up the hard bound booklets with an open frame on the front cover and make her a printed photo album of my brother and I from infancy on up stopping again at the passing of my father.

I cannot even begin to explain the feelings I have had during this project. She has a ton of pictures that I have separated into the respective years and have placed them in the order of the months. I am now on page 80 and only as far as 1954. I have to go through 1960.

As I began I noted not only my brother and I as babies but the backgrounds included in the photos. Wow, I had forgotten so many of the small items within our house that made it a home. I could actually smell the wonderful fragrance of our house and such a calming feeling of safety and security. Therefore I have been careful to capture the essence of each photo as I have cropped and feathered them.

In 1952 my favorite aunt bought this brand new convertible car and moved to Florida. Be sure to notice how happy she was. In the background is my Grandmother's apartment. She lived on the second floor with a view of our entire street from her living room window. When we were in high school my grandmother would watch out the window every morning and wave to us. She'd be there at lunch time and again after school. It was a happy time.

We went for many a fun ride in that car. My aunt was lively, beautiful and tons of fun to be around. She eventually moved back to Ocean City, NJ with her family.

For those of you from South Jersey catch this July 1953 picture of the beach in Ocean City, NJ.

I long for those days when the beaches weren't crowded! When my aunt moved back to Ocean City, NJ she only lived a block and a half from the beach. You know we had some great times there. My husband's grandparents lived in Avalon on the bay. Many a happy memory there too but the beaches were very crowded.

And for one of the most exciting Christmas ever 1955:

If I remember correctly my grandmother bought us the bicycles. Mine was a blue 20" bike that lasted forever. I remember my father teaching me how to ride without the training wheels. I ran right into a neighbor's tree. He wouldn't let me quit. Instead he took me out back of our house and put me back on the bike. It was a very slight hill, falling didn't hurt as much and I learned how to ride.

Well I'd better go back to work on this project. I'm having a good time taking this trip down memory lane. I don't think people really suffer from dementia. I think that after so many years your memory becomes so full that there's no more room to store thoughts. Like a computer.

I've started using some of the old photos. Why let them just sit, lost in the memory of a computer.

I asked my mother if I could use this picture of my father during the gas crisis. Note how much gas was back in 1942:

Gas Pump Thinking of You Card card
Gas Pump Thinking of You Card

I think I'm keeping the family tradition of memorializing our lives through photography. The digital life is soooo much easier. I had thoughts of doing a booklet for each of my kids until I saw how many pictures my mother has of each of them. Have to say if she hadn't kept a photo log of their lives, there would be very little to memorialize them. I am getting wiser as I get older.

For now have a Boomin great Sunday!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Obama's Inauguration

The major holidays within the next few weeks are not the end to all ends. Yep, once again I'm depressed because I couldn't control my desire to give. My family has become my number one charity and I wanted to make this one more memorable holiday. I'll let you know.

Meanwhile I've followed within the same paths as before - over done the credit card. Why you might ask? It wasn't on purpose. I think they have those little spiders that follow my paths and after I've made a big purchase they run back to their queen spider and say, "She's done it! She's purchased mugs!" Yep, I did and now look what happens after I ordered 20 mugs. At least they came out really well and I hope everyone will like them:

Zazzle: 10% off all mugs.  Code: AFMUGS102008 Ends: 1/31/09.

Not only did I order 20 mugs with the $3.00 discount but I ordered tees and paid the full price but because I'm sooooo pis__ed off I'm letting you in on the next big SPIDER secret!

Zazzle: End of 2008 New Years Sale - 20.08% off all shirts. Code: ZTSHIRTS2008 Ends 12/31/08.

Not only that but look what else:

Zazzle: Free shipping on apparel orders of $40 or more. Code: AFLAPPAREL40 Ends: 1/31/09.

Oh, and that's not all there are more discounts coming for Obama's Inauguration:

Get your Free hosted link banners at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good News, Bad News!

Good news - my husband called his business phone from Las Vegas to get his messages this morning at 2:00 am our time - guess all is well.
Bad news - it woke me up and I can't get back to sleep.

Good news - I got up and am cleaning, washing and finishing decorating for Christmas.
Bad news - I still have the upstairs to clean.

Good news - the coffee pot was ready to go - just pushed the button.
Bad news - each cup is getting cold in between my cleaning, washing and finishing the decorations.

Good news - I have my orthopedic doctor's appointment today for my broken Inferior Pubic Ramus aka broken butt.
Bad news - it still hurts like you know what and is hindering my cleaning, washing and finishing the decorations. Stop laughing because until you have a broken butt it will stay cracked - get it?

Good news - all my Zazzle gifts are arriving and so far everything has turned out right. Oh except for the 5x7 calendar cards. Yep the calendars were too small.
Bad news - they're strewn all over the living room and are now part of my cleaning up.

Good news - my daughter, who is coming home to stay after 8 yrs in LA and my husband left LA and are in Las Vega tonight.
Bad news - they are staying at the Bellagio with their room overlooking the fountains on the 22nd floor and where am I? Sitting in front of my computer writing a Blog while cleaning, washing and finishing decorating at 2:00 am in the morning with a broken butt three cats and a dog!

Good news - I just learned from experience that Mr. Clean's magic erasers really work.
Bad news - now I have to clean everything and I mean everything. Tip: buy stock in Mr. Clean!

Good news - tonight is Rum Cake Wednesday! Yep, have to make the rum cakes tonight so my daughter and son can take them to work as their gifts to colleagues while we give to our family, friends and loved ones.
Bad news - I have to go to work tomorrow.

Good news - I'm finally committed to learning Spanish as professional growth for my job so I purchased "Tell Me More Spanish" software levels 1 to 10 - at least that's what I thought it said when I purchased it from Amazon. I read a review that said this software was better then Rosetta Stone's.
Bad news - I returned it to Amazon yesterday. It turns out that "Tell Me More Spanish 10" is just that - level 10. I installed it and couldn't understand a thing they were saying. Off to buy Rosetta Stone's at Barnes and Noble today - 10% discount for members and my membership doesn't run out until January !! Yeah, did something right this time!!!

Good news - all the candy cane mugs I ordered for my Christmas dinner favors arrived and look magnificent if I do say so myself.
Bad news - just recounted in my head how many were going to be at the table and yep, I'm one short. I don't need one.
Candy Cane Green Satin Mug mug
Candy Cane Green Satin Mug by FCM_Christmas

Good news - I received a load of coupons to various stores for great savings on merchandise.
Bad news - I don't have any money so unless the merchandise is free it's no use to me.

Good news - I've managed to read all of last week's daily newspapers. We call it the rag because it's only a few pages but has all the local gossip.
Bad news - I read the obituaries first - must be getting old.

Good news - I have a Christmas song stuck in my head - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Bad news - does that count as hearing voices?

Good news - I'm going on a major diet!
Bad news - I start now...

Good news - I'm starting another Blog - a Firecrackinmama Thank You for everyone who has purchased from my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle!
Bad news - My customers won't see my gratitude unless they come back.

Good news - I've run out of time to continue.
Bad news - if you continue, you'll have to see my plugs.
Look your best while you bake and cook this holiday season:
Christmas Wreath Apron apron
Christmas Wreath Apron by FCM_Christmas
Make shopping easy with this holiday canvas bag:
Wreath Canvas Bag bag
Wreath Canvas Bag by FCM_Christmas
Add text to personalize this candy cane mug or remove/add an image of your own!
Candy Cane Mug mug
Candy Cane Mug by FCM_Christmas
Make an ornament or support a Marine. Add text to customize or remove the image and add your own! Great holiday gifts.
U.S. Marine Ornament photosculpture
U.S. Marine Ornament by FCM_Christmas

If you don't see anything here check out Firecrackinmama's Create Your Own!

Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 Is Coming???

Wow can you believe it 2009 is right around the corner. I remember in 1999 the world was supposed to end at midnight December 31. The computers were to go nuts and all was to be lost. Maybe it is and I'm so computer challenged that I don't know. However we've had many a happy, happy, happy New Year since then.

We've always partied whether I was sick, suffering from pain or totally as normal as I can get. Decorations and the same old gang came for years. You were only invited if you were within walking distance. Just so happens that a couple of our neighbors' (friends') kids went to school with our kids and they were as stuck as we were. I remember one year that the kids will never forget. They stayed up all night and we all went over to the Renwick's for Eggs Benedict. Oh, yum!!

There are quite a few memorable years that we do have fun reminiscing about when we get together. The kids are all grown now and have their own lives. I still love New Year's Eve but have calmed down quite a bit. After all I don't want to break the other Interior Pubic Ramus whatever the hell that is but it hurts like hell.

So this year we will once more party but this year will be slightly different in that my daughter that has been out in CA for 8 years is coming home to stay. That is until she can't take us anymore. Her pet cats arrived yesterday via American Airlines in good condition. They miss her already and when I decided to introduce them to our cat (he's about 2 times the size of her biggest cat) our cat went a bit nuts. Just wait until we introduce them to our dog!!

Anyway back to New Year's Eve. Since we don't have "parties" any more I decided to design some party invitations for those who do. Then I expanded the ideas to tees, steins and stickers. Just imagine how far I'll go by next year.

Yep, of course I'm going to plug here.

Have to say though that I'm partial to:
New Year's 2009 Party Invitation card
New Year's 2009 Party Invitation by FCM_Christmas
Stacked Champagne New Year's Pin button
Stacked Champagne New Year's Pin by FCM_Christmas

So much for the plugs.

Well, I'm tired and the Eagles are about to come on.

Happy New Year's everyone!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Broke My Butt!

It is absolutely unreal how crazy things become around this time of year. Within the last week I've spent tons of money on gifts I've made at Zazzle, had to have an MRI on my butt only to find out it's broken, bought software to learn Spanish, am preparing for my daughter to come home from CA for good (happy to do all that-can't wait for her to come), and learned first hand that I need more items in my galleries!

I've had a pretty good first year at Zazzle considering there are hundreds, if not thousands, of very talented artists, photographers and graphic designers all selling their items as well. It's almost like an exclusive mall for unique and customized gifts. All I know is that I'm having one great time and learning so much about the Internet.

Yes, that learning has come at a cost though. Last year in April I had my third abdominal surgery within 3 yrs that took until August for me to really be getting back on my feet to exercise. The problem is that with each surgery I gained at least 12lbs. So when August rolled around I was too fat to even feel like exercising anything but my fingers and my eyes. Yep, I sat on the hardest chair around designing, marketing and selling my items online.

I worked so hard and so long that in the middle of November I did something to my leg and experienced the most excruciating pain when I tried to walk. Naturally most of the pain was around my butt. So off to the long list of doctors and their theories of what could be wrong. If you've had experiences with doctors you know the first thing they do is send you for zillions of tests. I nixed that one right quick.

The first test requested was for an ultrasound in which I was to drink 32oz. of water one hour before the test and momentarily before drink some more. All right for those of you who don't know at my age there is no way that is going to happen but I called to schedule the test anyhow. However two days before I did a trial run. I think I had 16oz going on 24oz before I knew I wasn't going to be able to handle it.

Since I couldn't do that test the next thing was instructing me to see a string of specialists. I called the first specialist for the colonoscopy. It didn't matter that I was in pain and suffering the best they could do for me was schedule an appointment in January. Mind you now this was around Thanksgiving and I had already missed two days of work. Oh, and before that I had to go for some consultation - no thanks. The second specialist was a urologist. He was willing to see me if I had had some tests completed and I had to have a consultation with him. On top of that I was clueless of who this guy was. So naturally I Googled him - not very impressive.

Meanwhile at home my husband was becoming quite agitated that nothing was really being done to help. I told him I had called our primary and he couldn't see me until the middle of December. What's wrong with this picture folks?

I guess it was the second week in December that I finally made a house call to the primary's office. No fooling around here - been a patient of that office for 25 years and only go when I'm sick or in pain such as now. I managed to dodge the desk help and see the office manager - who I've known as long as I've gone there. I explained my plight and said it was time for me to locate another primary who would be willing to see me when I was sick and not wait until I was dead.

Amazing what can happen when you know the right person. I saw the primary on Monday. It was rather embarrassing explaining my symptoms but I didn't care I was in pain and not in the mood for a ton of ridiculous tests to rule out this and that. What a surprise he concurred, after all he did feel some type of mass. So an MRI it was of my pelvic region.

I have a history with MRI's. Actually broke one - claustrophobic. This was in an earlier life time - at least I now know what it would be like to live eternity in a coffin. Hah, not me. I'm definitely going to be cremated and sprinkled over somebody's vineyard.

Originally the radiology service I was to use scheduled me for an MRI for tomorrow. It was a closed one like before and not knowing how long it would take for me to schedule for the "opened" one I took the appointment. However Monday night I awoke to the most awful feeling - I'd been dreaming about the "closed" MRI machine. Tuesday I called and didn't care how long it was going to take to use the "opened" machine. Wow! they took me yesterday morning!

The one thing I've learned over the years is that if something is wrong it really doesn't take those 3-4 days for reports to get back to the doctor. So I knew if I received a phone call yesterday after the test - I'd be in trouble.

The call came in the late afternoon. I was sitting in the parking lot with my mother in the car preparing to go buy my MegaMillions ticket - hmmm...I wonder if I won. Anyhow after going through a string of things they found floating around in my body that weren't apparently causing the pain, the doctor asked me if I had fallen recently or had some type of trauma. No. Now my curiosity was peaked. Well, it turns out that I broke my Inferior Pubic Ramus - What the Hell is that???

Googled it. Hope Wikipedia is right. Now I have to go see an orthopedic and take my films with me. Can you hear me on the phone now trying to schedule that appointment.

"Hello, I would like to schedule and appointment."
"Ok, and what type of problem are you having, Mrs. Firecrackinmama?" asks the receptionist.
"I broke my butt and my primary told me to come see a doctor there to fix it," I reply. (I've forgotten how to punctuate these thingys)
"Oh, that hurts," she replies.
Duh??? "Yes, it does."
"How did you break you butt?" she asks.
Now comes the good part. "I don't know."
"Did you fall?"
"No, and I haven't done much but sit on my butt and work my Zazzle online store," I answered. Ha! A good plug! "Yes, I'm"
"Oh, that's funny. I'll have to check that out some time."
How about right now. I need traffic!
"Have you had any tests, Firecrackinmama?" she asks.
"Why yes I have. I had an MRI without and with contrast."
"Did that show the fracture?"
Pause... I need to gather myself and not reply in a sarcastic, demeaning or nasty way. "Why I guess it did since they told me it was broken and I'm suppose to make an appointment with an orthopedic." How's that?
"Well, how do you think you broke your butt?" she asks.
"To tell you the truth, I think it was from sitting on it for too long."
"Sitting on it for too long?"
"Yes, sitting on it too long." Another chance for a plug for my site. I added, "I've been working on my products for my site. I just opened my Firecrackinmama's Christmas Gallery and sitting on the hardest chair in the world. However last week my husband and I went over to Sam's Club and I bought a new desk chair. It's quite comfortable to sit in and work on my new gallery."
"Hmm, well that's nice," she replies. Guess she missed the plug. "It looks like we have an opening with Dr. So&So on February 28,2009 at 6:00am. Would you like that one?"

Actually the orthopedic that I will see, I've been to before and things won't go that badly - at least I hope not.

Now for the visuals or not. Will they put my butt in a cast? I know they'll give me pain pills - sorry but they are worthless they make me sick to my stomach. Welp, I'll let you know.

I guess some others have had some interesting medical issues with doctors too.

Ask Your Doctor T-Shirt shirt
Ask Your Doctor T-Shirt by ninthcircle
Funny Medical Print! print
Funny Medical Print! by mayc00p
Doctor T-shirt shirt
Doctor T-shirt by medicaltshirts

And now for the Grand Finale!!!! Three Booms Please!!!

Gifts for Nurses & Patients card
Gifts for Nurses & Patients by medicalhumor

Boom! Boom!! Boom!!!

Well, here's to a happy, wealthy and healthy new year to all!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy New Year's & One Stop Discounts At

Zazzle. Now I don't know for sure but the last discount flashing icon that I had over there on the right side of my Blog gave me every available discount there was when I went shopping and it applied to each and every item. See them over there flashing?

At first I started off using my other Blog below taking the code and entering it. Well I bought more then one calendar and I wasn't getting the discount because you could only use the code once. I needed mugs and mousepads so I tried the flashing icon and Boom it gave me a discount on everything. However I did forget to apply the code for the free shipping on some of my items.

Learn from my mistakes -

$1.00 shipping on purchases over $45.00

$1.00 shipping offer applies to orders when order subtotal is greater than $45 (excluding shipping and taxes) and the coupon code ONEDOLLARGRD is applied at checkout. The $1.00 shipping offer is for ground shipping to U.S. addresses only (except for Zazzle Custom Stamps where standard shipping to U.S. addresses is applied). Shipping charges will apply to orders being shipped on an expedited basis or outside the U.S. Offer is valid from December 6, 2008 through December 15, 2008 at 11:59 pm PST. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special offer. This promotional offer may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers.

Their shipping is quite expensive so take advantage of what I didn't.

With that out of the way I have to share my newest designs for New Year's Eve. For the past two years I had a product line for New Year's but no designs. Yesterday, as today, I couldn't sleep but I was in the party mood so I finally designed some invitations for a New Year's Party.

I started with this design:

Then I decided that we don't have a champagne pocketbook or a Margarita one for that matter and went to this design:

Finally I just had some fun and created this one:

Now I'm really in the party mode! So back to having some fun!

Happy Holidays and be safe while surfing the net for the best deals!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Waste Your Time Searching For

the best deals at Zazzle because all you have to do is click on the icon in the top right hand corner of my Blog to get them all. See it flashing over there?

I just finished purchasing items on my Christmas list for family, friends and loved ones. At first I was trying to enter the code each time for multiple calendars but it only takes it once. Then I clicked on the icon and went shopping - it did everything from mugs, calendars, cards, mousepads and more automatically!!!

Wow! Wow!! Wow!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Only A Few Days Left To

order and receive online gifts in time for Christmas!

Normally this doesn't bother me because I've already decided what to buy for everyone. This year however I am clueless on what to get anyone. Maybe it's because money is tight and I don't want to buy things that my friends, family and loved ones won't use. The other thought was that perhaps there's so much out there that I don't know what to get. Or maybe it's just because I'd like to see Christmas go back to the way it should be: family, a tree, cookies, dinner, fun, singing, laughing and sharing homemade gifts that are priceless.

Since I started my I've moved away from the "homemade" gifts of yesteryear for a couple of reasons. First I no longer enjoy needlepoint and other crafting skills and second the price of the materials to create far exceeds the budget. Third, I really enjoy photography and making products using the images. Fourth, I consider my online business successful and everyone likes success.

Today I was in the mood to design canvas bags. Here is a way everyone can go green and at the same time make life easier when shopping, going on vacation or going to Grandma's house. Last year I purchased three of these bags.

This year I opened my FCM_Christmas store and am offering more holiday varieties. It's slow going but by next year should be well on it's way.

I prefer the beach bags myself. Simply because they pull tight at the top and seem perfect for all occasions.

However everyone else seems to like to design their own. So if you're one of them, this is for you!! Simply click on the bag below and choose from a variety of styles and colors. Follow the directions for uploading your image and add text to personalize it.

Have a happy holiday and remember only a few days left to enjoy designing, creating and ordering your special Christmas gifts!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shop, Save & Earn

I have belonged to this fabulous site for about 2 years now. When I first joined it was very basic and I notified a friend of mine who joined. A referral type system thingy. I also tried shopping but they were just getting started and the stores were far and few between. Since then I've stopped by every so often because each month PayPal was sending me an e-mail of earnings from that site.

Today I'm ready to do some Christmas shopping. I can tell you I'm not really excited about it because I still have this post traumatic stress condition from years past when we went into significant debt just to buy for everyone. I've scoured the newspapers for their big sales but I hate crowds so I'm not going out. So the next big thing is the Internet.

As I started on my shopping excursion I stopped by my PayPal account to check on what was happening there. Those of you who don't have one click on my PayPal thingy in the upper right hand side of this blog. You can't go wrong.

Low and behold what should I find but a nice deposit from my BigCrumbs!

I started wondering how I was doing over there so I checked it out. Wow has it changed and I really need to be more attentive. As of this posting I have been to BigDog and purchased two shirts for $14.99. One of those buy one get one free. Shipping is free for orders over $100. Mine was only $4.99 and it is UPS!

You can set up your account with favorite stores. Mine were very few because as I said before the site wasn't very big when I started. However now it seems that every store is there.

I'd like to continue with this post later and let you know how I do. Had to get it out early as many of the stores are still offering specials through tomorrow.

Can't hurt to check it out.

Have a Firecrackin great time Shopping, Saving and Earning!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

First New Year's Resolution

Incentives are coming fast and furious at my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle. A few months ago volume bonuses were offered. Now for 2009 I could become a Pro Seller. Wow, the pressure is on.

When the volume bonuses were offered I didn't think I'd have a chance to take advantage of it but low and behold I've been in on it for 3 months now. Happiness is that there are people out there who do like my work, as strange as it is.

A Pro Seller however is quite different and I'm not sure how that will work out for me. I keep reminding myself that I do this certainly for the money but more because it's fun and something non stressful. If I sell, I sell.

I already find the marketing can become stressful as there are new offers almost on a daily basis and tons of kind people who want you to become part of their sites in advertising. I certainly do appreciate the many offers but I'm lucky if I can get my Blog out and perhaps upload a few new designs for products each day let alone get all the good deals out there.

I guess I'll make my first New Year's Resolution: Start posting the offers.

Free shipping on postage orders

One or more qualifying sheets of postage (sheets of 20) must be purchased to qualify for the free shipping offer. The coupon code STMPHOLIDAYS must be entered during checkout to receive the offer. The free shipping offer is for standard shipping to U.S. addresses only. Shipping charges will apply to orders being shipped on an expedited basis or outside the U.S. Offer is valid from October 27, 2008 through December 31, 2008 at 11:59 pm PST. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special offer. This promotional offer may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers. Offer applicable only to orders where Standard or Basic shipping is offered. (Some oversized and high volume orders are too large for these services.)

I sold this stamp and purchased it myself for my Firecrackinmama's 2nd Online Christmas Party postcards. Once you click on the stamp you can select any value to suit your mailing needs and buying in bulk saves you dollars as well.

See more at Firecrackinmam's Postage and FCM_Christmas Postage

40% off calendars

40% off calendars discount is applied to orders of one or more qualifying calendars and applies to the price of the product, not to shipping, taxes, and other charges. The coupon code CALENDARSAVE must be entered during checkout to receive the offer. Offer is valid from October 1, 2008 through December 15, 2008 at 11:59pm PST. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special promotional pricing offer. This promotional offer may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers.

Firecrackinmama offers unique and various style calendars:

Here is a sample of a 12 month calendar. For a complete view stop by Firecrackinmama's Calendars.

Each 12 month calendar has a beautiful thematic image for each month. I have until Sunday to decide which one I'm going to purchase this year for myself.

Since the quality of the 12 month calendars is so good I decided to make a more functional mouse pad. Notice now that the mouse pad is no longer just for the mouse but now you can use the daily calendar to keep track of vacation and weekends and of course special events. I use a marker to circle important dates. After all it is only for one year.

The quality of the greeting cards here is outstanding. I've purchase quite a few and with the special sales still in effect I plan to purchase my calendar cards for friends, family and loved ones. Once I've customized/personalized the card by adding text or a different image inside the card I'll send it on. The recipient now has a very unique greeting and can separate the front of the card and frame it for easy use.

I would be lost without my full year poster calendar. The months do not deter from the beautiful image. These are great for businesses to give to their customers.

So if you want to see more stop on by Firecrackinama's Calendars.

50% off Greeting Cards

50% off cards discount is applied to orders of one or more qualifying cards and applies to the price of the product, not to shipping, taxes, and other charges. The coupon code ZAZZLECARD50 must be entered during checkout to receive the offer. Offer is valid from November 26, 2008 through December 6, 2008 at 11:59pm PST. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special promotional pricing offer. This promotional offer may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers.

Again I have to emphasize the quality of cards at Zazzle is outstanding. One of my favorite things is to make invitations and insert the inside of the card with the necessary info. You can choose between the regular 5"x7" cards or the invitation size of 4"x6". The cards can be customized/personalized. I'm very happy that my customers have liked and purchased these cards.

I like to think outside the box too. There are so many cards and it seems I do have them all over the place. Perhaps my Second New Year's Resolution should be to organize my cards and perhaps my gallery in a better fashion.

50% off Business Cards

50% off business cards discount is applied to orders of 1 or more qualifying business cards or chubby cards and applies to the price of the product, not to shipping, taxes, and other charges. The coupon code BIZCARDSAVER must be entered during checkout to receive the offer. Offer is valid from October 1, 2008 through December 15, 2008 at 11:59pm PST. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special promotional pricing offer. This promotional offer may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers.

Business cards sell themselves and most of the times the customer wants to do their own. Well you can.

Another item in which you can choose your own sizes, paper and fonts. Great way to get your business name out there.

However I again was thinking out of the box and created gift tags from what they call their profile cards.

Christmas Tree Christmas Tag Card profilecard
Christmas Tree Christmas Tag Card by Firecrackinmama

There are thousand of items to choose from but if you really want to do your own thing and create your own, go ahead and have some Firecrackin good times. Just click on Create Your Own Gifts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's Thanksgiving

For years I never liked Thanksgiving but within the past five years I have really grown to like it. It's strange which holidays you select to be your favorite. Christmas and New Year's Eve are my favorite. Although I love the Fourth of July. My husband and youngest daughter love Thanksgiving. I believe my oldest daughter's favorite holiday is Ground Hog's Day with Christmas coming in second. My son, hmmm... he likes all the ones that have good food but if I had to take a guess I'd say his favorite is Christmas.

We're supposed to give Thanks on this special day. I know I'm thankful for many things. I also know that sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone and you've forgotten to be thankful. Many people today are in that boat. I always call it a learning lesson. Maybe that's where they got the new term of "Lifelong Learning".

I want to keep this on a light note though. On my way home yesterday I stopped to get my turkey.

Money is tight so it's at least a fresh turkey. :) I'm thankful for our turkey. I kept it in the cooler out on the deck because there wasn't any room for it in the refrigerator. It made it through the night without some strange creature stealing it. I always think of Christmas Story with Ralphy and Randy.

I guess there is only one way to put this Thanksgiving - Memorable.

You know you want to have a clean house for your guests. Well the only guest we were having is my mother but I still like a clean house. Many posts ago I mentioned that my husband is selling telephone systems for small businesses that is really cool. So that I could get a full understanding of the way it works he installed the system in our home. We now have to dial 9 plus the number - hmmm...

Anyhow we still had this white phone connected but no one was using it and my feeling was that it was getting in the way. So in the course of dusting I asked him if it was a necessity and his reply being no led to me removing it. Now to many that's no big deal. Shortly after I started disconnecting it, and I might add that it was a willing participant in this ordeal, the phone in the other room rang. My daughter's friend had called shortly before my task so I thought it was her calling again. However the conversation was a bit weird.

Upon conclusion of that phone call my daughter called into me asking if I had dialed 911. The call was from a 911 operator because of a 911 hangup. In the course of the conversation with the 911 operator and a police officer she had tried to explain that I was disconnecting a telephone and must have accidentally pushed quick dial. They really didn't care a police officer was headed our way.

Very embarrassing. However the officer was very handsome and appeared to be around my daughter's age. So being a holiday we did invite him to dinner. He graciously declined.

Other then that little bit of excitement dinner went off fine and we spent the evening watching the Eagles win at last!!

It's not too late to get a very special Season's Greeting card, gift and entertainment all in one. Check it out. Football fans will love it.

This is probably one of my best products that I sell locally. Within the stadium are 15 Santa hidden amongst the fans. One of my friends is a barber and puts his board up every year. He runs a 50-50 with half of the proceeds going to a charity. Another friend has requested a new board for her holiday guest. I now have 5 different boards.

Well I hope everyone else had a Firecrackin Great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Never Thought They Would Sell

When I first started my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle my website was called Photofunonline where my by line was "Use Your Photos Don't Abuse Them". I was clueless but it was fun. Not too long after I had made a sale at Firecrackinmama's Zazzle and followed site meter for a while I found more traffic going to my Zazzle store and more keyword searches on engines for Firecrackinmama. So I deleted Photofunonline and opened I continue to use my by line however added that "Every Picture Has A Story".

So I was thinking out of the box and just having some good old fashion fun with our photos. My husband would silently laugh and wonder why in the world I would offer some of the items for sale. I'm even amazed that these have sold. I liked them and I guess some others have too. Perhaps it's because you can alter the items by adding your own text. Personalizing things has much more meaning to the recipient.

This is the most recent unusual card that sold. We took our three kids on a cruise to celebrate our 35th Wedding Anniversary. They had friends that also joined us on the cruise which made the whole event a wonderful memory. As you can see white water rafting was offered as an excursion. Only my son had ever been on such a ride and he even commented that this one in Costa Rica was much rougher then the one he had been on. We were told that this was a mild ride. I think they classified it as a "2" or whatever. However, our guide Alex said it ran a "3-4". All I remember was Alex telling me to hold on and paddle. I kept wondering how do I hold on and paddle. In short it was a wonderful excursion and we all still talk about it when we get together.

Believe it or not someone other then me bought this holiday card last year. Chrysie has an unbelievable personality and I thought this would be a perfect way of showing her off. The bar was located in Costa Maya. I say "was" as it was destroyed by Hurricane Dean shortly after we left port. It was in an ideal location on the beach with it's small restaurant across from it where my daughter and I had gone after our high speed boat excursion. I needed a drink after her many attempts to kill me with her driving.

Since I had finally found a way to make digital Christmas lights, I felt that a Chevy Chase Christmas was appropriate for this bar and of course for Chrysie's Mexican hat. The hat by the way was extracted from my daughter's head as she posed for a picture in Disney World. The puppies are Chrysie when she was little. Believe it or not we only had one picture of her as a puppy. Wow!

Again I guess the option of inserting text and your own message was something that drew this customer to the card.

This collage was designed from photos of that same trip to Majahual and our high speed boat excursion. I just wanted to prove that I did live through it. My daughter and I were enjoying our lunch at restaurant across from the above bar and these were things we could see just from that seat. The guides had gone across to a Palm tree next to the bar and snagged some coconuts. They split them open for us and we enjoyed them. The building at the top of the card is the hotel on the beach. It only cost $35.00/night.

Maybe the customer had been to the same place. However I had another customer purchase 10 of these cards.

Yes, someone bought this postcard. We had gone on a 4 wheeler excursion to this remote beach area and this is what we saw first. I couldn't resist.

Perhaps one of the most unusual sales is this one:

Chrysie loves the water and whenever she has a chance to go swimming, she swims underwater, thus the name Scuba Dog. I was playing around one morning with the Sting Ray underwater photo. I think I cleaned it up as best I could. Then I wanted to demonstrate how shallow the water was by placing the boat above. Well, one thing led to another and this is what I designed.

Someone else in the world enjoyed my card. I would love to know what they did with it.

The holidays are always a fun time to develop new and unusual images. I'm getting better at manipulating the photos and making an entirely new image.

Last year someone at Greeting Cards Universe requested Christmas cards with an Angus cow in it. I developed one and then at Zazzle I developed a sticker to match the card. This year the sticker seems to be pretty popular.

Perhaps one of my greatest surprises was selling my LA 2009 twelve month calendar. The photos presented are from a touris'ts view and one shot I love is the Rent A Horse month. My daughter lives in Burbank not too far from the Equestrian Club. I went for a walk back into the area and found a building that actually advertised "Rent A Horse". A bit further down the road I found two horses tied to a post waiting for their riders. So I extracted one and put it in front of the Rent A Horse Building. I thought only in LA.

This is one of my favorite calendars this year. I just might buy it myself.

However the best of sales seems to have come from the most unlikely place.

My Create Your Own products. Thank you to all who have been adventurous enough to design your own gifts. I only wish I could have seen how they were customized.