Tuesday, July 26, 2016

HOME/GARDEN: A Good Mild, Light-Bodied Coffee

OMGoodness! Seattle's Best Coffee is the best smelling coffee I've ever had, best-smelling out of the package! I'm not a coffee connoisseur, but for me it's also easily the best-tasting among what I buy as well.

I first tasted it years ago at a Subway store, and loved it ever since. When I open a new pack I almost faint in ecstasy from the fragrance of the 100% Arabica beans that they use. Don't know the difference between Arabica and robusta beans? See my article at I Need Coffee: Arabica vs Robusta: No Contest. I always try to buy Arabica.

SB coffee has an organic, living smell that reminds me of dark, rich, edible earth.  And the flavor! OMGoodness! Mildly woody and finely-balanced. It lingers pleasantly on the tongue, keeping it's rich, light-bodied taste even when brewed thinly. It's not like some coffees that taste like water when not brewed strongly.

It has always been fine-ground, which means that it brews up richly using little product. I like their medium-balanced Seattle's Best Level 3 Ground Coffee. I use a tablespoon measure and add 1 tbsp per 1 cup of water. Some think I like it strong, but others may think I brew a weak cup. It's actually medium in strength.  If I brew is very strong I can't distinguish the fine subtleties of the blend.

Seattle's Best says about their coffee, "...our expert roasters carefully apply just the right amount of heat over a period of time to make sure every batch you get is smooth, delicious, and downright delightful." I agree!

To learn more about the company, visit Seattle's Best Coffee website.

They offer coupons through a site powered by coupons.com
The Creative Seller

Friday, July 22, 2016

CRAFTING: What Is The Difference Between Pigment & Dye Ink?

Dye ink, more thin and transparent,

dries almost immediately on any surface. It's not good for any technique where the color solution needs to remain wet, even for a short period. Dye inksare not good for embossing, one-offs, or monoprinting. It also is not suitable for techniques where the solution has to be moved around, like smearing or smudging, etc.

Pigment ink, which is thicker and richer,

takes longer to dry, especially on glossy, slick, coated paper, etc. This slow drying time allows for embossing powder to be applied and heat set. You can smear and smudge pigment inks, and do simple, quick mono-prints, though block printing ink is best for most one-offs and mono-printing.

How do I remember the difference? I made an association in my mind. To me the word dye means to stain, quickly and strongly, as if to dry quickly. It reminds me of being sorry that something made a stain and I can't get it off because it stained so deeply and richly and dried so fast. The word dye also reminds me of fabric dye, which is used to swiftly stain cloth a specific color. Swiftly relates to drying quickly. These associations help me to remember that pigment ink then is the slow-drying one.

PaperWishes.com has a good guide on understanding ink and stamp pads: Stamping 101 - About Ink Pads.

See this 5 min video at Youtube All About Stamping - Inks 101: Difference Between Dye, Pigment, Chalk, Etc. Inks , or watch it below.

The Creative Seller

Monday, July 18, 2016

MOTIVATION: Never Quit The Authentic You

You should never quit on your dreams,

except if they are not authentic dreams from your heart and spirit.

Never quit on yourself.

The Creative Seller

Sunday, July 17, 2016

MARKETING: Terrific Targeting Tactics~Doc Kazoo

This craftsman knows how to parlay his skills into the current news stream. He's George Collins, known as Doc Kazoo of the Great Aswego Kazoo Factory. I don't know what any of the candidates have to do with kazoos, but he has listed in his Artfire shop the Hillary Election 2016 Collector Edition Campaign Kazoo. He also has one for Donald, and one for Bernie. They are all part of his Campaign 2016 Race To The Whitehouse Collector Edition Folk Kazoos.

While it can seem like a kitschy or exploitative move, it is actually an example of identifying a niche market for a product. Campaign supporters can blow these handcrafted folk instruments to support their candidates, and retain a durable souvenir. Now if his listings don't get a lot of hits during this last half of 2016, I don't know whose will!  Very smart move, Mr. Kazoo! We should be so savvy.

George Collins won Artfire's 2016 Top Arts & Crafts Maker in their Great American Maker search.
The Creative Seller

Monday, July 11, 2016

WRITING: July LI Short Story Challenge & Pointers

Can hardly believe that I finished my 2nd short (micro) story challenge at the group, Aspiring Writers' Short Story Challenge, at Linkedin! Just goes to show us what can be done if we continue to think about a wish. Even if it seems unattainable, we can be surprised to find ourselves there if we just keep stoking our desire. The July challenge is titled "The Dance." If you want to post, you have until 8:00 am EST on July 20th.

The first thing that I do when planning my story is to move away from the ordinary. I don't want to write about the obvious title subject and story line. I want to write about a different twist to the title than what would normally be thought about. How can the subject be twisted to a different viewpoint, and remain true to the challenge title? This is not just a twist ending style of writing, but the whole story has an unusual twist.

At Letterpile.com's article "Short Stories With A Twist Ending," the writing twist is described like this: "Even though a twist ending is supposed to give the reader a jolt, in hindsight it should seem perfectly reasonable. The best ones seem inevitable and seamless." In my July story, the twist comes 1/3 of the way in. It is seamless, if you understand what has happened.

It's good to read as many of the other participants' stories as possible, because it stimulates the creative juices. It's also surprising how some see the subject, and what their take is on the prompt. At the end of the article from Letterpile shared above, is a list of short stories with surprise endings. Some of them, like "The Lottery" and "The Necklace," you may have read. In short, short story writing there has to be something of interest to give the reader, since characters can't be developed nor story lines extended. Writing in a twist is a satisfying way to do this.

Here is my micro, 1000- words, characters and spaces story for July. As long as I participate, I will share them here, and give pointers on how I craft them.

The Dance


Sandi J. Holland

“The coals are just too hot!” he exclaimed, jumping gingerly from left to right, forward and backwards. The naked soles of his feet were not just singed, they were burning! How could he have gotten himself into a situation like this insane, torturous dancing, just to win the beautiful woman? Searching feverishly for a cooling spot among the evil, glowing rocks, he began to pass out.

Opening his eyes, and glancing around gratefully, Tristan once again did the dance, wiggling and twisting his feet to find a cool spot under the sweltering covers. Turning over, he gently kissed Tilly on the neck, marveling at how willing he has always been to make his wife comfortable.

"It’s an honor to have won her hand,” he thought. “She is beautiful inside and out.” Slipping his feet into a less-warm pocket, his nightly dance over, he eased his arm around his prize, thinking for the umpteenth time, “I’ve GOT to get a temp-zoned mattress!” 

The Creative Seller

Thursday, July 7, 2016

CRAFTING: Bella Crafts Techniques eMag Has Easy Instructions

Cover of Bella Crafts Publishing's Craft Techniques eMag

Don't have a lot of time to read them, but just bought an issue of Bella Crafts Publishing Craft Techniques e-mag. It's in .pdf format, and if you've used a .pdf viewer (like free Adobe Acrobat), you know it's easy to turn pages and navigate.

I like Bella Crafts e-mags because they are very colorful, and show quick techniques and projects that are easy to follow. Of course, the main electronic publication, Bella Crafts Quarterly, is totally free. Because of this, anything that you buy from them is a great bargain. To get access to the quarterlies, you just sign on at the site via email address. They're on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook.
The Creative Seller

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

CRAFTING: Creativebug Subscriptions Through Amazon

For 4.95 a month, Amazon is offering unlimited access to 700+ art and craft classes. It's called Creativebug and there is a 14-day free trial that auto-renews, of course. You can cancel through your digital subscriptions page.  Feedback breakdown is 50% 5-star, and 20% 1-star.  One person was not impressed by the class selections nor the teaching style of one instructor. She felt that Craftsy offers more. Someone else suggested using Pinterest and saving yourself that fee. Other comments include not enough advanced classes and ok for the beginner.

On the positive side, some say the classes are professional and provide what is needed to begin crafting.  Another member said the amount of choices are a bit overwhelming at first. The tons of started videos are beautifully made, fun, easy to follow and well-produced.

So you should try it for yourself, if you are seeking a subscription-based craft classes service. Me? I'm going to bow out at this time. Not even going to bother with the 14-day free trial, because I'm quite happy with Youtube. Maybe if I had the time to watch numerous videos often, I'd feel differently. I know that Youtube's ads and hodge-podge of video subjects cannot compare to the dedicated and serene craft interface of workshop sites such as Craftsy, Creativebug, Ravelry and the like. Just the thought beckons to their quiet online creative retreats. Still, for now I agree with that Amazon member who asked why she would subscribe to Creativebug when she can go to Youtube for free.
The Creative Seller

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