Hers Was a Dry Embossed Wit

It feels good to blog again. Does anyone else feel mentally stopped up if they don't throw down some dribble regularly?

But I've been busy. Or sleepy. Or both.

(Yep, Scary Shari, I texted you not once, not twice, but trois times! One time to alert you to the wonders of watermelon soda at Coke World down the street, otherwise to say I was crashing to bed, sorry, etc. I did get your call but I don't think you could hear me - then my Dad called to find out how I could set him up with a new ISP in the next half-hour from 1500 miles away, so when you called back it went to voicemail. Pity Skype doesn't have call waiting yet. Thanks for the belated BD thoughts, though! By the way, Mike lives on the other side of the planet in Australia and seldom tags along anywhere. *grin* )

I ended up having a great weekend. On Friday night I went to the Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook Expo at the Stardust. Wow!

First, I hadn't been inside the Stardust since I was a fetus, and my memory of that time is sketchy at best. I'm sure much has changed since 1969, but the casino's low ceilings and the way you can still drive right up to the building and park next to it makes me wonder. I kept thinking, "is this where that mob boss tried to pick up Mom at the bar?" We'll never know.

The Stardust was the first place Mom and Dad stayed together in Las Vegas, either in '68 or '69, and everyone says it's going bye-bye boom-boom next year. Casino Death Watch (and others) quote the Stardust (Boyd Gaming) president as saying back in March that "it's safe to speculate that the current Stardust property will be demolished," so you may save your grains of salt for that fabulous pesto you ought to be making me in the kitchen while I sit here and don't grade papers.

So, it was bittersweet, being there, and I love being bittersweet when it comes to architecture, so it was more sweet than bitter, but only because it was more bitter than sweet.

That CDW site needs a feed. (All of you people without feeds need a feed.) I can't believe the 'Ho is closing in just a few weeks! It's right next to the Stardust, and I didn't go in, dagnamit. (I can only take so much bitter and sweet, like that Charlene song.) That means I have to go back ASAP. Oh well, I was planning on hitting the Circus Circus Frightdome anyway - only car trouble has kept me away. (To be discussed later in this post, should I have the strength. How's that pesto coming?)

I can tell you that the back of Westward Ho is not as interesting as the front. Or maybe it's actually more interesting, and that's the problem. Speculation says it's to become Yet Another Condo High-Rise. ARRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. The great thing about the Strip is that all of the glitter is one big public playground. Condo after condo after condo after condo (effing Donald and Ivana) defeats the whole reason that anyone would want to build a condo there.

ANYway. The Expo! No, wait, the buffet! Pretty decent. I liked the hand sanitizer available as you enter the dining room. (Better they should offer it before than after.) The food was o-kay. I particularly liked the vegetable egg rolls, but the cheese enchiladas were only middling. Desserts were eh -- tasted a little stale or too sweet or old folksy or something. Salads were nice. There was a largeish selection of meats and fish, if you like that sort of thing. Not bad, and better than Monte Carlo, but not as good as Sunset Station, and it's not a great sign when the cafe has a long line but the buffet is a walk-on.

Now the Expo! It was really fun. I just looked at the vendors on Friday night, but I learned lots. And shopped more. I don't think I could ever step foot in a Hobby Lobby or a Michael's or JoAnn's again - they just can't compare.

For the past few years I've been collecting rubber stamps (mostly ex libris, but I was in a Stampin' Up online club for six months) and the odd marked-down Club Scrap kits on eBay. I have yet to do anything meaningful with any of these bits of paper and ink and geegaws. Whenever I see a cool project, it always seem to require another $10 investment in a certain kind of brad or embossing powder or something -- why can't I ever seem to buy enough?!

But I spent about a hundred bucks on Friday getting a whole pile of great stuff. You know those paper punches? Ninety-nine cents each, thank you very much, and no more than $2.99 for the big ones. (The ones that run about 10 bucks normally.) Self-healing cutting mat for $2. (I warped my $10 one last year.) Lots of rub-on vellum and other stuff for cheap-cheap. I also got two kits for something I can't tell you about right now -- it's a secret. Suffice to say that getting a kit with everything I needed in one tidy bag has changed my inner arts-and-crafts world.

The best deal, however, was the embossing light box, embossing rubbing tool-thing, set of 36 won't-rub-off pastels plus brush and eraser, pair of creatively edged full-sized scissors, glitter gel (I know, it just sounds like I'm drawing hearts on my jeans already) and three brass stencils of my choice for fifty dollars. That little set was courtesy of The Stencil Collection's booth, where I learned how to successfully dry emboss in under sixty seconds. Amazing.

I was so instantly good at dry embossing that I was pleased when it came up in my workshop the next day; no one had to show this otherwise clueless n00b how to do one thing, at least.

But before the workshop was the "serpentine belt on car goes belly up, car gets towed, car spends five or six hours getting repaired while I sit in the stupid little room and periodically grade papers" event. Don't ask.

So, I arrived at the workshop an hour late, hoping to just find the presenter and let her know where to send my stamps. (The class was hosted by two Stampin' Up people, and the $36 fee included making four projects and getting the six-stamp SU "Snowflakes" set by mail later. A steal, if you're familiar with SU's retail prices. eBay isn't much better for this popular set.)

However, some people were still stamping, so they let me join in. What nice people! And they let me make all four projects! I would never have consented to such generosity, but there were still a couple of people left, taking their time, so I slipped in and finally, FINALLY, made some cards!

It was great because I got to play with all of those little things I never have on hand -- organza ribbon, silver metallic pigment ink, vintage brads, dimensional dots, glue dots, juicy markers that replace ink pads, a static-reducing embossing buddy... and I got to be "wasteful" and use many different colours of cardstock without feeling like I need to be frugal.

I made lots of mistakes, sure, but I learned heaps... my projects aren't perfect (I could have inked things better, pressed harder, remembered to fasten my eyelet, etc.), but they're better than the unused potential that's been crowding my shelf space in the form of raw supplies.

(I didn't take much care with these photos, but you get the idea.)

Distressed Burgundy Flake

Card in a Card
Mike's favourite, but for once I don't care much for the black -- the light is bad because some of the silver snowflakes aren't showing up, too

Dry Embossed!
Click to see it larger and check out my dry embossing skills! (Admittedly, I only did about 1/5 of the embossing - the instructor had pre-embossed the cards to save time. Oh, and if you don't know what DE is, it's the raised snowflakes on the main light blue part of the card.)

A Plain Notebook Becomes a Wish List
my favourite - a generic Mead-type notebook converted to a fancy cover. I especially like the word "shop" stamped on that piece of cloth. Read and obey!

I was just really glad to get to go to the workshop despite the slowest dealership service garage causing me to technically miss it; Mike and I had a sentimental attachment to making these cards, you see. It's been almost a year since our Snowfie left us, and Mike was urging me to take a cab, rent a car, whatever I had to do to get there and fondly remember that feisty tuft of hamham through paper crafts.

And the car repair plus tow were covered under the warranty, so now I get to buy more stuff, right?

Which I'm sure I'll do - the SU ladies have near-weekly classes where for $5ish you can come and make three or so cards and they supply everything. It sounds like a great way to try out lots of products before buying, although we can't kid ourselves and pretend I'll always manage to leave without placing an order. (Right now I don't see how I can do anything without brads. And SU ink markers. I remember when I felt the same way about eyelets, but I'm so over those now.)

So that's me right now. Pesto-less, starving, pooped out, split-sleeping, under a pile of ungraded papers, but at least I know how to dry emboss. Just when you fear you'll never learn another interesting skill again...

20 October 2005 |






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