Monday, March 31, 2008

Master Bath Renovation Finally Done!

WHEW! What a job it was, but the master bath renovation is finally done. There was so much work involved in renovating this tiny little 8 x 10 space off the master bedroom! It's not our final vision, for we do have dreams of adding on a luxurious spa-like master bath someday, but it's much more comfortable now.

Original to the 1970's house was this narrow tub with tile walls, further cramped by glass shower doors. When you'd lift your arms to wash your hair, your elbows would knock either against the tile wall or the glass door. When we had a leaky faucet fixed and discovered the backer board for the tile was plywood, we decided the right thing to do would be to re-grout the tile with epoxy grout. We then removed the glass doors and installed a "hotel" shower rod to add a little breathing room to the tub/shower.



I also knew that I could not live long with the shiny metallic gold wallpaper in this small room!




After starting to remove the wallpaper, which didn't come off with the solution you can buy at your home improvement store, I found it came off with hot water and Dawn ~ in two layers. The top metallic layer came off first, then the paper layer afterwards, tearing the drywall facing paper off with it. Consulting my BIL, a drywall contractor, he advised us to prime the drywall with an oil based paint, and then skim coat it with drywall mud. After that came the primer, then 2 coats of final paint.

Since this bath is used primarily by hubby, we decided on a "fishing" theme. My bath is the main one with a really girly color scheme punctuated by Waverly's Norfolk Rose shower curtain and window treatment! With the paint job finally done, we put up the trout wallpaper border. Then it was on to the project I'd promised DH for about a year now ~ a "quilt" pieced shower curtain made from quilt shop fabric featuring all sorts of fishing prints ~ a line designed by Holly Taylor for Moda called "Northern Shores." I knew I wanted a quilt pattern that was fast and easy ~ this project has been going on for about 6 weeks and I wanted to finish! I called my sister and asked her for the "Turning Twenty" quilt pattern, and off I went to the quilting studio. Two days later I was done, even with DH's help for about 4 hours one evening. Thank God you can't see my buttonhole stitching across the top ~ the shower hooks do a great job hiding it!

Not being able to back up far enough to get better shots of everything in this room, these photos really feature my one-of-a-kind shower curtain!







So this is one of the projects I've been spending so much time on for the past 6 weeks. We're also renovating the Sunroom, but I'm not finished with it yet. I'll post photos when it's done. I'm at the hard part ~ trying to figure out window treatments. And there are a TON of them. I'll need 20 yards of something!

Till next time!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekly Punch Needle Embroidery Feature

It's time again to plug my talented sister who sells her punch needle embroidery pieces on eBay. These auctions started yesterday ~ She was too excited about how well they turned out and couldn't wait to list them! This week there are several Americana themed pieces, and as usual, the designer of choice is Brenda Gervais of Country Stitches (With Thy Needle & Thread). Her designs have such a wonderfully whimsical folk art feeling!

You can see my sister's listings here:

Magpie1217

Here's a quick preview...



I'm in the process of making hubby a new shower curtain for our newly remodeled bath. I'm doing a quilt block design for it, using a "Turning Twenty" pattern. First I had to clean up my craft room/quilt studio which was an absolute disaster. I haven't even been in there since before Christmas. But it's all tidied up now (I actually had to use the shop vac to swamp it out!), and I'm heading in there shortly while DH watches NASCAR (Junior's ahead for now ~ Yay!).

Till next time, wishing you a well-designed day!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

American Idol Fans



How about those American Idol contestants?! Only 9 left now! This is my and hubby's absolute favorite show. As I was loading some of the contestants music today to my Playlist, I noticed what a difference it made to just sit and listen to their voice, without taking their looks into consideration. I think it changes my whole opinion on who should win. And who would that be, you ask? Well, I'm not telling for now. But Carly Simon was one of my absolute favorite artists back in the 70's! LOL!

If you scroll down to the bottom, my music Playlist has 3 of the Idol's tracks ~ that's all I could find that was working today. Next week Dolly Parton will mentor the idols ~ that should be really entertaining!

Well, hubby's home early today to start his one week vacation next week! A whole week off, it's his first vacation in about 3 years. The first thing he asked me when he came through the door was "So what's on my honey-do list?" What a keeper, huh?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thankful

My father turned 80 this past Easter Sunday! His sister told him that he was 14 years old the last time his birthday fell on Easter Sunday, and that it would be something like another 50 years before it happened again! My brothers and sisters, and their children all descended upon their small retirement patio home to help him celebrate. And while we were were hard pressed to all fit in that small space, some of us spilling out into the little courtyard area outside to eat, I am so thankful to have been able to be there to celebrate!

Isn't he just the cutest?



I am truly grateful that he is still here with us ~ he is just recovered from bladder surgery. The doc said he got it all, and yes, it was cancer. He will continue to be monitored for recurrence on a regular basis, as is typical. As soon as we had travelled the 2-1/2 hour ride back home, I found myself still missing my parents intensely. As a matter of fact, I miss living closer to all my brothers and sisters and their families. If I won the lottery, I would buy a large farm, out in the country (but not too far out), and build a family compound. We'd have horses (DH continually talks about wanting a horse), and a huge vegetable and flower garden, and of course a woodworking shoppe for the boys, and a craft/quilting studio for the gals! One can always dream...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

eBay Ruined by New Management

As many of you know, eBay announced big changes in February, focusing on it's broken feedback system and increasing fees.

The feedback system changes were supposedly designed to increase buyer confidence and attract buyers back to eBay. To aid in that goal, sellers will no longer be able to leave feedback for buyers, eliminating retaliatory feedback (which eBay says was rampant and being abused). No matter that sellers used this system also to communicate with other sellers, providing warning of the deadbeats and bad apples on eBay, and the option to block these bidders from bidding on one's auctions.

While the fee changes decreased the initial listing fee, the final value fee charged upon an item's sale was INCREASED, making the overall fee change a hefty increase. This put many sellers, already operating on slim profit margins, out of business. I have no doubt that thousands closed their stores and accounts after this announcement. Shortly afterwards, rumor was circulating that eBay is protecting its auction listing count by "padding" listings. It's pretty suspicious to see 88,000 beer/brewery clocks listed for sale...See it here:

http://stores.ebay.com/J-Edgar-Cools-Clockworks

Does that look "fishy" to you?

Since February, other changes have appeared ~

"Best Match" search which catapults listings of sellers with a Detailed Seller Rating above a certain point criteria to the top of the page. Now this is an unfair advantage. Especially when eBay does not require any buyer to leave feedback, let alone fill out the little star boxes that comprise Detailed Seller Ratings (also known as "DSR's", and include rating the seller on 4 issues: Accuracy of Description, Overall Satisfaction, Shipping Time and Reasonableness of Shipping Fees). I've seen sellers who produce top shelf primitive/folk art handmade items whose customers wouldn't leave feedback, thereby making their feedback rating non-existent, with no DSR's at all! When they first introduced DSR's it was a mistake. Everyone had a percentile feedback rating using a "positive", "neutral", or "negative" score, and a field where you could further comment on the rating given. What was wrong with that? If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Sellers are also penalized on their DSR rating when it comes to getting paid for the items they sell, if they utilize the eBay owned company PayPal. If your DSR rating falls below a certain level, PayPal can hold onto the payment you received for your item for 30 days! Hmmmm any interest being made on those held funds? All because eBay decrees it, but doesn't make leaving feedback mandatory for a buyer. There's something just not right about that.

Bidders' eBay User ID's are no longer visible when you're bidding on an item. Now that's real inspiration of confidence with the system! I want to know who I'm bidding against. Maybe there's shill bidding going on. But why would eBay care about that? It only serves to drive up the bid and they get their payoff in the final value fee on what the item sold for.

Since becoming an eBay member in 2001, I've seen a lot of changes that I personally think ruined the site. What is all this "junk" they continue to add ~ Who cares about "Reviews & Guides"? Blogs? We have Blogspot, Typepad, and myriad other website sources for blogging. Why does it need to clutter up eBay. "My World" ~ isn't that redundant? Isn't Ebay Express redundant to "Buy-it-Now? The Brain Trust at eBay needs to look at all this crap and pare it down so that folks who aren't all that computer savvy have an easier time of navigating the site. Too much information guys!

Just the tip of the iceberg of more inane changes to come, I'm afraid. Yesterday, another new announcement:

March 24, 2008 | 01:00PM PST/PT

Brian Burke
Hello...This is Brian Burke, Director Global Feedback Policy. Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation (both real and perceived). To preserve the integrity of the Feedback system, effective March 31 all goods that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically must be listed using the Classified Ads format.

Using the Classified Ads format, sellers receive a 30-day ad at a fixed price. This solution enables sellers to continue to market their digital goods on eBay; however, because Classified Ad listings are a lead generation tool and do not result in transactions that go through eBay, Feedback cannot be exchanged between buyer and seller.

Sellers who wish to continue to offer digital goods can do so by selecting the Everything Else>Information Products category in the Sell Your Item form and choosing the Classified Ads format (not auction-style or fixed price). For more information about the Classified Ads format, please read Advertising with Classified Ads.

Sincerely,

Brian Burke
Director, Global Feedback Policy


This effectively puts out of business A TON of legitimate sellers who offer e-patterns, digiframes and other graphic downloads, eBay auction template graphic designers, e-books, and the list goes on. Many, again, who relied on the income produced from these sales to supplement their income or support their families, are today closing down their eBay stores, sick with this new eBay decree.

Then, hot on it's heels, another announcement, an oxymoron to the one above:


March 24, 2008 | 05:00PM PST/PT

Stephanie Tilenius
Hi everyone...I'm back with some good news. As you've heard us say a number of times already this year, great service will make the difference in 2008 and beyond. So to reward sellers who consistently delight their buyers, we're cutting insertion fees through the end of the month.

Starting tomorrow, if you have Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) of at least 4.5 on all criteria - and you specify your shipping costs or use the Shipping Calculator - simply list your auction-style item with a starting price of 99¢ or less to pay an insertion fee of only 1¢! New sellers who don't yet have DSR ratings are also eligible. This promotion will run through March 31st, so make sure to take advantage quickly.

Check out our information page for all the details.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Tilenius
General Manager, eBay North America


I read one seller's comment that for them to list their downloadable graphic items (collage sheets for ATC's, altered art, etc.) in the Community Ads section would cost them $2,000 a month. eBay knows this is not a viable option, and is designed to drive these sellers off of eBay.

NOW, if your purpose is to ban digital auctions from the eBay site because they promote feedback manipulation, why on God's green earth would you run a promotion for auction-style items with a starting price of 99 cents or less?

I..D..I..O..T..S

Next, they will be rolling out a new listing format. I saw a glimpse of it yesterday. The way it is proposed, any DSR rating that falls below eBay's criteria, will have the bad rating placed on the front page of their auction listing in big RED letters. Too many changes all at once to have to deal with.

And I'm sure there are other subtle changes I haven't even noticed that other sellers have a gripe about. Recently I've read so many horror stores about eBay's non-existent customer service, lack of communication, suspended accounts for no good reason. I suspect they are mired and mucked down in so many legal issues, some of these changes MAY be necessary. But to throw out the baby with the bath water...

I've heard lots of sellers remarks, ruminating on eBay's reasons for some of these changes. It's said they want to eliminate the yard sale/flea market sellers. You know, "one man's trash is another's treasure." That's what made eBay so great in the beginning. Any hard to find collectible could be found on eBay. How many of you have a collection of SOMETHING? eBay advertises it's thrill of the hunt in it's new "Shop Victoriously" television ad campaign, but soon, there will be nothing left on eBay but cheap overseas imports.

So what's going to happen to all the great eBay sellers? I've got an idea! eBay should give them a job manning their LIVE CHAT. Then they'd have folks who could actually give ya a straight answer or help you when you call in for support. Speaking of support ~ one of eBay's stated main goals for the company is the "make it more transparent." Yeah, right. Then why don't you have a means to speak to a real person to support your customers. They say another goal of all these changes is to bring eBay more in line with how all e-commerce does business. Most e-commerce concerns I do business with have an 800 phone number for customer support. And I don't get to rate them on the accuracy of their described item, my satisfaction, shipping time or shipping fees charged. Nothing they are doing is consistent with their stated goals.

eBay sellers are going to scatter to the wind folks. You will have a hard time finding your favorites on the big, vast World Wide Web. All depends on how well they can promote themselves. Or if they even have the means to set up an independent website. Most will just throw their hands in the air, in disgust and despair, and give up. To refrain a common comment I've heard by many since all this foolishness began ~ "GOOGLE, where are you?"



Okay, I'm going to get off my soapbox now and get to work around the house. The sunroom is almost done. I've just got to finish scrubbing the paint off the wood laminate floors. Some sloppy painter made a real mess! :)

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring

Practicing with my "new" camera I received as a Christmas gift last year ~ so many new features to learn! Does anyone read the instructions? I'm more of a "point & shoot" kinda person, and hey, if they don't turn out ~ just delete them!

I feel kind of guilty posting my Spring photos when so many others are still suffering the effect of March going out like a lion! There's been terrible weather this week with all the flooding and recent snow storms. Praying for everyone to stay safe!

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Gotta go help hubby with some home improvements ~ he's "in the mood", so I better take advantage of it while I can!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Week of March 17th Feature


Many thanks to all of you who tune in weekly to view my sister's new punch needle embroidery work! I think she is just THE BEST, with great attention to detail in her finished pieces. It's the little extra steps she takes that make her pieces so beautiful...For one, she is a 'very close' puncher, and is very picky that none of the weaver's cloth background shows in her pieces. This week she has some new designs ~ the 'WELCOME' one being her own design. I think as she gains even more confidence in her own designs, you will find her offering more of them! You will still find many pieces by a designer who is our very favorite ~ Brenda Gervais of Country Stitches.

You can find her wares here:

Magpie1217




Not much to report on my homefront, other than we're still working on renovating the Sunroom. It has it's final coat of robin's egg blue paint, but I still have to paint the ceiling, another piece of shoe mold, the crown molding, and touch up the trim at the windows and baseboards. Hopefully we can move the furniture back in this week, and I can start on sewing some window treatments. Just have to find the right fabric first! I do have one option, but I think it's too girly~bedroomy looking, and we must be considerate of hubby's tastes since he lives here too!

Till next time ~ wishing you a well-designed day!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Punch Needle from my Sister!


Here are my sister's punch needle creations for the week that she is currently listing on eBay. She is doing so well! I love how she has started a new line of bird make-do's with the face of it all done in punch needle embroidery ~ this week is a Chickadee ~ perfect for a touch of Spring!

You can find her wares here:

Magpie1217




I'm going to work out in the garden today. There is much tidying up to do before placing the all important mulch! It gets so hot here in the South over the summer ~ one can never have enough...mulch. Thought I was doing to say diamonds, huh? Well, I've never been one for diamonds ~ I'm more of a "pearls" person. My roses did pretty darn good last summer. The key is feeding them, keeping them pruned properly, giving them lots of water, and treating them at the first sign of "black spot." There is an antique gardening book I have on growing roses which advises you "that there must be no relaxation of effort." Too true!

Gotta go, daylight's burning!

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

New eBay Auction Template for Spring


Hi All!

Just finished up a new Spring eBay Auction template featuring an olde sepia barn, daffodils, and a crow ~ the most recognizable primitive icon in the world, I think! If you are interested, just email me at 'furysport66@aol.com', with the Subject: 'Primitive Auction Template.'



You can view the entire template here:

Primitive Olde Sepia Barn Crow Spring Auction Template

Friday, March 7, 2008

"What If" Blogger Tag

You better watch out! There's a new blogger tag going around ~ "What If." My good friend Kimmie, Olde Lavender Prims, tagged me on this one yesterday. Geez, now I have to get all deep and serious. But, gotta be a good blogger sport, so here are my thoughts...

What if I could meet someone in the art world to chat with....

Considering my love of gardening, and with Spring finally here, the first artist that comes to mind is Monet. I would love to sit with him in his gardens at Giverny and actually be very quiet, drink in the beauty of sunwashed gardens all around me, and watch him paint.

What if I could have one wish granted for the benefit of all mankind....

At the risk of sounding like a beauty pageant contestant, yes, world peace would be at the very top of the list. Can I have a second choice? Yes, I can ~ it's my blog! LOL! I would cure all disease. Imagine no world with AIDS, and other debilitating or killer diseases that so tragically strike and take our loved ones from us ~ cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis...

Where would I go if I could travel anywhere in the world....

My family's paternal geneology has been researched and traced back by my brother to France. I think it would be such fun to visit the areas where my ancestors lived, and while I was in Europe, I'd do a grand tour, visiting Ireland (my mother has Irish ancestry), the English countryside, and Scotland to stay in a castle!

What if I could make over three areas of my body...

Only three? Doesn't work for me! Now if I could have a month-long spa stay to whip me back into shape, that should do it. And if they could do a little facial surgery to get rid of my double chin, I'd be in heaven! Laser surgery on my eyes to get rid of bi-focal glasses would be the nuts, but eye surgery is still a pretty scary concept to me.

What if I could become an animal for 24 hours...

Now this is a tough one. An amimal? You wouldn't be able to speak to communicate, and I just don't think I could make that kind of transition! But if ya made me do it? I guess a porpoise because they seem like such happy creatures.

What if I could bring someone back to life for 24 hours...

My Memere (that's French for grandmother). I would have loved to be able to spend time with her as an adult, when she was in her prime. When we were little children, she was always sewing us doll clothes for our Barbie dolls, and one year for Christmas she actually made wedding dresses for our Barbies. She played kids games with us like "Hands Down" (remember that?). She was characterized in our family by a familiar bible verse ~ "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Memere was a very unselfish, sweet, happy, kind and loving person. Living through the Great Depression, she had a hard, modest life, but never complained. She was an awesome artist, painting lush, beautiful floral still life style works of art. I would like to spend time with her sewing and watching her paint. And I would hug her and tell her I wished I could be more like her.



I'm tagging ~ Kelly of Mystical Entities ~ You're next!

Yesterday was a busy blogging day! Not only was I tagged, I was the recipient of two blogger awards:

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From my friend Kimmie of Olde Lavender Prims

I'm passing the "My Blog Rocks" award to an awesome artist I have come across ~ Nancy Malay

and

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this award, received from my KSGP sista, Kelly~Mystical Entities...

I'm passing on to Sandra Evertson

I hope you'll pass the awards on to other well deserved bloggers! It's a great way to connect in this big wide cyber world!

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

An Irish Blessing for you, and a peek at Spring in South Carolina


A couple of nights ago, in the early evening, just as daylight was turning to dusk, we had a violent storm pass through, dropping hail and buckets of rain. After it cleared, the most amazing double rainbow appeared in the strangely colored sky ~ you know that surreal, orange-yellow cast you sometimes see? I grabbed the camera, hoping to capture the beauty of it, but hubby got some of the best shots! Which I thought was pretty funny since historically, he doesn't always take the best photos. Shhhh....don't want to hurt his little feelers!

So I thought I would share with you some of images I played with yesterday ~ the double rainbow...(clicking on the images will give you a larger view)...




...and a peek at what's blooming right now in South Carolina.



Wishing everyone a bright, sunshiney day!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Sister's Punch Needle ~ Week of 3/04/08

Well, she's still at it ~ This week's eBay punch needle offerings are to die for!!! I'm still hoping she will send me an Easter bunny for my collection (dropping another hint here sissy). Dontcha just love the little girl bunny!!!?





She's also relisted a few more primitive style pieces designed by "My Father's House."

You can see it all here:

Magpie1217

What have I been working on? Frankly, not much. Ever since getting hit by the flu bug, my energy level is so low. The good news is that evidence of Spring is finally starting to reveal itself! Yesterday it rained buckets and cats and dogs, and even hailed for a short bit. Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed the double rainbow that appeared in the storm's aftermath! Today the skies are a crisp blue. I may wander out in a bit and snap some photos of my daffodils and crocus, to especially cheer those of you who are in a part of the country where Spring is still a mere longing!

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sew Dear To Me now on "Old Primitive Sisters" Website!

My "Old Primitive Sisters Group" now has their website up and running! I have signed up for a booth there and am really excited to be a part of it all! You can see what I initally have for you here...Just click on the my banner image below to get directly to my booth!




But check back often because these gals are just getting warmed up!


AND be sure to click on the banner link below to visit all my sisters!


Sign My Guestbook!