Dearest Friends of the Crafting Cottage,

Once again, our Crafting Sisters rose to the occasions - in this case, they rose not only to the challenge presented by the most recent Creative Challenge kits - but to a personal challenge coming straight at The Crafting Cottage.

I want to send a SHOUT OUT to Andrea M., Andrea N., Diane, Sue L., Susan Ferrito and Terri for all contacting me - even with such short notice - in regards to the Painted Post Planning Board Meeting that took place last Wednesday evening. More on all this later in the Musings.

But now, let me share some wonderful pictures from the Caring Crafters Creative Challenge Kit that included floral paper, coffee mugs and cups, etc.. The interesting thing about this paper is - I've always loved the happy and bold pattern - I just couldn't come up with ideas using it. You know - kinda of the "can't see the forest for the trees" issue. Therefore, I turned it over to our community of creative crafty sisters and last week I shared some of the projects. Here are the newest ones created:
Below is a picture of what the kit contained for the Crafters to work with:
And now, below, you will see what Cheryl created with her kit:
I have often felt that twine doesn't get its fair share of recognition in terms of a 'go to' embellishment. I purposely added several different colors of twine in this kit and I was thrilled at how Cheryl incorporated them into her projects.
To me, this is another great example of 'balancing the elements'. I LOVE the three small blings in the upper right hand corner.

The card below shows a very clever Cheryl using up every bit of the paper - creating a border!!! LOVE it!
I LOVE how Cheryl cut out some of the individual flowers from the paper and then created a garden of the flowers by attaching them to green leaves and stems. VERY clever!!!
Great combinations here of practically everything that was in the kit - she used the stamps, the papers, the twine and the pre-cut coffee cups. LOVE it!
Our Cheryl is a "bling & glitter" gal. I do LOVE how she added little pearls to the centers of the flowers.
From our crafting sister, Eva, we have some more clever and creative interpretations from the same goodies in the kit that Cheryl worked with. This is my absolute favorite part of the Caring Crafters Creative Challenge Kits - besides the money we raise together - it's seeing what you all DO with the exact same products. LOVE it!!!!
This design is stunning to me. I LOVE how Eva die-cut flowers that mimicked the flowers on the paper and then used them as a back ground for the card. Of course - I LOVE the bling in the center of the flowers! (Who knew coffee in take out cups could be so elegant?)
I LOVE how the twine and the squiggly lines compliment each other.
Look how subtle the background paper is behind the patterned paper. Eva must have used Versamark ink with the swirling steam stamp to create this subtle and elegant background. LOVE it.
More versatility here. By simply using the blank cards and the stamp set - Eva created completely different looking cards.
And for those of us who enjoy coloring in their stamped images (which I do), these cards show just how much fun you can have by stamping the same images but just color them all differently. LOVE it!
And last week I shared Chris's take on creating cards using the same papers. They are worth sharing again so that you can really see how each crafter approached their projects so differently. I LOVE how Chris used the coffee bean stamp to create the background in a couple of her cards. And again - she used her twine!!!
There are a few Kits available from last week's Musings info on Caring Crafters Creative Challenge Kits. I am thrilled to share that once again, the kits are almost SOLD OUT. I had a feeling these kits would be popular.

As you can imagine, I received several emails from my Sales Reps and even some of the companies that I carry advertising all sorts of various Covid-19 themed papers and stamp sets. To be very honest - I just could not get on board with the concept of selling these products. Why? Well, to me, the Covid-19 Pandemic is not something I want to make any money off of. And I certainly couldn't see myself scrapbooking about it. I don't carry papers about September 11th or earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and when I looked at some of the patterns that made jokes about the rush to purchase toilet paper and various designs using the actual virus - I'm sorry, I could not do it.

However - when I saw Dare 2B Artzy's adorable stamp set that promoted sending cards to family and friends due to the Covid-19 Pandemic - I could see me using these. I also saw the potential for scrapbookers to use this stamp set to create their own memories of this historic time in our lives. So of course, I came up with a Creative Challenge kit using these stamps and together, we are raising money for organizations dealing directly with the challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic - so I could feel good about that. The stamp set is incuded with kits #6, #7 and #8. If you would like to check out which kits are still available - CLICK HERE!
Crafting Cottage Musings...
My dear friends, as if dealing with the Crafting Cottage's classes, special events, shop and Inn being closed since mid-March hasn't been enough to deal with - plus trying to figure out how to reconfigure the entire Cottage to once again safely welcome crafters back - BOOM! I got sucker punched.

On May 30th - a very large manilla envelope greeted me. In the envelope was the information about Tyoga Container planning to build their manufacturing facility and shipping center at the end of West Water Street (which is the street that the Crafting Cottage lives on). The papers explained that there would be anywhere between 68 - 75 trucks driving back and forth on West Water Street each day. Six days a week. Sixteen hours a day. Plus at least 45 employee's cars.

I could not even imagine that something like this was being considered.

With less than a week to try and coordinate with neighbors and do as much research as I could on all this - I sent out a notice of this on the Crafting Cottage Facebook Page. It helped spread the word as it turns out - only nine of my neighbors were informed of this Planning Board meeting!!!!

Clearly, between the Pandemic and not being able to meet in person at a meeting, it certainly looked pretty bad for the Planning Board as it made them look as if they were trying to sneak this one by hoping not enough people would voice their concerns.

The newspapers were not informed. I informed The Leader (our local paper). I also contacted the WETM news station and was thrilled that they not only put the information on their website and aired it on their newscast - but they attended the meeting as well.

I spent hours on the computer researching everything I could about the company, the land they wanted to purchase and other ways they could access the property without turning West Water Street into a mini-version of I-86. My husband even drove with me all around the area, onto the highway and walked around the property taking pictures of other ways they could access the site.

I have only attended two "Zoom" meetings and that was getting together with my dear high school friends. I was not comfortable attending such an important meeting via a technological way. I also had no idea how it was going to work. Would we get to ask questions and get answers?

I had sent out a frantic email to about 25 crafters that I easily had emails for asking if they would simply "attend" the meeting and if they got a chance to speak - to simply say how much they enjoy the peace and quiet of where the Crafting Cottage is....etc.. Again - I was more concerned with trying to get as many people to be AT the meeting in a show of numbers to the Planning Board.

I can tell you - I was THRILLED when I saw it took the Zoom Meeting Coordinator over
15 minutes JUST to get everyone logged on. There were over 75 people attending the meeting and I know that 5 of my crafters were there!!!! One of our crafting sisters, Susan Ferrito, actually spoke at the meeting and even went on longer than her allotted time but she wasn't stopped and after she spoke - several people commented in the section where you could enter any notes or information or even questions you wanted to be posted for the official record and lots of my neighbors thanked Susan for her remarks!!!!

The next Planning Board Meeting is due to take place on July 1st. At least now I have time to coordinate with my neighbors and hopefully, we can stop this horrible plan.

I will keep you all posted on what is happening. My heart breaks for my neighbors as this is where they live. As sad as I would be if I had to leave West Water Street - I just don't see staying there if this Tyoga company moves in. And, I don't know what decision I would have to make about The Crafting Cottage's future.

Go figure that as soon as I got the new workshop room set up for Covid-19 social distancing and re-worked the guest rooms and rooms in the main Cottage - all would be for naught as who would want to come anymore if they had to deal with heavy truck traffic and unsafe conditions?

But I don't want to have to move. I love the house I'm in now. I don't want to move ANYMORE!!!! I do enough moving just by staying AT the Cottage!!!

I've already invested seven years at our current location. I believe it's the longest The Crafting Cottage has ever stayed anywhere! As a matter of fact - The Crafting Cottage turned "17 years old" in May!!!

I've invested a lot of money into the Cottage, too. The Cottage LOVES us crafters. It doesn't want us to move.

And now, my neighbors and I are working on the next deadline. We need to submit letters to the Planning Board by this Wednesday (June 10th). I feel as though I'm back in high school writing a Term Paper! I'm researching, making notes and then trying to write a letter filled with facts and concern.

Believe me - I know getting involved with something like this may not be your cup of tea - believe me - I DON"T want to have to deal with this. I don't want to close the business. I don't want to move. I don't want to deal with loud, noisy, heavy truck traffic in front of the Crafting Cottage.

I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I am so ready to simply wave the white flag of surrender.

But I'm not ready to give up just yet. The next Town Meeting is July 10th. If you would be interested in voicing your concerns about this plan - just send me an email by clicking on JOINING THE TEAM! I will keep you in the loop. Any and all help and support is appreciated.
Syracuse/Auburn Stamp & Scrapbook Show
As of this Monday Musings - the Rubber Stamp & Scrapbook Show is still ON!!!!

The dates are: Friday, August 14th (classes and the Friday night Make 'n Take)
Saturday, August 15th: 10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday, August 16th: 11 AM - 4 PM
You can register for classes and purchase your show tickets online directly from the
promoter. For more information and description of the classes, etc. Click on the link below:
Given that this show is over two months from today - I am hopeful that by then, we will all be pros when it comes to social distancing, wearing face masks and washing our hands and/or using hand sanitizer over and over.

I am fortunate in that my Team Member, Susan Ferrito, is in the medical field. She and I will be consulting to make sure we will keep ourselves, Brianna and all the crafters that come to our classes and the booth safe.

I've been struggling with prepping for the show. I am supersticious. I worry that if I prep for the show and am all prepared - it will get cancelled. If I DON'T prep for the show - it will go on and I will be scrambling to get everything ready. You see my dilemma - right?

(Insert screams of frustration here).
Crafting Cottage Inn Musings...
In preparing to eventually reopen the Inn, I downloaded New York State's "Safety Plan Template". It is seven pages long. It is extremely informative and even includes several websites and links to help answer questions.

Under the section "People", one of the paragraphs states:
"Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face coverings. If occupied by more than one person, will keep occupancy under 50% of maximum capacity."

The three main rooms that the above paragraph keeps me up at night trying to figure out are: the Tool Room, the kitchen and the retail shop.

My understanding is that I simply post the rules that one person at a time can use the Tool Room and maybe two people at most can be in the retail shop at the same time as long as they are wearing face masks. As far as the kitchen/dining area is concerned....I just don't know yet but I'm working on it.

As far as the guest rooms go - it looks as though each guest may have to have their own room because chances of people sleeping with masks on their faces are slim to none! Of course, that would mean that I would be limited to four guests at a time unless I can figure out a way to safely have two non-related guests sleep in the same room....I'm working on figuring this one out, too.

The interesting thing about all this is that the Crafting Cottage falls under three categories: Accomodations, Classroom/Education and Retail. I'm just having so much fun trying to interpret and figure out what I need to do under all three categories to address all the important mandates and responsibilities.

Fun. Fun. Fun.
Crafting Cottage Retail Shop Musings...
Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll - my plan WAS to spend time last week putting all kinds of wonderful goodies in the online retail shop.

However, I was distracted by the Planning Board Meeting.

I dare say - I will try again this week.

I do want to thank our many Crafting Sisters who keep ordering the Creative Challenge Kits and Gift Certificates. You are truly supporting a very small business - owned and operated by a woman.

To Amy, Anne, Andrea, Cherrie, Christine T., Dawn, Debbie G., Debbie L., Erica, Eva, Kelly, Lisa, Terri, Sheila and Sue L.,

I say thank you, thank you, thank YOU!!!!
Personal Musings...
The painting you see above was a gift to me for the combination of Mother's Day/Birthday from my daughters, Brianna and Tara. When I opened it - I cried. And cried. And cried.
OH - how I miss these two companions. Jasper and Monty Carlo (Monty) never met - at least here on Earth. However, my family and I are pretty sure Jasper was at Heaven's Gate waiting to greet Jasper when he arrived. Jasper knew how much Monty challenged us and yet - made us laugh and laugh. Sometimes, my family and I even thought that maybe Monty was a gift to us from Jasper.

Night and day was how my family and I thought of Jasper and Monty.

Both pups were rescue dogs. We adopted Jasper from the Chemung County ASPCA back in 1998 and we adopted Monty Carlo from the animal shelter up in Bath, NY in 2010. Jasper was about 1 year old when we adopted her and Monty was already over three years old when we adopted him. We adopted Monty less than a year from when we lost our Jasper.

Jasper hadn't been at the shelter for even a month when we got her. Poor Monty had been at the Bath shelter for at least three years! When I asked the shelter why no one wanted Monty, they explained that a lot of people don't like the sound of a hound dog's bark and Monty had a lame rear leg so people worry about medical issues....etc., etc.. We adopted Monty on the spot and as we were leaving - all the staff from the shelter came out to see Monty off.

Now Jasper was one of the most incredibly intelligent dogs. Monty, on the other hand - not so much. Jasper didn't need to be put on a lead. She knew the boundaries of our property and never, ever went beyond. Monty, on the other hand, would smell a chipmunk in New Jersey and bolt off - usually with one of us racing at top neck speed to catch up with him. Luckily, Monty was also easily distracted so when he raced off - he'd then stop to smell and dig up a different chipmunk's hole and that's when we'd be able to catch up with him.

A true story here - many, many years ago we put Jasper up to board at the Corning Animal Hospital when we had to go away. At that time, The Crafting Cottage's original location was just a few houses over from the Corning Animal Hospital. When I went to pick Jasper up, they brought out her file folder and I couldn't help noticing that there were several bright orange papers sticking out from her folder. I asked what they were for. The Veterinarian replied, "Oh, yes, well, we had a situation with Jasper this weekend. She climbed up the chain link fence in her outdoor pen and we found her three quarters of the way up when we caught her. Unfortunately, we can no longer let her go out on her own because of that. "

Now mind you - the outdoor fence is at least 8 feet. Jasper knew the Crafting Cottage was close by. She was trying to break out of the joint and make a run for it!!! We laughed so hard. We didn't board Jasper after that but found someone who would stop by the house to feed her since Jasper had a doggie door that she used to simply go in and out of our house because - again - Jasper never strayed off our property.

When we boarded Monty at the Corning Animal Hospital there were no worries of him trying to stage an escape. We joked that maybe Jasper had scrawled messages on the walls to let other dogs know how to escape!!! Monty was easy to keep "in bounds" in the house. He was easily led to believe he could not go somewhere simply by our placing a book on the floor. He would walk up to it, sniff it and then turn around thinking his road was blocked.

My family and I often mused as to how we think Jasper would have dealt with Monty if the two of them had been with us at the same time. We think Jasper would have rolled her eyes a lot. Jasper calculated. Monty lagged. Jasper figured things out and solved puzzles. Monty was a puzzle with some pieces missing. Jasper was an excellent judge of character and when she growled at someone - we knew to be cautious. Monty loved everyone. We always said that Monty would lick a burglar to death.

But both pups were extremely loyal to us. There was even one day when Patrick was around ten years old - out in our backyard playing fetch with Jasper. Next thing you know, two big labs came racing onto our property and headed for Patrick. I was in the house making dinner when I heard Patrick screaming and Jasper barking. I looked out the window and I saw the two labs trying to get to Patrick and Jasper protecting Patrick taking on the two dogs but not leaving Patrick's side. Naturally, I raced down the stairs and out into the yard and grabbed rocks and sticks and started yelling and throwing the rocks at the attacking dogs. They took off. And I was mad. Patrick was crying and Jasper was checking to see that Patrick was ok. I knew who owned the dogs so I piled all three of my children into the car WITH Jasper and as I was driving to confront this neighbor, the kids were petting Jasper and that's when they discovered she was bleeding!!! So, off to animal hospital we went instead. Jasper was the family's protector.

Another prime example of how different Jasper and Monty were was when we brought Jasper into our home - she knew how to let us know when she needed to go out. Monty, on the other hand - despite being already three years old presented challenges. First, we would take him outside for long walks and he would do nothing. As soon as he came into the house - he would pee. Finally, my husband had had enough of Monty's peeing so he said he is taking him for a walk and "...won't be back until this mutt figures out where to go to the bathroom!"

The two of them were gone for over an hour. The kids and I were beginning to get concerned when finally they returned. In exasperation, my hubby says, "OK, I don't get it. Nothing. He did nothing except stop to smell every tree, blade of grass - you name it but nothing!" At which point Monty came into my husband's office, walked up to his television and proceeded to pee all over it!!! The kids and I just looked on in horror until I completely lost it and started laughing, laughing, laughing. It wasn't funny (of course). Eventually, we finally trained Monty Carlo.

The other big difference between Jasper and Monty was the bravery factor. Nothing scared Jasper. However, a leaf falling off a tree would send Monty bolting. One of my favorite stories about Monty was when we first got him. I was about to take him out for a walk and since the weather had turned cold, I had gotten him a coat which attached with velcro strips and there was a hole for the leash to be able to hook onto his collar. As we were heading back to the house, the coat became loose and was now simply "floating" on the leash behind Monty. Monty turns his head to see what was bumping into him and I will never forget the look of sheer horror on his face when he sees this body-less coat following him. He bolts and as he is racing back towards the house - he keeps looking behind him and is terrified that this thing is still chasing him!!! I had to finally let go of the leash because I could not keep up with Monty as I was doubled over laughing my head off.

It's funny, in hindsight I think I can honestly say that when we adopted Jasper - we needed her in our lives. With Monty, he definitely needed us in his life and yet, in many, many ways - we ended up needing him in our lives big time, too.

I know many of you knew our Monty Carlo and quite a few of you remember Jasper. I miss them both so much but that is why scrapbooking can help us when we want to remember some of life's stories. Thanks to Tara and Brianna - they have inspired me to create a scrapbook sharing pictures and stories of Jasper and Monty. I hope you, too, will consider creating a special album for your "fur family" members.

My dear crafting friends and sisters - I must get back to work writing a letter to the Planning Board. Then I need to get going on posting things onto the online shop. After that I should probably do some work for the Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook Show. Then I will need to move some stuff to prep the new Workshop room........

I send all of you GREAT BIG HUGS.

As always - Stay Crafty My Friends!!!!!!