Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quotes to Live By

I find it interesting to discover what people choose to have stamped on their tags.  Here are a few recent favorite quotes that I hammered into dead animal skin (cow to be precise).



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bad Mom

How often is too often to blog about your cat?   I try not to overload the blog with my freakishly ugly/cute cat, but sometimes I need something to talk about...ya know, blog fodder?

So my sphynx cat, Rasputin, is currently my only child.  [Totally off subject, I am really digging the name "Khaleesi" for a girl's name.  Too much Game of Thrones? I think not!) Anyway, my Lil' Pooper, Rasputin is a terrible, terrible child.  Due to his ill-natured temperament, I am often finding myself doing things that may make me a bad "cat mom".

For example, his breed requires that he be thoroughly bathed once a week.  Well, my catty HATES baths.  He screams and claws and whines, like you would expect a cat to do.  So I only give him a bath when I am expecting company or once a month.

The place where traumatizing cat baths occur.

Due to him not having any fur to protect his skin, my cat is more susceptible to skin irritation caused by the sun, AKA sunburn.  Aww!  Rasputin loves to look outside at the buses and people roaming through our backyard, and in doing this he is often sitting in direct sunlight for an hour or two at a time.  The top of his little head and ears get red.  When I remember, I put some SPF 80 on these places, but I don't always remember.  I hope this doesn't spur medical problems in his future. :(

I think the worse thing that I do is let him get away with things he should not be doing.  I should be guiding him in the proper ways that a nice catty should act, and I am so not doing this.  At first, I didn't want him on the kitchen counters, because ew.  I would yell at him, spank him, look at him all mean-like, etc. whenever he did this.  I don't think he feels pain like a normal cat, because he didn't respond to my spankings.  He did however, loudly (and heart-breakingly) respond to my boyfriend gnawing on his tail.  Unfortunately, my boyfriend isn't around during the day, so I have to be the disciplinarian most of the time and I just can't will myself to gnaw on my kitty.  (Haha. See how I did that??).  My point is that I've given up on teaching him that climbing on the kitchen counters and cabinets is wrong.  I'm just going to let him be bad because it's easier than raising him to be a good cat.

From high up in his kitchen cabinet command post, Rasputin stares at me while I work.  It's quite unsettling.

I think the worst thing that I do by him is not give him the amount of attention he desires.  His breed is very social, and he spends hours a day walking around our apartment, meowing his little hairless heart out, calling out to be socially stimulated.  I am ashamed to say that I am often too busy to provide him with an adequate play session a lot of the time.  However! We plan on getting him a little dog friend soon, and Pooper *loves* other animals, so I hope this will help with the incessant meowing.  Until then, we'll both suffer. Together. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lovely Couples

Each of the following sets of tags feature such a loving sentiment. <3

 Their love for each other and adventure is displayed in a few words...

 ...their new status is shared in a handful of words...

...their devotion is told in a pretty decent amount of words. <3

Happy Sunday! My better half and I are currently in NYC for the yearly OrigamiUSA convention.  Well, my boyfriend is attending the convention, while I work on Of The Fountain stuff in our hotel room.  I brought a handful of recent orders with me to dye, ink and assemble.  In addition to that, I've been stamping out Of The Fountain wrapping paper, cutting hundreds of yards of suede lace, working on taxes for 2011 and making new cat heads! I'd call it a pretty productive work weekend. (I did the whole "travel to NYC with a friend and the brother and stay in a hostel in Brooklyn and get abducted by Scientologists in Times Square then later get trashed at the hostel and fall out of a bottom bunk bed and onto a rolling locker receiving a leg wound and then drunkly talk to my parents on the phone to check-in and then wake up the next morning and feel like crap whilst visiting the Met and then catching a bus in scary Harlem to get to the airport and finally arrive home" thing a few years ago, so I'm fine with not doing anything touristy this trip. ><)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Out of Stock

*pout*.  I had to close my shop. Again. :(  When I closed it a month ago, it was because my family was in town.  This time, I simply ran out of materials. A few weeks ago I ordered supplies as I was running low on things that are integral in making my custom luggage tags.  Sadly, my order was placed on back order and I have no idea when the materials will be in stock and shipped to me.

I am so sad about this that I heaped onto the grass.  (Lies! I took this picture in May. No idea why. I am still sad, though.)

I still have enough materials in stock to finish up orders that were placed before I closed my shop, but I am not comfortable with new customers ordering tags when I don't know if I will have the materials in stock by the time I got to processing their order. So, I decided to close up shop until I get a refill on my supplies.

I have my *fingers crossed* that the supplies arrive soon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Trio of Tags

I recently got an order for three tags that were all linked together by the Almond Brothers song, "Soulshine."  Each tag had a different part of the song's chorus, with the song's title at the top of the tag.

"Soulshine" chorus:

He used to say soulshine,
It's better than sunshine,
It's better than moonshine,
Damn sure better than rain.
Hey now people don't mind,
We all get this way sometime,
Got to let your soul shine, shine till the break of day.

If you desire, you can listen to the song.  (How do I say that without sounding like a weirdo?)

It may be surprising, but I really don't stamp song lyrics too often.  I always find it fun to stamp song lyrics, because then I get to listen to the songs as I stamp them. (Not really, but I bet it would be neat to do so...Next time!  I'll do that next time.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Never Go On Trips With Anyone You Do Not Love

To celebrate our two year anniversary, (thanks, Geek2Geek!) my boyfriend and I took a little weekend trip to Brattleboro, Vermont.  It was quite a neat little town, *very* different from the metro Atlanta town I grew up in. Much more many hippies (but in a good way).

We had a super lovely time.  We stayed at an historic hotel that also held a movie theatre and restaurant, so that was convenient.  The variety of activities we indulged in included wandering around the town, seeing a movie (Midnight in Paris=slightly stupid), and attending a burlesque show!

 To start the trip off in style, I wore these pretty earrings I recently acquired by Folklure.  I only have 4 pairs of carefully chosen earrings to my name, and I have to say that these are my favorite. :)

 Summer in Vermont!

 Walking through town we came across a building that had been partially gutted by a fire that occurred in April.  A slew of residences, a hotel, and almost 20 businesses were affected by the fire.  We found this sign at the restoration site amusing.

Upon checking in at our hotel, I spotted this flyer for a local burlesque show.  Please note that one of the performers was named The Evil Hate Monkey.  Oh, I totally had my boyfriend snatch this flyer up from the hotel lobby when we were leaving.

So we went. We watched.  It was AWESOME.  In addition to the gal performers, there were scantily clad guys as well. It probably helped that I had been drinking, but it was seriously amusing nonetheless.  Aww! My first burlesque show!

We did a lot of walking on this excursion.  I'm glad we did, as we were able to spot fun hidden gems in the alleys between the old buildings.

This little dumpster man was the cutest thing ever!

So, the trip to Brattleboro, VT was fun. 2 days was just enough time to go into every shop within walking distance, try the local eats, indulge in a movie and show, and play in the hotel room (it had a mini-fridge and a bath tub [we don't have a bath tub at home, so it was quite a treat!]).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Banner Greeting Card

I am definitely one who prefers to make a card instead of buying one.  I'd rather just not give a card than buy one at the store.  My need to create my own greeting cards stems from my late grandmother's influence on my crafting "career".   As far back as I can remember she would make cards for everyone in our family for their birthdays, Christmas, etc.  As a youngling, I would sit on her bed with her and make my own cards.  She had more pure creative talent in her pinky finger than I have in my whole body, so I was lucky to have her as an onsite consultant to assist in my card-making endeavors.

I've found that creating greeting cards is a nice creative hobby because you get to give them away.  You aren't stuck with another useless art project sitting around your house. (Or maybe that's just me...)

This past Father's Day I made my dear 'ole Dad this "bunting"-inspired banner card.  I recently discovered mini buntings and am kind of obsessed with them.

 I was on a roll after I made this, so I also made a "Happy Birthday" banner card for my Mom and also for my Step-Mom.

I was recently involved in a very large move and I only packed the absolute bare necessities when it came to my art supplies.  Therefore, I really don't have that much to work with, which I suppose is good if you'd like to recreate this card. 


-a blank card/envelope
-parchment paper (for the little triangle pennants) 
-thick black thread
-black acrylic paint
-black ink pad
-gel ink pen
-glue stick

To begin, I watered down a little black paint in a bowl, and then used my fingers to flick the paint all over the card.   I then cut little triangles out of the parchment paper and rubbed the ink pad along the edges to give them a little more detail.  Using the gel pen I wrote a letter on each triangle.  Lastly, I glued the lil' triangles onto the card, making sure that the black thread made it underneath so the pennants had something to hang on.

Now I just need another holiday/birthday so I can make more cute little buntings/banners/pennants. :)  Maybe I could just string them across my kitchen cabinets...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mount Wollaston Cemetery

I really enjoy visiting cemeteries.  Any kind of cemetery suites me just fine, but I find historic cemeteries to be the most interesting.  During the recent Memorial Day weekend, I visited Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, MA.  This is one of the largest cemeteries I've been to yet, and I still have more areas of it to explore. 

Baby Patrick

Mother, Lizzie, Willie

Not lost, But gone before.


I believe what I enjoy most about observing all the old grave markers is trying to piece together the story of these people's lives with very little information.  The headstones themselves are also quite fascinating when navigating the symbolism of the designs found on them.  I had an internship once where for my "work" I visited cemeteries and wrote articles on the symbolism found in the various types of decoration on the headstones.  I was able to talk to the caretakers of the cemeteries and really gained a lot of historical insight into the town that I was interning.  Oh, what fun times! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spending a Weekend Away

Happy weekend! :)  My boyfriend and I are celebrating our 2 year anniversary (which was in April) this weekend at the Latchis hotel.  It's a place where we can sleep, go to the movies, and get some drank all in one building! Holla!* I'm excited. Catty is not. He will be left at home alone for the 48 hours we are gone. 

Hopefully he doesn't annoy the neighbors too much with his incessant meowing. On our last 2 day trip, we found a Dorito on our door handle when we got home. What the hell? I think our neighbors wanted to see how long the loud, whining cat was left alone/potentially starving.  For the record, he meows because he's a very social, needy cat and wants attention, not because he's hungry or being neglected.  Well, he is being neglected in a way because I'm leaving him all alone and he hates that, but there's nothing I can do about it and he's just going to have to suffer. ><

I almost want to go next door and confront them about the chip on the door handle and let them know the situation with my catty.  However, I also don't know for sure that it was them, and I like to avoid all unnecessary social contact with my neighbors...

I worked in the jewelry department of the best craft store around for 7 years.  For a short time the store sold a pack of charms that were all in the shape of different Spanish words.  One day some idiotic teeny bopper came over to me, holding this pack of charms and pointing to the "HOLA" charm, and said, "Does this say holla?" My response: "Um, no.  It's pronounced O-la, it's Spanish for hello?"  Looking back on that fond memory, I really wish I would have told her, "Yes.  That charm is totally saying holla!  It's on sale. You should buy it." 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cat Toys

My evil cat's favorite game is Throw Stuffed Animals Down The Long Hallway. In this game, my wind resistant cat will run across our apartment and down a hallway as fast as a freaking cheetah to capture a thrown stuffed animal. He may leap up into the air.  He may actually catch the animal.  He may not move at all, and instead snidely stare at me as the poor animal I just threw plops on the ground with no one to attack it.  The one thing he will for sure not do is return the stuffed animal it to the person that threw it.

Because my cat is mean and doesn't fetch, I have to manually retrieve the animals I throw down the hall for him.  Needless to say, he has a lot of toys. That way, I can minimize my energy output by having to retrieve these stuffed animals less frequently.   I grab a handful of toys, stand in one spot, and throw them down the hall.  Then I run to the end where all the animals have been collecting, and throw the animals back up the hallway.  It's a viscous cycle that my evil crack baby never wants to end.

Let's see... In the photo above we have a small assortment of toys Rasputin enjoys chasing down the hallway.  A small vibrating mouse, a World of Warcraft Wind Rider Cub, a Beanie Baby bear (his FAVORITE toy), a felted octopus, and a Zhu Zhu pet hamster thing. Yes, this particular cat bed is in a dilapidated cardboard box - his choice.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Own Love Padlocks.

A while ago I mentioned my recent discovery of "love padlocks" attached to a fence near where I live with my better half.  I thought it was a super cute, romantic idea, so my boyfriend bought us a lock to hang on the fence with all the other locks.  I then used my awesome Dremel tool skills to engrave some info on the lock.  Ok, ok...the engravings I made are barely legible, but I know what they say, and that's what matters. :)

Ours is by far the newest one in the group. (And the only one that's been engraved, that I could tell.)

"BMM + MRM  est. 4.23.09"

"Brandy ♥ ..."

".... ♥ Matt"

After a million tries, I got a picture of us with our lock in the background. :)

I'm really glad that we did this. Now every time we go out on evening walks we get to pass by our little "love padlock".  We say hi. It waves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Destination Wedding Tags 2

I apologize for the lack of posts recently.  I've been freakishly busy making tags.  One particular tag to be exact... This tag was featured in a Father's Day Gift Guide by the blog A Cup of Jo and I have been over run with orders for it.  I am almost scared to look in my inbox. Anyway! Back to an actual post. :)

Today's destination wedding location: COSTA RICA!!

These tags were made for the bridal party of this tropical wedding.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Falling in Love with the Mind of a Gay Dead Man

In middle and high school I was forced to read books that were written a million years ago, and though they were written in English, I could not understand what the heck I was reading.  It was like trying to read a book in a foreign language.  As I've gotten older, my brain has really matured and I've come to love and appreciate books like Dorian Gray and Pride and Prejudice.  I can actually understand their historic tongue now. Yay!

Anyway, as I've started to return to these types of books, I've discovered how freaking awesome Oscar Wilde was.  He left the world with a plethora of fantastic thoughts.  I think I love him.  Here is the smallest sampling of my favorite quotes:

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 
 Oscar Wilde

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." 
 Oscar Wilde

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." 
 Oscar Wilde

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." 
 Oscar Wilde

"I don't want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there." 
 Oscar Wilde

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his." 
 Oscar Wilde

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." 
 Oscar Wilde

Friday, June 10, 2011

Paypal Sucks So Bad

Normally, Paypal and I have a pretty decent relationship.  They collect money on my behalf, I give them a little money in return, they let me print shipping labels, and then Paypal kindly contacts my US customers to notify them that their order has been shipped and even gives them a link to where they can track their order.

Not anymore.  They will gladly take their cut of my income, but Paypal is no longer allowing me to print shipping labels.  I am beyond pissed and annoyed.

On May 25, 2011, I attempted to print a USPS shipping label off of Paypal like I've [correct use of] literally done over 1,000 times.  I was greeted with this response:

PayPal Shipping is not available. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Huh.  So I try again. All day, every hour I attempted to print out shipping labels. No success.  I contact Paypal's support through email.  They suggested that I'm just an idiot and doing something wrong.  Needless to say, I told them in polite words, that I do this crap every GD day and I know how to print an effing shipping label.  After phoning the customer support, I got a somewhat more satisfying response.  I was informed that Paypal shipping was broken (for a handful of poor souls) and it will be fixed in 48-72 hours.

After getting off the phone I was shocked. 2-3 DAYS before I can print a label?! You have got to be sh*tting me! (I'd lost all sense of class by this point.)  For 3 days I still tried printing labels with no success, but knew that was going to be fixed soon, so I didn't stress too much.

I finally gave up hope that Paypal was going to be fixed, and had to lug accumulated orders to the Post Office so each could be given postage.  I was there for a while...

It is going on 3 weeks and I STILL cannot print my shipping labels through Paypal.  I am forced to go to the Post Office and have a human manually add postage to ALL of my outgoing orders. This wouldn't be too horrible if it didn't cost more - I have to pay an extra $.62 for Delivery Confirmation when I ship my domestic orders at the Post Office.  I've shipped about 50 orders since this crap started, so I'm out about $30 so far.  I don't want to raise the cost of shipping on my listings, because I don't want the Domestic shipping price to be higher than the International shipping price.  Also, it's not my customers' fault that Paypal is completely incompetent.

Sometimes I email the Paypal support person that I've been dealing with, and send him my sob stories.  He entertains my complaints by actually responding to me.  If you are bored, here is a TINY smidgen of the correspondence between me and Paypal on this issue:

05/28/2011 07:18 AM

I have been unable to print labels for 3 days now. Can you give me any kind of time frame?? When I called Paypal support days ago I was told that the problem would be fixed in 48-72 hours. 72 hours has now passed. This is ridiculous. Look at my account. See all the things that I need to ship. :( 


05/29/2011 11:05 AM

I know that probably only a handful of people are suffering from this "not being able to print shipping labels" issue, so it may not be that high of a priority for Paypal. However, it is seriously affecting my business. If I at least knew when it would be resolved, I could plan for alternative shipping methods. It has been 4 days since the problem arose. :( I've had a Paypal account for many years and have given Paypal a lot of money in transaction fees. I really wish this problem would be resolved. :( 

*waterfall tears*



05/31/2011 07:01 AM

Hi Brandy,

Engineering is still trying to determine the root cause for this bug. At this point in time, we do not have an ETA.

We are recommending to merchant to use the USPS or UPS web sites to print labels until it is fully resolved.

As soon as we find out anything, it will be passed along to you.

Thank you for your patience,


06/07/2011 08:33 AM

Wow. So it's been 2 weeks that I have NOT BEEN ABLE TO PRINT SHIPPING LABELS OFF PAYPAL. It is not possible to print First Class labels off of (which is the shipping option that my customers paid for). I have to physically go to a post office everyday and have an employee process all my packages. I then I have to return home and manually enter in all the tracking info that I over paid for (it is $.60 more expensive at the post office than online). This is now costing my business money. Am I going to be compensated for all the extra costs I've accrued as I am forced to ship my orders in this manner??? 


06/07/2011 08:48 AM

Hi Brandy,

I do apologize for the inconvenience, but this is in the hands of the engineering department. They are working to fix the problem. They are aware of problems this is causing .merchants.

Have you tried shipping through eBay? 

We will notify you when engineering has solved the problem.

Thank you for your patience,



AHHH!!!!  So.  I have no freaking clue when I will be able to print my labels off of Paypal again. I don't mean to be a whiner, but this sucks.  Hence, Paypal sucks so bad.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Few Random Custom Tags

Some recent work.  I would like to be able to organize my posts of custom work by theme or layout, but I've just found it to be way too time consuming/difficult. So!  Here is an assortment of samples of custom leather tags. :)

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