Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A potential new printer?

I've been working so hard for so long to get Tomoe River paper reliably back into my shop.  Tomorrow I'm going to see a used printer that I could purchase that might do the job.  Fingers crossed!

In other news, my cat April that has almost totally bankrupted me with her care in the last 9 months has finally had an upswing - steroids are working to keep her liver inflammation down, and now it looks like we are moving towards $220 blood work every three months instead of every two weeks.  Not only that, but the medication costs only $50 a month versus $350.  Yay!

In the meantime, my current, unreliable printer seems to be working for small batches of TR paper.  What I'd like to do is this - message me if you'd like to buy TR stationery, and I'll print up your order in advance.  If the printer works and your order is ready, you can then buy the items from my etsy shop.  That way I won't have to turn anyone down.  Sound good?

And hopefully I'll have an idea about whether or not I'll be getting this new printer by the end of the week.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The tentative return of Tomoe River paper

Finding a printer that works with 52 gsm Tomoe River paper has been a complete nightmare.  I've bought and returned at least five printers, all of which I confirmed in advance WOULD work with TR paper.  When I got each of them home, set them up, and gave it a whirl, every one jammed.  I called tech support, who would then laugh in my face at the idea that the printer could possibly print on 52 gsm paper.  Telling them they the spec sheet, the manual, the sale reps, AND another tech support employee had all confirmed in advance that it should work did nothing to quell their laughter.

In desperation, I even tried an inkjet printer.  It does work with TR paper, but the print quality is far below a laser printer. I'll keep it for personal use, just in case, and also because I bought it at Henry's where apparently printers are final sale (UGH!), but I don't feel comfortable selling what comes out of the inkjet printer.

However, today my old printer decided to start working again.  I honestly have no idea why.  I'm going to start small - only selling a few TR sets per week to start, and making sure to give lots of down time to the printer so as not to overwork it.

I'm still working on  finding a printer that is reliable for TR paper.  I've got a few leads, but every day, another lead comes up short.  Just like it did today.  At any rate, for now, I'll just make a few sets available whenever it looks like the printer is working.  Add this listing to your cart, one for EACH SET you'd like on TR paper.  Then in the notes to seller, please let me know which sets you'd like on TR paper.

I've also listed a few new sets that I've had designed for months.  I've been sending them out as freebies to customers, but hadn't gotten around to listing them yet.  I've got a few more designed already as well, and I'll list them this week and next.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

um ... hi!

So, I've been pretty out of the blog loop lately.  I guess I just haven't figured out how to make blogging a regular part of my life, but I'd like to try and do better.

Things have been really crazy since the Washington Pen Show.  The show itself was pretty awful - my poor roommate got horribly sick, and I got horribly sick a day after I got back at the end of the show.  It was the worst illness I'd had in a while, and I deeply pitied my roommate even more than I had at the time, knowing she hadn't been at home when she experienced this illness.  Yeesh.

The show itself was nice, but I hated being shackled to my table to sell stationery.  It wasn't worth it, and next year I'll go without getting a table so I can enjoy the show more.  I barely got to see the main room at all in 2016!

Shortly after I got back from the show, one of my cats fell ill.  Like, BADLY ill.  She was hospitalized in the VEC (vet emergency clinic) in Toronto for a full week.  The bill came to $7k (ouch), and when she returned home, I had to adhere to an insane regime of force feedings through a tube in her stomach at all hours of the night, meds morning and night, the works, and it lasted for months and months.  The vet was optimistic that April would eventually fully recover, so I kept doing everything they suggested and kept hoping, despite continual vet bills that came with bi-weekly check ups and months more of medication that cost $300/month (for just the meds, never-mind the blood-work and tests!).  So far the bill is up at $10k.  Of course, I didn't have that money, and KWS sales were extremely slow given that the printer no longer worked for Tomoe River paper, so I used up all my savings and took out a $5k line of credit at the bank to cover the cost.

I got comfortable, I'll admit.  I thought April was going to bounce back.  At another check up last week, bad news came back from her blood-work - her liver ALT levels ere rising, which indicates a chronic liver inflammation.  She will have to take antibiotics for the rest of her life, and there's no guarantee the antibiotics will even work to keep the infection under control.  All I can do is keep taking her back for check ups and keep hoping.

 Since August 2016, my father has been hospitalized three times, which throws everything into a spiral of chaos at our house.  Mom & I don't like dad to be alone at the hospital given his dementia, so she's there during the day and I come to help support her at night.  Whenever we bring him home, his delirium has left his cognition much further advanced, and it takes weeks to get him even somewhat back to his baseline.  Each time, his new normal is worse than the time before.

In December 2016, mom cracked under the stress and had a "threatened stroke" or TIA.  We stayed in the hospital all day, her speech slurred, her cognition slowed to almost a halt.  It took weeks for her to recover fully, but I'm just grateful there was no paralysis.

And finally, just recently, I got horrible sick with a bad cold.  After a week, I thought I was healed, but two back to back kick boxing classes proved me wrong, and I woke up the next morning bed ridden.  I ended up taking a week off work.  I just started back last week, and I can still feel the virus crouching in my throat, waiting for me to get cocky again and go back to the gym to show me just how NOT healed I am.

Suffice it to say that I'm doing my best to hold it together, but it hasn't been extremely easy lately.  Still, I'd like to try and be better about keeping this blog even slightly in the loop.

I leave you with a photo of Calli, looking as put out as I felt over the last eight months!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Washington, here I come! :D

I leave tomorrow morning to run some errands before I head to the airport for noon.  I land in Washington at 2:35, situated at the hotel by 4.  I'm SUPER excited!!  I have reeeeeeeeeally awful food allergies, so I need to go buy some food from Trader Joe's when I arrive, and then I'll spend the night putting together packages for sale and watching the in-house free movies.  :D

I am leaving my shop open while I'm gone, but I won't be able to fulfill any orders until I get back to work on Monday, August 8th.  

Happy Washington Pen Show, everyone!  

Friday, 15 July 2016

Sale time!

Well, the sale is ready.  I've changed all my prices and added some new sets.  I've still got more sets coming, but they won't be finished until the end of next week.  I'm finally planning to finish my Women At Work pin-up girl set.  I'm so close!!

At any rate, if you're inclined to help me with some vet bills (Luna's back on her old meds, by the way, but at the dose she needs, it's still $77 a month) and replacing my father's hearing aid, check out my etsy shop!  Everything's on sale at 20% off (except the $6 sets, which are still $6), including the bulk order of 40 sheets of TR paper.  :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, 8 July 2016


Blerg is this word I use when I'm trying to shake off the sadness or discomfort of reality and steel myself to keep going.  On the one hand, life doesn't seem easy when I get up every day and do all the things that need doing, and endure all the things that need enduring.  At the same time, it seems ridiculous to say that because of how privileged I know I am, on a variety of levels.  And knowing how lucky I am is part of what helps me keep going.

At any rate, BLERG.  Things have been really up and down over the last two months, and I can't believe it's taken me that long to post.  There has been a lot of stuff going on with my father's dementia getting worse, and his care being an ever increasing pressure on my mom and I.  The house is in need of a lot of repair, and I can only do some of the work myself - the rest I have to pay for.  Except I'm not exactly rolling in money.

Speaking of which, the pets have cost a lot of money these last few months.  Not just in vet bills, but in things they have destroyed that need repairing.  Exhibit A:  Our kitchen chairs.

Notice anything missing?  Like THE SEAT??

The kittens are both to blame for this.  Despite having a million scratching posts that I regularly spray catnip on to keep the kitties interested, Butters and Ripple (aka the two tiny terrors) decided they preferred to use the *hand painted* woven chairs that mom brought from Mexico years ago along with the ornately painted kitchen table.  Well, now the chairs are completely unusable, and we have nothing to sit on at the table.  I thought about buying new chairs, but they are only about $20-30 cheaper per chair than getting these ones restored (which costs $150 + tax per chair, and there's four).  These broken chairs match the table, and more than that, my mother loves them.  It seems really unfair that because I rescued some cats she now has to put up with the extra indignity of mismatching kitchen furniture and the loss of furniture she loves.  She already puts up with the cats all over the place, litter boxes in the hall, cats under her feet while she cooks, and all the animals wanting in and out all day long.  So I really want to get these fixed for her.

Cost:  $678 + materials

There was another major destruction recently - my dad's hearing aid.  Exhibit B:

That's all that's left.  Mom took it off dad while she was taking him upstairs to get ready for bed one night while I was still at work late.  Except she left it on a shelf that Ripple managed to get up onto.  He got so excited by the dangling wire bit that he batted it off the shelf and completely destroyed it.  For days we didn't know what had happened to it.  Originally we thought it was our fault losing it, but Ripple brought us the wire half of it as a present, all proud of his hunting skills.  UGH.

Of course, it costs $1500 to replace.  Mom and I discussed just not getting a new one, but my father has very bad dementia, and we have noticed that without his hearing aid he is essentially deaf.  The problem with that is that without auditory stimulation, dad's brain shuts down even more.  Maybe there's no medical explanation for that, but from experience, what I can see is that without his hearing aid for a few days, he stops being able to walk down stairs (he can't figure out which foot to put in front of the other and ends up stumbling dangerously down!), eat food off a plate on his own, recognize where he is, or even recognize me.  While we were waiting for his hearing aid replacement to come in, he didn't know who I was.  He kept asking me if I was a "school friend", except he couldn't tell me who he thought I was a school friend OF.

The culprit for this cost and destruction is Ripple.  This is his attempt at an "Who me?  But I'm such a sweet, innocent kitty!" face.  I'm buying it not at all.

COST:  $1474 (taxes included)

Next up is Luna's meds.  I've been steadily increasing the dose of the Vanectyl-P as Luna became more and more immune to it's positive effects, while at the same time getting more sensitive to its negative ones.  She drank all the time, she started needing to pee often, and eventually began peeing in the house when left alone for even just a few hours.  All of that I could have figured a way around, except her eyes started getting growths on them again.  I called the vet to let him know they weren't working as well as they once were, and to ask to him to proactively start thinking about what we were going to do when the day came that the meds didn't work at all.

He mentioned there was a new drug that had just come out called Apoquel, from the same company that makes the Vanectyl-P.

COST:  $77 a month

Just now, I did a bunch of reading on it, and it's got some reports of AWFUL side effects, so now I'm completely freaked out.  But before a minute ago, I was really happy without how it was working.  Luna looks good and feels great.  So, fans of stationery - what do I do?  There's nothing else that has been controlling the growths on her eyes and the raw hamburger meat that her muzzle turns into without it.  EEK.  I think I'll have to keep going with this, but perhaps I can try lowering the dose, and I'll definitely add 6 month wellness tests for blood work to make sure everything is still okay.  Which are $250+ each time.  BLERG.

I've got a vet appointment for her tomorrow at 9:30 anyway (COST:  $75 for appointment and nail trim), so I guess I'll talk to him about maybe going to an allergy specialist.  But what if it turns out she's allergic to cats??  What do I do?  Get rid of all the cats?  I can't exactly get rid of a highly aggressive, supremely anxious, 3 year old dog.  If it were that easy, we would have rehomed her when we got her, like we had always intended to do before finding out she was so dangerous.  And I frankly don't want to get rid of ANYONE.  Man.  Okay, Simone.  Stop your brain from turning in tiny, frenzied, terrified circles and don't get ahead of yourself.  One step at a time.  Just breathe.

(10 minutes later)

Okay, I'm back.  I had to take a break, I got so worked up about this new drug potentially giving Luna cancer that I couldn't stand it anymore and needed to let off some anxiety.  I took a walk, ate some cookies, and now I'm vibrating at a slightly lower level.  Blerg, indeed.

In other news, my friend Jackie came to visit last month for a week.  It was so nice to have her here.  She lives in BC, and I'm grateful she comes back at least once a year to see me.  :)  We went hiking with Luna (who loves Jackie, and vice versa), and I've got cute pics to prove it.  Of course, she was a total disaster on the hikes.  Whenever anyone passed us, especially a cyclist, I had to jump off the trail into the brush and control Luna while she snarled, lunged, and barked loudly.  Gah.  Still, she was so happily exhausted when we got home she slept 5 hours until bed, went pee, and slept soundly through the night.  For a dog with agoraphobia, she was a trooper.  I'm proud of her.

In other breaking news, we now have Turkey Vultures living in the tree two houses down from our yard.  They are pretty big and kind of terrifying.  Let's just say Butters' days of being outside with minimal supervision are OVER.  He has to be within a few feet of Luna or myself at all times now.  Here's Luna, taking her duties seriously.  I like it when they are both safely on the deck.

 And here is Butters after a weekend day when I sat with him outside for 5 hours.  Poor guy's all tuckered out.

In amongst all this, and tons of other things going on that I won't bore you with (here are the highlights - I saved a baby nestling cardinal I found on our front porch, I couldn't save an adult squirrel the turkey vultures dropped from the top of a tree, I couldn't find a live chipmunk that Butters brought into the house, and the semi-paralyzed squirrel that had been frequenting our yard that I was nursing and making sure was protected and fed and watered disappeared after a few weeks and hasn't been seen since), I've managed to design some new stationery.  The downside is that Canada Post is about to strike, so I really can't take on new sales until I know for sure I can mail them out!  Here's a sneak peek.  I haven't finished all the sets yet and some require some tweaking.





I suppose that's it for now.  Have a great weekend, and I'll keep you posted about when the Canada Post strike is over!  I'm so desperate for funds to replace dad's hearing aid at least that when the strike is over, I'm thinking of having a 20% off (or more!) sale for fundraising purposes.

Happy letter writing!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The start of Pin-ups month

I've been working on it for a while, but I'm excited to announce that I'm almost done my series of pin-up girls!  My life is pretty hectic, and although I've completed most of the templates, sometimes I get stuck and can't come up with a design I like, so there's got to be a bit of wiggle room.  But I've got enough already done that I feel (semi?) confident putting out this schedule:

Releasing one set every Wednesday, starting next week (May 11th):
Come Eat With Me (ie. picnic time!) (3 Sheets)
Oceanside Lounging (ie. at the beach) (4 sheets)
Homebodies Have More Fun (ie. around the house) (4 sheets)
Getting Dirty (ie. fun in the garden) (4 sheets)
Women at Work pt 1. (6 sheets)
Bathing Beauties (3 sheets, maybe 4)
Women on the Move (ie. sports!) (4 sheets, maybe 5)

All the names of the sets are still subject to change.  :)

To celebrate the release of my pin-ups, I've completed and listed the first set - Postage Paid - a three sheet set of pin-ups with a snail mail / writing / fountain pen theme.  Enjoy!

Have a great day!  I'm heading home for some serious work on my short story about inuksuit.  I've joined a writing group that meets every Monday night, so I really have to step up my game.  If anyone knows any good books for tightening up my sentences without make sentence structure extremely boring, let me know.