Back from our trip to Texas

Our daughter and her life partner recently moved into their new home in Pearland, Texas.  We had visited her once before when they lived in an apartment in Houston but we flew down that time.  This trip we decided to drive.  Yep, we are talking road trip.  I guess we baby boomers never get that out of our systems.  We loaded up our 2010 version of a hippy van - a Honda CR-V - dog and all, and hit the road.  The 8 track tape deck has been replaced by XM radio, the highs come from caffeine and sugar, and the devil may care attitude has been overtaken by Map Quest, GPS, and reservations at the La Quinta (dog friendly).

The romanticism of the road trip is not gone, but a healthy dose of reality tempers it for me now.  Spending three days in a car driving close to 500 miles a day becomes an endurance test in which my knees and back complain and my legs swell.  Thank goodness my husband and I can always find something interesting to talk about. 

I saw a lot of notables on this trip. The many swamps abundant with life and dusty, lifeless crop fields.  Single oil well pumps and huge oil refineries. Up scale Texas living and state after state of  houses where cardboard and plastic were used as roofing.  The sudden emergence of Lookout Mt. in TN and the utter flatness of TX.  Too many crosses on the side of the road signifying a life lost. 

I had never driven through MS or LA and I'm glad I did.  LA really is America's wetland and MS is prettier than I expected.  Looking at the world through the windshield at 70 mph - it is amazing what you can see.

Please visit my husband's blog for some nice bird photos.  http://birdsnsky.blogspot.com/ 


More Card Samples for Operation Write Home

Here are some more card samples I made with my Cricut Imagine that I am shipping to the OWH reshipper.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment that I was able to reach my personal goal of 100 cards for this shipment.


Cricut Imagine and Operation Write Home

When I first became aware of Operation Write Home, I was a handcrafted card maker. Nothing was automated, although I did use a Cuttlebug to help with dry embossing.  I thought long and hard about how I wanted to proceed with OWH and knew that I would never be able to make a great number of cards with how I was set up.  My cards were  no works of art, certainly not compared to what I had seen in magazines.  So my mind started to work on this issue of limited numbers and mostly handmade vs machine assisted and the ability to increase my card production by quite a bit.  As my past posts indicate, I decided to purchase a Cricut Imagine and I believe it is one of the best crafting investments I have ever made.  It has revolutionized my card making similar to how the Cuttlebug enhanced my use of dry embossing.  As long as I have white paper, I have access to libraries of printed and solid cardstock.  In the past 3 days, I have made over 100 A2 sized cards to send to our troops overseas.  This will be my first shipment, but I wanted that shipment to be over 100 cards and the Imagine helped me reach my goal.    I  LOVE  my Imagine. Here are a couple of examples.  Nothing fancy, but I hope you and the troops like them!


I'm in Cricut Heaven

My replacement Cricut Imagine arrived yesterday but it had a bum power supply.  I called Provo Craft and the customer rep I talked to - wish I could remember his name - sent me a replacement over night - at no charge!!  WOW!  It came in today around 11am, and by golly, that bad boy worked like a charm.  I've been printing and cutting all day.  As a matter of fact, my original cutting mat cracked in 3 places.  Thank goodness I had a replacement!  Anyway, I really felt behind in getting my cards together for Operation Write Home operationwritehome.org so I've put my effort in that direction.  I was planning on using the new Cricut Christmas Cards cartridge to make a ton of holiday cards, but it isn't compatible with the Imagine right now.  Word has it that the fix is in the next update slated for next week.  The deadline for mailing the cards for Christmas is October 30.  If I am brave and decide to install the next update - and it works - I just might make it under the wire for that mailing deadline.  I knew I wouldn't make the Oct. 15 deadline for Thanksgiving and I'd hate to miss ALL the holidays this year.  Fingers and eyes crossed!

Now I need to get to a local craft store to buy more cutting mats and another color cartridge.  Stand back, I'm getting serious here people.  <smile>


My New Cricut Imagine Arrives Tomorrow

I can't tell you how excited I am to be getting my replacement Imagine in tomorrow.  I've missed not being able to go in and play on my machine.  Making cards and card elements is addictive - kind of like that old potato chip commercial "bettcha can't eat just one."  I thought I would be more disciplined while it was gone and print out lots of projects, but I've been under the weather.  The Imagine will certainly cheer me right up!  Projects I need to do before I go out of town in a couple of weeks is a) make card sets for my daughter for when we go visit her, b) make a card set for my bff and send it to her, and c) get cracking on more cards for Operation Write Home.  The Imagine REALLY helps me make more and nicer cards than I could on my own and that alone is worth the money I spent on it.  I have endless supplies of really nice papers and cute layouts if I want plus elements that help me think up all sorts of things.  I'll probably burn through at least 50 sheets of paper before Friday, no problem.  AT LEAST that much.  Thank goodness I have over 200 sheets of  white 12 x 12 available and at least that much white 8.5 x 11.  With extra ink and extra blades, I'm good to go!


Provo Craft Provides AMAZING Customer Service!

If you have been reading my blog, then you know I had trouble with the update to my Cricut Imagine.  After all was said and done, I ended up having to return my Imagine for a replacement.  That is the BEGINNING of the story.

Simply said, Provo Craft provides AMAZING customer service.  Everyone I dealt with at Provo Craft was professional, friendly, and really listened to my concerns.  Technical Support and Chris Dodge:  I don't know how he does it, but Chris seems to be everywhere answering questions for everyone.  This guy is like a Cricut Super Hero (ta da - super hero music in background).  He helped me as if I were the only PC customer with a problem.  Really, and I mean REALLY patient and knowledgeable.  Customer Service and LeAnne Rodeback:  Once Chris and I decided I needed to return my Imagine, LeAnne was so responsive and took care of the trouble ticket while I stayed on the line.  She also sent followup emails, letting me know they shipped my replacement Imagine BEFORE they received the one I shipped!  What company does this??  She even sent me an email last night asking if I had included anything other than just the machine and electrical cord.  I told her yes and the items and she replied immediately and showed the trouble ticket she had opened asking for 2 day shipping for those items. Oh my gosh!  They must be losing money on me by now.  To top it all off, last night I got an email from Jim Colby, VP of Product Development for Provo Craft.  He apologized  for my initial experience with the Imagine not being a positive one.  At the end of the email he gave me his direct email, phone and cell phone!!!  OK people.  NO company does this.  I mean, this was just a $500 machine and they are bending over backwards to make us happy.  I bet every single Imagine owner who has had trouble has gotten this same treatment.  Beyond impressive customer service!

I've been reading lots of complaints and comments on the various forums and groups about how disappointed people are with the Imagine, blah, blah, blah. Lots of BMW - bitch, moan, and whine!  OK, folks - if you want the latest and greatest then you have to expect a few growing pains.  We are dealing with something totally new here and I, for one, am astounded at how GREAT the IMAGINE is!  Let me repeat that.  The Cricut Imagine is FANTASTIC!  AMAZING!  So much POTENTIAL!  All of you nay sayers out there- just you wait.  In six months I bet you will be pooping your pants when you see all the Imagine can do.  No, I have no insider info.  As a matter of fact, this is my first Cricut product EVER.  But.  Once the computer interface software is available, hold on to your teeth, Grandma.  This thing will knock your wig off!  I just know it in my gut.  I trust my gut.

So while some of you choose to spin your wheels complaining about one little thing or another, I'm going to be having enough fun for everybody.  I have a lot to learn but learning is fun, too.  This is the most fun I've had with crafting since - well, maybe since I first discovered the Cuttlebug!  Still love my bug.  If the Imagine ever becomes capable of embossing well, I might just have a fit of delight. 

I SO heart my Imagine.  Read it and weep you complainers.