I Love Decorative Painting

Back in 2002, when I started teaching classes in One Stroke Decorative Painting, I was quite surprised that the One Stroke organization did not have pre-planned courses for their One Stroke Certified Instructors to teach, along with supply lists, and step-by-step instructions. As a newly certified instructor, I struggled with planning the classes, and demonstrations, that I was holding at the local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store.

Perhaps if I had been painting for a number of years before becoming a certified instructor it would have been easier for me to plan the classes, but I really had only been painting less than a year before I became an instructor and landed the job at Michael’s.

I had been given the impression that I was going to get a lot more help with planning and executing the classes, and demonstrations that I was expected to hold. Because of this, I found myself spending at least eight hours planning and conducting a two-hour class, and getting paid very little money for the time I had invested.

To be honest, if I didn’t love decorative painting, and sharing what I had learned, and the great students that I had coming to classes, I probably would have thrown in the towel. But decorative painting is a lot of fun, and I didn’t want to give it up!

One of my favorite demonstrations that I did at the store, was with the Outdoor Paints that had been newly released by Folk Art Paints. The demonstration was done in only one hour, start to finish, with a wooden birdhouse. The photos above are the result of that demonstration that I had done. I can’t remember for sure what year that was (I wish I had written the date on the project) but I think it was in 2002.

I get a lot of compliments (and offers to buy) that cute little birdhouse! A few people have even commented that they think it is cute enough to be sold online on websites like YardEnvy.com. I considered selling it on Etsy, but my hubby insists that it is “his” birdhouse and he won’t let me sell it! It seems that every time I make something and talk about selling it, to generate a little bit of extra income, my hubby “rescues it” and claims it as “his” so it ends up staying home with us!

Easter Crafting

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

I don’t know what it is about spring that excites me about crafting with an Easter theme. I’ve never, ever, liked the smell of vinegar, so I have always hated the traditional Easter egg decorating.

Memories of my loving grandparents trying to get my siblings and me excited about dipping hard-boiled eggs into those little bowls of dye that smelled like vinegar make me cringe. They were kind, and patient, but I was not. After all, I did not like the smell of vinegar, and I did not like eating hard-boiled eggs.

Just the thought of eating something that I didn’t like in the first place, after ruining the pieces of art I was creating after suffering the offensive vinegar smell was just horrific to me! I’m sorry to admit that I was probably a pain in the neck during those times of decorating those Easter eggs!

But I guess that with the eruption of spring flowers, the urge to create spring-related, and Easter-related things gets to me. I try hard to resist, but now and then I succumb to the urge.

A few years ago I was watching a crafting television show on HGTV, and one of the topics was decoupaging Easter eggs. The show inspired me to try my hand at decoupage, and I had all of the supplies that I needed – some old plastic Easter Eggs, some glue, and some pretty, floral wrapping paper. The photo at the top of this page is a sample of some of the results, and I have to admit that I was pleased enough that these are displayed in a glass case all year-long in the foyer of my home.

I just found a YouTube video that demonstrates a similar technique to do what I did, although it is not exactly the same. I’ll admit that I really like the idea of decoupaging the half-eggs, and then filling the eggs with something special, but that is not what I had done. I simply decoupaged the entire egg so that it will never open. I am feeling inspired, though, to do what this video is demonstrating! And adding ribbons around the outside of the egg certainly makes it egg-stra special (pun intended.) I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time to actually DO this.

I will consider taking advantage of the after-Easter clearance sales to pick up some plastic eggs and put them in my craft-room storage closet for when I WILL have time, on a day when my hands don’t hurt too much to take on a crafting project.

Scam Alert

If this had happened today, I would have thought it was from a friend, trying to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on me. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke on you, really. This is just odd timing.

Woman at computer (free clip art)

Woman at computer (free clip art)

Yesterday, I was at home, working on the computer. I had just finished all I could do on my income taxes, done a bit of blogging, and had started to work on writing a post for the Ruritan Rapidan District website that I created and maintain in my spare time.

Then the cordless cell phone beside my desk rang. The Caller ID identified the number as 215-249-6100. Not recognizing the number, and thinking it might be a “real” telephone call, I decided to answer it.

I’m not sure now if I’m glad I answered it or not. Often I let the home phone just go to voice mail to screen the calls – there are so many telemarketers “out there” that did not seem to get the message that my phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry!

Be that as it may, I answered the phone. A male with a foreign accent asked to speak to me. Well, our family has dealt with a few doctors recently with a similar foreign accent, so I still thought it might be a legitimate phone call. I replied that I was the person he was asking to speak with.

Then the adventure began. The man identified himself as a Microsoft Windows Security employee. He informed me that he was calling to tell me that his company has identified my computer as having a virus!

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

Microsoft Windows logo (free clip art)

As you can imagine, my immediate reaction was to think that this phone call was an attempt by someone who has malicious intent. (And I feel very bad for the many people “out there” that are not technologically savvy enough to see right through this type of ploy, and immediately fall prey to this predatory behavior!)

So, I repeated back to this man, “you are calling me to tell me that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply was, “Yes ma’am, a very serious virus, and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.” I thought to myself “I’ll bet you are!”

My reply to him was “You can tell, from where you are, that my computer has a virus on it?” His reply again, was, “Yes ma’am. a very serious virus. and I’m calling you to tell you how we can help you to remove the virus.”

Now I’ve decided to have a bit of fun at his expense. So I asked him “Well, I’ve got eight computers here, can you tell me which ONE of those computers has a virus on it? I really need to know which ONE!”

Computer hacker (free clip art)

Computer hacker (free clip art)

Well, as you can imagine, there was a brief pause at the other end, and then the man spoke “you have eight computers there?” to which I replied “yes sir, I have eight computers here, and if one of them is infected, I really need to know which one of those eight is infected, so I can take care of it right away!”

Then the man started to stammer and sputter “ummmmm…. eight computers…. ummmmmmm…. I don’t know….. ummmm….. eight computers…….”

My tolerance for stupidity depleted, I decided to put him out of his misery. I know it’s rude to interrupt, but I interrupted him (sorry) and said “Let me make this easy for you. I don’t believe that you are a legitimate business. I think you are a spammer, scammer, hacker, identity thief that is trying to rip me off. I have all kinds of firewalls, anti-malware, anti-spamware programs on my computers,and I don’t believe that you are who you say you are. Put this phone number on your ‘Do Not Call List’ and do not ever call me again!” And then I hung up the telephone.

Then I went to Google, and typed in the phone number 215-249-6100. The search results led me to a website called callercomplaints dot com, where people can register a telephone number and complain about it. There were already several complaints logged (with details) for that phone number. I added my complaint to the list – you can read it if you want to.

Please remember – when someone calls YOU and wants information from YOU, do NOT GIVE IT OUT! It is a SCAM! Hang up the phone!

Today I learned how to create a YouTube Video using PowerPoint. I used a PowerPoint slide presentation I had made last fall, promoting the community service Jefferson VA Ruritan Club, and set it to music, uploaded it, and have to admit that for a first attempt, it came out pretty good! I hope I can remember how to do that in the future, so I can do things like this to help the other Ruritan Clubs in the future!

Here is the video I made today. I hope you enjoy it!

Trip Down Memory Lane

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

Poop cake from Lewiston Maine bakery

A few evenings ago one of my sons asked to me find some photos of a family pet we used to have and email them to him. Well, my photo collection is NOT well organized, and I spent a few hours last night looking through dozens of envelopes of photos from the past. Yes, I found some photos of the pet that I will send to him, but that is not the focus of THIS post. This post is about another photo that I found that brought back some memories from a place that I used to work.

This cake was a specialty cake from a bakery in Lewiston Maine. I don’t know the name of the bakery (sorry) and I no longer have contact with the people who originally ordered it, so I don’t know HOW anyone can order this for themselves. But apparently the bakery had a lot of orders for this cake, and to be perfectly honest I think I would be inclined to order this cake on numerous occasions if I could. But I can’t, so it will just have to be a fond memory of a group of co-workers that got a birthday cake for a person who suffered from severe “potty mouth.” The people who ordered it called it a “poop cake.” Well, actually they used a different word that means poop, but I’m trying to “clean it up” for the purposes of being a “G” rated post.

It really is a chocolate cake, with chocolate fudge frosting with peanuts, plastic flies, and bathroom tissue tucked in and around the top of the cake. And yes, we DID eat it. And yes, it WAS delicious. Some of the co-workers joked about it being “Good ****”

The words around the bottom of the cake plate “Potty patrol” because we were always teasing the “potty mouth” co-worker that we needed to assign someone to help him control his mouth!

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