Saturday, October 31, 2009

You're Invited!

How weird is this? I loved to give parties but I really, really never liked going to them. Most of the time when I was little I would tell my mother I didn't feel good right before I was to go to a birthday party. Now I have gone to parties but suffered through them. I thought of this as I'm preparing to attack and find our basement within the next week. We have a ton of decorations for various holidays, party themes and barbecues. It's time to say good-bye to all those decorations because I no longer have the energy to put parties together and now I really, really, really, really don't like going to them either.

As my grandmother use to say "the spirit is willing, but the body ain't". For me that's very true. I haven't lost the spirit of partying so I've put what little energy that is left into designing invitations for some of my favorite types of parties.

Halloween has always been at the top of my holiday fun so I tried to keep my invitations spooky yet fun. I always make sure there is an image inside the card.

Bats Halloween Invitation card
Bats Halloween Invitation by Firecrackinmama

You can find more in my Halloween Store along with some other neat things.

Ah, the Christmas holidays and of course New Year's Eve!

Christmas Tree Snow Globe Invitation card
Christmas Tree Snow Globe Invitation by FCM_Christmas

Those are just a couple of my favorites.

And for the beer pocketbook:

Here's my newest:

Just having a cocktail party? How about something like this?

Last year I had Firecrackinmama's 2nd Online Party. Hmm... now that wasn't bad maybe I'll have a Firecrackinmama's 3rd Online Party. Stay tuned to see what I decide.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!! Go Phillies!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greeting Cards - Tis the Season!

As I was growing up I can remember my mother, grandmothers, friends and family sending greeting cards for any and all occasions. Better yet running to the mail box to see if I had received mail was the most exciting part of the day. That excitement carried on through my college years as there was no e-mail or cell phones. Nowadays I love to receive cards but I seem to only find bills, advertisements and and other junk mail.

Although I love to receive I am very bad at sending. Mostly because I hate to take the time to go to a card store and look through the thousands of cards for just the perfect one. My mother on the other hand loved to look at all the cards. Due to my laziness I started designing and printing my own cards. That worked for a bit but it took a lot of time. Now I've found the perfect solution. I design and publish to print on demand websites.

There have been multiple benefits to this method. The best perhaps is the ability to select cards for various occasions and give them as a gift to those who still take pleasure in sending greeting cards. I put a pack of stamps in the package too as most no longer have the ability to go to the post office. I also have the ability to peruse the thousands of cards from my computer rather then stand in a store overwhelmed. Finally I can make a selection and customize and/or personalize it before purchasing. Now that becomes a gift in itself. Last year I gave the cards with a small 5" x 7" frame. The quality is so good that they can be hung on walls, set on desks or end tables.

Then there was the great debate as to whether I should insert a verse and give the customer the ability to delete or change it or just leave the inside of the card blank. Up to now I've left most of my cards blank. That gives the customer the option to use the text tool to add their own or if they do as I do, use the inkjet tissue paper to type your message, cut it, and use the clear glue to make it look like a professional card.

These are some of my favorite cards:

Snowy Window Seasons Greetings Card card
Snowy Window Seasons Greetings Card by FCM_Christmas
Browse other cards on
This card comes as an invitation as well

Believe it or not we didn't start sending out Christmas cards until I started designing them. Of course they were very inexpensive in many stores but the quality wasn't what I thought very good and they were all the same card. The quality of these cards is great and I get bulk rates even though I by a variety of them.

Christmas Tree Merry Christmas card
Christmas Tree Merry Christmas by FCM_Christmas
More Christmas Cards
This card comes as an invitation too.

Hollow Tree Happy Holiday Card card
Hollow Tree Happy Holiday Card by FCM_Christmas
See more Hollow Cards
This card comes with matching postage as do most.

The above card is one of my favorites. I had a tree on one layer while I added all my Christmas balls. Someone interrupted me and I accidentally deleted the tree. This is what was left and I loved it!

The Tiger Buddies Season's Greeting Card really hit someone's fancy bone as they purchased 250 of them at my Firecrackinmama's Card Store! Since they bought in bulk they paid only $1.79 per card.

When someone or a company sees one of your designs and likes it so much that they buy it in bulk. Last year a law firm liked the card below and bought 492 of them at my Firecrackinmama's Card Store. They ordered one first to check the quality. They paid $1.79 per card too. However if they had ordered 500 cards they would have paid $1.49 per card. They requested from Greeting Cards that their logo be placed on the card. That wasn't any problem to me.

If the law firm had ordered the card from Zazzle above, they could have purchased matching postage.

I've sold some of the next card.

Holiday Scales stamp
Holiday Scales by Firecrackinmama

I hate to break the news to everyone but there's only 55 days until Christmas. I have plenty of unique cards that can easily be customized and/or personalized so come on by! I'll leave you with a few others that I think are pretty good.

This was my first try at making photo card templates.

Well, have a Firecrackin Great Day and if you want to see more come on over to:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Entered A Contest!

Ever since I was little I've always entered contests. My elementary school had a May Fair every year and gave prizes for the best poster. Fire Prevention week was another poster event. Then I reached out further. I can't remember what show gave away Polaroid cameras but I must have entered that over a thousand times - and never won. I continued to enter various contests as I got older. You know trying to win a free car, trip or whatever. Still I never won. I think it was the anticipation that kept me going.

Well, when I started with Firecrackinmama's Zazzle they had contests going about every other month. Now I knew from the start I didn't have a chance because of the awesome talent of others who helped me along as I got started. Still it was fun. So once again I took a chance and entered their Binders Recipe Book contest.

It's a bit different then the previous contests as it is limited to each person entering just one binder not each gallery. So I put the following together.

It works for me. I had fun designing it but take a look at my competition.

Can you feel the hunger pains in your stomach?

The above one could sit out anywhere. I thought it was really cool and it would be easy to find on my bookshelf. It of course can be customized with any name.

I love Italian!!!

Holiday Recipes Red, Green & Gold Binder binder
Holiday Recipes Red, Green & Gold Binder by mistyqeholidays

I thought this was a very eloquent and nice gift for the holidays.

Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Now that's what I'm talkin about!!!

The College CookBook Binder binder
The College CookBook Binder by Sengli
Every college kid needs some type of cook book if for nothing else a place to keep take-out menus!

I love the humor and image on this one!

As of today there were 359 entries. It looks to me as though there is something to suit everyone. That is if you want a recipe binder.

As for me I need a binder for all those secret recipes that I won't share like my Rum Cake. That's a very big secret. I also want one that I can keep my take-out menus as for now they are all in a drawer and we have to take time to rifle through them to find where we want to order.

So that's just a small part of my competition. I can't wait to see who wins.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Disabled Goat

I work with disabled children and am amazed at what they are able to do if given a chance. While some of the schools I visit provide more chances to do things than others all provide a social life for our students. Acceptance and friendship are difficult for the disabled. That's why it is important to remember that you can't tell a book by its cover.

As I headed out on a road trip last Wednesday to conduct a Learning Evaluation I couldn't help but reflect on a disabled goat that I had been following since it was a little thing. I named him Charlie.

Charlie 8-17-08

As you can see Charlie couldn't use his back legs. He just laid there in the side yard, a bit frightened as I approached him. The rest of the goats were milling around out in the fenced in pasture. When I first saw Charlie I was afraid the owners were going to put him down. He was so sweet.

He actually let me pet him. I left that day feeling very sad thinking I'd never see him again.

Time past and it was once more party time down at my brother's house. As always I went back to the pasture behind his house to visit with the cows/cattle and the goats. Oh, and Inky the pig. As I snapped some pictures of the cows the goats came running over. All of a sudden off in the distance I saw Charlie.

Charlie 4-12-09

He had really grown and best of all he had learned how to walk even though it was very difficult for him. Better yet Charlie was headed over to see me.

Not only was I happy to see him but take a look at his social network.

Charlie in the center of the mix

Not one of the goats picked on him. Wow!

I left that party feeling much happier but still wondering if I'd see him again. I did.

Charlie 5-31-09

Charlie after some food

See you later Charlie

I wonder what will become of Charlie. Whatever may happen at least someone gave him a chance to become all that he could be. He pulled himself up and walked with his fellow goats. He learned how to fend for himself when it came to getting food. Although he was slower and looked different he managed to become accepted within his social network. Not only were the older and younger goats patient with him but so were the cows and yes, even Inky.

Well, have a Firecrackin good day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Almost 100 Years Ago

I definitely need a score card to keep track of my ancestors. We've all heard stories of past relatives and their antics and adventures. Of course the accuracy of those stories depends on the person sharing. Exaggerations become a part of literary licensing. Recently I have been trying to separate the reality from the fiction since I'm now on the other half of the lifeline.

With my mother nearing the age of 90 years old and her dementia becoming more noted, I think it's important that someone document our past. She has preserved several generations' memoribilia so that my generation and future generations will have some idea of what life was like, the hardships suffered and the fun that was generated from the simplest things. Tin pictures and printed pictures put faces to names and show the fashion changes as well as regional changes. Notes, cards and letters lend us personalities of those who wrote them.

This past weekend I resumed going through the memoribilia. I focused on my mother's mother, my Granny. As far as I can remember my Granny was very short, had gray hair, wore glasses and frankly looked old, but she was pretty. She was of German descent, very strick but I knew she loved me.

One of the most famous stories that I remember was when I was around 9 or 10 years old. You have to keep in mind that I was the fifth generation born and raised in our town so we, or rather my family, knew everyone. You could walk uptown and shop. Stores were only open six days a week and going to the movies only cost a quarter. Life seemed to have been much simpler back then. Television programs were in black and white and TVs were not in every household. There were pay telephones, friendly and helpful police officers and you were scared to death of disappointing your parents.

Anyhow my best friend and I went up to Woolworth's where they were having a balloon sale on banana splits. The idea was that you selected a balloon and whatever the price was inside is what you paid for your banana split. The prices ranged from one cent to 99 cents.

We slid up to the counter and each of us carefully selected our balloon. If you haven't guessed it, we both selected the 99 cents. The problem was that we were sure we wouldn't get a balloon over 25 cents because that's all each of us had. I don't know why we didn't tell the waitress that we didn't have enough money. We just let her go ahead and make up our banana splits and then sat there and thoroughly enjoyed them. I remember as we were getting down to the last bites that there was some worry about how we were going to pay but we kept eating.

Then the end came. The waitress placed the checks on the counter and we just looked at each other and then at her. Now we were scared. If she called our parents we would really be in trouble. However, I remember turning for some reason on my stool and what to my surprise should I see but the top of my Granny's head bobbing along on the other side of the aisle. I jumped down, ran over to get her, and explained our problem. She had just finished work and stopped in Woolworth's on her way home. I thought for sure Granny was going to ream us but she said nothing and paid our bill. We of course helped her carry her bags home.

So as I came across more clues about her past I realized I really needed to organize better then I have so far. I also thought it might help out others to keep records straight. So I made the following:

You can customize the family name. This is a one inch binder so I can place all the Dilks in one binder, the Haggerty's in another and so on.

My Granny was Florence M. Dilks and the following are some pictures of her at various ages along with her graduation announcement and program from the class of 1911.

Here she is how I remember her:

Granny attended the Old West End School in Woodbury , NJ until 1909 when the new high school located on Broad St was completed.

In September 1910 Granny's Senior class met.

There were only 18 students in her graduating class. However in December 1910, the high school burned to the ground leaving the graduating class without a place for graduation. According to her graduation announcement that didn't stop them from graduating.

Evidently the students received a customized program.

The guests received

I found the following article to be very sad but interesting.

If you'll notice in the paragraph above the graduates announcement, you'll see that Wellington Corsey was also a graduate but did not attend Woodbury High School nor was he awarded his diploma in a ceremony. We've come a long way since then.

The high school was rebuilt and ready to go by September 1912.

Since Granny was the corresponding secretary she was responsible for the rest of her life to maintain contact with her classmates. We have pictures of class reunions up through their 50th Class Reunion. Granny kept typed notes. In one of the notes for a reunion I happened to see "1st married" and it was her name. I read a bit further and it stated that at the conclusion of the graduation exit the band struck up "Here Comes The Bride"! I had to laugh.

Overall Granny had a hard life but she made the best of it. She's left many a happy memory for me to recollect. Actually both of my grandmothers left me with a wealth of happy memories.

Jessie Robinson

It's nice to take time to recall the influence my grandmothers have had on me. Naturally being an educator I can't help but think how this type of research, whether it concern the school, community or family, might be a great task performance project for students. Hmmm... I'll have to think about designing something like that.

Well, back to the puzzle of linking my relatives to my life.

Meanwhile have a Firecrackin Great Day!