Monday, June 29, 2009

My First Week of Summer Vacation

Ah, I'm getting a taste of what retirement might be like. You don't have to squeeze cleaning, washing and grocery shopping into the two day weekend. Nope I can spread out these futile tasks over a week or not do them at all. I get to design and make new products for my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle and work on my never ending task of refining my site. The most realistic part of this trial retirement is that there's no income but plenty of bills.

My first week off found me spending most of my time with a load of men. Yep, they're still working on the house. After the garage doors, which I posted in Firecrackinmama's World: It's Saturday!!!, both the window guys and the roofing guys showed up the following Friday, my last day at work.
Would you believe that both of the contractors' first name was George! Wow, what fun it was calling "George!" and both guys would respond.

This George did our windows

I think they did a great job with our windows and they were in and out in two days. We had 23 windows replaced. George was the third bid we received and a real Phillies fan, not that that had anything to do with hiring his company. We decided on a pewter color window with an almond trim since the front of our house is gray and the back and sides blue.

The funniest part of all this is that you know your home is looking bad but since it's yours and you see it on a daily basis, it never looks quite as bad as it really is or you're in denial of how bad it really looks. For example:

House before anything was done.

House with new garage doors and front windows almost complete and new roof in progress.

The gutters will be replaced once all the work on the deck is finished. We have the Davis Brothers doing the roof and the decks out back.

We had Brian back in the nineties come and cap the house and put the gray barn siding in the front. The older we get the more maintenance free we need. They do great work and are very dependable. George is in charge of our newest needs but Brian is here too.

As of Wednesday the roof was finished:

The windows were finished but the roof was still underway.

Windows and roof are finished! Gutters will be replaced last.

The original design and deck building was done by a defunct group. Here's what these guys have to redo.

We love our decks and have gotten a great deal of enjoyment out of them - mostly for party reasons but great for relaxing. In my defense I generally do the gardens around the decks and clean them up but since we were having them refurbished, I didn't bother this year. Instead I cut back all the 20 plus year old shrubs and my husband and I are in the process of pulling out the stumps - trying not to get in their way.

The guys were moving along so well that hubby and I went to Lowe's to buy the outdoor fan, storm doors and entry doors. Do you know how much a new front door costs? Holy cow!!

By Friday of last week this is how far they had gotten.

Notice the biggggg shrubs are gone.

George is going to make sun bursts in the two empty railing areas

They'll be here shortly. I've been keeping them well hydrated with a big cooler full of drinks and ice oh, and of course a cold, cold brew at the end of the long hot days.

Well, I'm off to the store to get more drinks and ice to fill the cooler.

Have a Firecrackin great day everyone!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Scuba Dog Collection

I've been wanting to do something special with the images I've taken of our Springer Spaniel. She is such a character and a big ham when it comes to having her picture taken. I've written about her several times in my Blog, Firecrackinmama's World: I've Been Trained Well. I've also wanted to create some educational products but for some strange reason lately my academic creativity is having a major Senior Moment that has lasted for over a month.

Saturday however may have been a break through. Recently through a Forum I read about ACEO's and ATC's. Yeah, like what are they? Well, evidently there's a big market out there for "Art Cards Editions and Originals" (ACEO) and Art Trading Cards (ATC). In short it's like all those trading cards we use to collect and trade. So what the heck? I decided to try it out. I designed my cards on these chubby cards and loved the way they came out.

Thus the creation of the "Scuba Dog" Collection. As I mentioned she is a character and a very loveable character. Therefore her collection is based on character development. These cards can easily be used as reinforcers for educators promoting positive character traits within their students. It's an open edition as I'm coming up with new ideas every day.

Scuba Dog
Scuba Dog "Diversity" Trade Card by Firecrackinmama

(back of card)
Diversity: the political and social policy of encouraging tolerance for people of different backgrounds.

The above original image was taken while on an excursion to Costa Maya in 2007, just before it was destroyed by hurricane Dean. Scuba Dog was greatly upset that she couldn't go. I was just having some fun when I made this originally as a Christmas card. You can find it in my FCM_Christmas Store.

(back of card)

Sympathy: is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings.

I've flown many times and have been awestruck by the clouds. This particular set of clouds was absolutely beautiful. When we had to put the yellow lab down in 2007 Scuba Dog was so depressed. I decided to make a card with these two friends.

(back of card)

This was the first time I went snorkeling. It was while we were on an excursion in the Grand Cayman. Swimming with the stingrays was going an extra mile for me. I was once stung by a Portuguese Man-of-War and never liked being in the ocean after that. Again this was a fun card to make and of course Scuba Dog came to my mind immediately. A great card for those kids who do go the extra mile in whatever may be most difficult for them.

(back of card)

the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.

Those of you who have pets know that when you go away you do think about them. This was my first time to visit Cozumel and I thought it was a perfect way to remember it. Again I was just having some fun when I put Scuba Dog and his now best buddy Land Lubber Cat in the photo. That's just about the extent the cat would go. Laying in the lounge chair and soaking up the sun.

Scuba Dog
Scuba Dog "Sharing" Trading Card by Firecrackinmama

(back of card)
Share is to give part of what one has to someone else to use or consume.

We were on an excursion in Belize visiting a cave full of a pirate's treasure. The card can be found as an invitation that was entered into a contest. I couldn't help but think of Scuba Dog when I designed this card. She loves her ball and toys but don't think you can keep them. Her little mind thinks she is going to play as soon as anyone touches her treasures.

(back of card)

Kindness is the act or the state of being kind and marked by charitable behavior, marked by mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others.

This is truly the first Scuba Dog design. It was made in 2007 from this original photo.

To me this was priceless. You can see Scuba Dog really thinks she's human. If you don't watch yourself, you'll find yourself talking to her as if she was human.

I'm continuing to make more Scuba Dog trading cards and plan to start a Land Lubber Cat series as well. Both characters are very smart and clever therefore I have to make some posters too.

Have a Firecrackin Great Day!