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!