Monday, November 28, 2011

My Silent Auction Item 2011

So it's time again for our BHMS silent auction to raise money for gifts and food for needy families. Last year's ghost hunts were a big fave....but they were also a heck of a lot of work to organized etc. Plus I wanted to do something a bit different...Hence ....the above certificate which will be attached to a gift basket including some bottles of alcoholic beverages with the gift tag shown below attached to the bottles.

I think I'll wrap the gift basket in some black or dark blue basket paper (cellophane) and tie it with some of that gold garland that has little stars attached to it.  I'll also put the 7 reading cards and the 2 crossroads reading cards in the basket!!
Seven cards for seven readings....they can use them over time or throw a party and invite six friends for readings.  Then we have two crossroads readings which I will do upon request but I will do these alone and type up the reading for the person. I find this method sometimes to work really well because there is less pressure to speak and time to really think about what the cards are "saying".
I doubt I can top last years awesome bids on the Ghost Hunts.....but I hope I get some bids on this to raise some money for the cause. If nothing else the alcohol should spur on some bids because I'm planning to get some GOOD stuff...LOL.  After I put the basket together I'll take a picture and I'll let you know how the bidding goes!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: Notes from the Frontline

Black Friday, frenzied shopping for the best deals of the holiday season, kicked off Thanksgiving evening at 10:00 with Walmart opening it's first round of "super deals".  This, after several stores, such as Toys R Us had earlier "super sales" prior to the traditional Black Friday.

My daughters and I have shopped Black Friday for quite a few years, and so despite the outrage at the earlier and earlier sales that required workers to miss their own Thanksgiving dinners we headed out again this year. After browsing the holiday ads, which seemed heavily loaded with electronics and sorely lacking in what I call "normal" gifts, we headed to Walmart at 8:15ish. Yes, I know the first "round" didn't start till ten p.m. but arriving early ensured us that we could weave our way around the heaping mounds of plastic wrapped items and locate the one or two things that we wanted to at least "look" at.

The picture above, snapped by my personal photographer, Kelsey Schenck, shows the waiting masses. I found myself with a bit of a problem because one of the items I was "assigned" to get (yes we each had our missions to complete) was located at the front of the store, while the other was at the back. Never mind that they were both toys, there are no truly defined "departments" on Black Friday.  Since neither were "hot items" and neither were marked down enough to create undue stress, I stood patiently listening to the Black Friday chit chat.

Many people wandered by with one or two items in hand, taken from a mountain before the designated "start" time. A few people grumbled about the obvious lack of regard for the rules and a few tried to circumvent the rules by collecting items at their feet or on shelves next to them without "officially" putting them into their carts.

Suddenly at about 9:20ish we heard a commontion from another area of the store and people began racing by our area with their carts. It seems that someone had decided to start a tad early and once the masses started ripping into the mounds of stuff, the Walmart employees, probably wisely, decided it wasn't worth a big fight to even try to get them "under control."  Yet they would have their "revenge" because even with your items in your cart no one could check out until 10:00. Even with that we ended up out of the store by 10:13.

Walmart

Check Out Lines:



Total spent $108.00 

Next stop Target Number 1. We arrived in the parking lot a couple of hours early so we tried to nap but ended up chatting and watching the line grow, and grow, and grow. We thought maybe Target was giving away sips from the Fountain of Youth. Wow, there were only TWO items in this store that we were even slightly interested in but hey we were already in the parking lot so we might as well watch the show!

What you can't tell from this picture is that the line actually wraps around the store and I mean COMPLETELY AROUND the store. When the doors actually opened at midnight we assumed people would enter the store. We'd hop in the back of the line and see if anything was left worth looking at. Instead a police officer and Target worker let in 30 people at a time, waiting about 5-10 minutes between round of entry. WOW...at that rate we could be here hours just to enter the store...forget about checking out. We watched for about 30 minutes with no end of the line in sight. People started emerging from the store with big TVs and the line cheered. What I did note though was that most people's carts were actually pretty empty. One or two items but never a heaping cart full of items. We decided to cut our losses (time wise) and head to another Target about 15 minutes away.

Total Spent:  $0.00

Target Number 2:

If there was a huge line at this store it was already gone by the time we arrived. We grabbed some PJs and a few movies. The checkout line wrapped around the store but it was very well defined and orderly. Some people stood in line while other members of their group looked at other items and then rejoined them. No one complained about it. It's the nature of Black Friday. We stood in line too long for PJs and movies but our next store didn't open until 5:00 a.m. so we had to hang out somewhere. :)

Total Spent: $20.50

The last bit of turkey and dressing drained from our system as we waited so a bit of breakfast at 3:30a.m. seemed the thing to do. IHop...packed. We waited about 30 minutes for a table, ate breakfast and headed to K-Mart.

Breakfast Total Cost:  $33.50

K Mart:

Managed a short nap in KMart parking lot. Line was already wrapping around the building when we arrived so why shiver in the cold.  Store opened at 5:00. The KMart "guard" was telling late comers to just wait until the line entered and then they could pass through the doors. However more and more people were running to the end of the line so in the end she snapped at everyone just to go to the end of the line. Frustrating to be told to wait and then to get in line. People were orderly but there were a lot of people for a KMart store at 5:00a.m.  Entered the store found our two items quickly and headed to the checkout. The lines were short and it took about 15 minutes to check out. Again people's average purchase: two-three items. We were asked if we wanted to buy "extended warranty" on the video game we purchased. No, I expect it to work long enough to get my money's worth. It's a gamble today though.

Total Cost: $59.89

Gordman's

Words alone can not describe this chaos. Evidently the first 100 or 200 people received smallish shopping bags and they could put whatever they wanted in them and get 25% off. Needless to say, we were not in the first 200.  The store was packed and the line chaotic, snaking its way back and forth around the store. Line jumping would be easy in this situation. We wisely decided to depart.

Total Cost: $0.00

Michael's

What can I say?  I wanted to pick up a few more Christmas Journals. Ended up getting a gingerbread house kit also. No lines and no crazy crowds.

Total Cost:  $13.99

Target Number 1 Revisted:

It was on our way home and my daughter wanted to see if they still had a copy of a couple of DVDs she wanted so we returned to Target Number 1. They did have one of the DVDs and I picked up a nice set of sheets at the "door buster" price, plus a couple other little items.

Total Cost: $18.46

GRAND TOTAL: $254.34  (I'm pretty frugal so I don't consider that small change but it certainly isn't a HUGE amount either, especially considering that $33.50 is actually breakfast out.)

That's it folks, notes from the Black Friday Frontlines. Now for a few observations.
  • People were NOT buying. Not really. Average 2-3 items per person. Still a lot considering the number of people but nothing like in years past.
  • People were not friendly nor light hearted. This was SERIOUS business. In years past at least people joked about the craziness. Store workers were also disgruntled. I can understand it. Who wants to leave Thanksgiving to deal with the shopping frenzy. In years past, while not jovial, they have at least attempted to appear friendly.
  • Doorbusters were not serving their purpose. What I mean by this is they are suppose to lure you into the store and then you stick around shopping and pick up additional items. With the times of the store openings, the crowds, and other factors, No one was doing that. They got their items and left the store. I didn't really see anyone actually "shopping".
  • While electronics may be "hot items" and the lines at the first Target were crazy, there were still MANY of the items left at the second Target. Tom-toms, two versions of a portable DVD player and X-boxes were plentiful.
  • While standing in line people often "talk themselves" out of the purchase. You could see "discarded items" all along the checkout line in Target. So as a store my goal would be faster check out lines!
  • I haven't checked out online sales yet but I'm betting they are slightly better than in store. I plan to shop amazon sometime this weekend, so I'll let you know more details later.
That's it! Thoughts from the Front Lines!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another Art Journal Page

 

I hesitate to share some of my art journal pages. They are so.."elementary like" compared to some of the really awesome ones I see on some blogs. I tend to think of those as "real art" and mine as well, I don't know something less. But the truth is....even though they might look like something a child creates in school, they are still very satisfying to create.  Afterall I do them for me, for creative expression and not to display.

So after some thought I'm sharing my first snowfall page. I found the little quotation in a magazine and that spurred the page. I used blue and white paint to create the background and then tore piece of white paper for the snow man and snow flakes. 

The quotation: "The first fall of snow is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different." J.B. Priestley

It was fun to be messy with the paint and even though it is rather elementary, I still like it. It taps into that childish joy inside us all about the beauty of snow. It also nudges those childhood memories and the fun of just running wildly in the falling snow!!  To me those things are the important things about art journals...not the creation but the things the creative process taps into, unleashes, and celebrates!

I'm going to continue in my art journal in 2012 but I also have another crative challenge I read about on another blog. I will be sharing that with you at the end of December so you can get ready to have some crative FUN also!  I hope you'll join me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Art Journal Word 2010


This is a page from my art journal. It is featuring my word from 2010: Serendipity....I feel like I need to add something to the pink glitter but for now I'll just leave it as it is....until I come across what I need.....sort of through SERENDIPITY

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Journal Christmas Challenge


So this evening for some reason I pulled my art journal off the shelf. You can see it here beneath the little Christmas book. It's a simple yellow spiral bound book that I bought at Michaels a few years ago. I'm not particularly artistic but I had read about keeping an art journal and I wanted to give it a whirl. I have about 13 pages completed in it....none famous works of art for sure...but looking back I remember how I did enjoy creating them. I miss that creative outlet...no pressure...I'm not making a gift, or creating decor for the home, it can look as crazy and "unartistic" as I want or as it turns out....and it doesn't really matter...:)

I WANT to work on it again....that's the beauty of an art journal....it can be something you WANT to do...not something you HAVE to do...no deadlines nor pressure. I'm going to do a creative challenge here at Ginger's Journey starting in January...but more about that after Christmas.

Anyway, as so often happen, thinking about the art journal made me start thinking about my other journals. I love notebooks, journals, diarys and all sorts of little "writing treasures". I'm not particularly good at keeping them up to date....large gaps of time go by with blank pages. Still I love them.  So naturally when I was at Michaels the other day I couldn't resist the cute little Christmas notebook you see in the picture. I actually bought another one with a different cover design too.

A couple nights ago I got out the little Thanksgiving notebook that I "insist" AKA "make" everyone write in on Thanksgiving. We started it in 2006.  Everyone writes a brief statement. I thought immediately of the little Christmas books that I had just purchased but the Christmas journals just didn't seem to fit in with everyone writing in them. I do think however they would make a super daily journal for December. I could write one page or many. (I may even stop by Michaels and pick up some more for future years. I love the little size and the covers!)  I like th idea of journaling my thoughts about Christmas throughout the month.

I took a Journal Your Christmas online class a few years ago with super prompts and terribly creative people. I managed it for about FIVE days. I still plan to finish that Christmas art/writing journal at some point but this little sized daily writing journal seems more manageable right now.  There are so many Christmas thoughts I can think of to write about. So my personal challange is to journal daily in December....I'll let you know how it goes.

PS:  I do love blogging but there is something intimate and simple and authentic about actually putting pen to paper. Perhaps I will be creating treasures for future generations to read. Writing is like a glimpse of a person's soul.  I will share some of my entries here on Ginger's Journey. I hope you enjoy them. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blah



It doesn't happen very often but sometimes I just experience a BLAH....day or so....nothing really wrong....just a vague feeling of blah... 

When that happens I try to think of the many positive aspects of my life. Of the people who are part of my journey and how each one plays a special role.  Thanks to all who touch my life, whether in person on through cyber friendships.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Darkness



It's happening again. That sensation that something is hurtling through the darkness at me and I know not what. I've written about it before here on Ginger's Journey.  The extremely odd feeling that something is there...just beyond my grasp. I hypothesized one time that it was another me in a different dimension. That the veil between the two was thin and that the sensation I experienced was a result of the "other me" being so close. I'm not sure I believe in alternative universes but....

When I reflect on it...I can't decide if it is something that is nagging at me. Something I should know but is just there outside the realm of consciousness. Perhaps it is a sense of time speeding past. In one way it is unnerving and in other ways it is not an unpleasant sensation. Just a curious one.

Sometimes it stays with me for days and at other times it is but a fleeting feeling, one easily brushed away. I find myself restless when it happens. Not really bored just restless as if I am waiting for something and I know not what.  It is at times like these that I like to shuffle the cards (mostly the faeries oracle). For some reason they have a calming effect.

Perhaps the feeling is a statement of where I am. Perhaps it indicates that I have wandered too far off the path of this journey through life. On the other hand, perhaps it is an indication that I have become lulled into a dull stagnant approach and I need to seek answers in different realms. Perhaps I will ask my old friends the faeries. 

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