12.29.2015

Inflation Calculator: See How Far the US Dollar Has Fallen

With all the harrumphing amongst presidential candidates in regards to raising the minimum wage and/or closing the supposedly sexist pay gap, I can't help but ponder: Rather than bureaucratically coercing businesses to pay more money to employees, what if the Federal Reserve worked at raising the value of the US dollar?

After all, the value of the US dollar has only fallen 2,297.3% since the federal government was given control to regulate inflation upon the creation of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. Only 2,297.3%. That's all. 


To put it another way, according to the US Inflation Calculator, an item priced at $1.00 in 1913 would cost $23.97 in 2015, with 2,297.3% being the cumulative rate of inflation. 


Now, while the US Inflation Calculator website defines Inflation as 'continuously rising prices,' the site also defines Inflation as 'the continuous fall in the value of the dollar.' Hence, the value of the dollar has fallen 2,297.3% since 1913, the year the federal government took control of regulating inflation and currency.


Yes, that's right; the same federal government that voters expect to fix the problems they created. That federal government.  

Even in my own lifetime, since 1978, prices have risen 264%; thus, the US dollar has gone down in value 264%. Of course the dollar has made gains here and there over the years, but overall it has gone down; so far down I question if it will ever rise again.

Granted, the Federal Reserve 'working' to return the value of the US dollar is nothing more than a preposterous paradox of poppycock; that's because the Federal Reserve has  been 'working' all these years and the result is the current state of affairs with the dollar being devalued over two-thousand percent. 


Perhaps the Federal Reserve needs to stop working, stop controlling, stop regulating, and stop devaluing the US dollar. But, then again, maybe the US dollar isn't worth saving any longer and should finally be put out of its misery. What do you think?


How much has the Federal Government devalued the US dollar in your lifetime? Find out with the US Inflation Calculator. Use your birth year, $1.00 for the purchase price, and the current year.

By Eve Penman
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12.18.2015

Repurposing Punk: Reversible Bag Sewing Tutorial

My sewing machine has finally been serviced, so I broke it (and me) in by making a moderately challenging reversible bag using an old pair of Carhartt jeans, a cotton fat quarter, and a couple of t-shirt cutouts for a touch of personal flair.

The tutorial linked above is for a larger bag, but I experimented and sized it down into a handbag (see pic for cutting board measurements). I based the size of the bag on the fat quarter when cut in half; I then cut the denim jeans to the same size and drew a pattern on paper similar to the one in the tutorial.
Eat your heart out, Riff Randell.

I'm happy with how I utilized the final scraps of one of my 20-year-old Ramones concert t-shirts. I used a medium sized zig-zag stitch around the t-shirt cutouts and made a few laps to secure them.
The other t-shirt I used features pin-up art from Bawiddiman. I love his style and couldn't part with the t-shirt even though I don't wear it anymore, so it has been sitting in the project pile for a good while now.

Same goes for the Carhartt jeans; due to holes they were set aside this past year in hopes of becoming something else. Well, I am pleased to say they are something else, indeed. I cut both legs of the jeans a little above the knee area and there's still plenty of denim left for other creations. Click here for 35 Clever Projects for Old Denim Jeans.
Talk about cute, and the exact right size for what I envisioned. The cutouts could use more embellishments, either patches or embroidery, but since it's a reversible bag any stitching added now would make the reversibility pointless. However, buttons would make for awesome removable embellishments no matter which side of the bag is used; problem solved.

I can't wait to take it on my next outing.
If you have questions on how I made the handbag (the tutorial is a little vague in areas), please comment below or email me. Thanks!

If you want me to make something out of your old t-shirts and jeans, please email me. Thanks!

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10.06.2015

Fahrenheit 451: When Science Fiction Comes to Life

Ray Bradbury's classic science-fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451was published in 1953, over 60 years ago.

Since I am living in the future to Ray Bradbury's 1953, I find it fascinating to compare his insightful imaginings with modern-day American realities, to wit: 

"That's why we've lowered the Kindergarten age year after year until now we're almost snatching them from the cradle."
Chief Beatty

"The Office of Early Learning (OEL) is the principal office charged with supporting the Department's Early Learning Initiative with the goal of improving the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for children from birth through third grade, so that all children, particularly those with high needs, are on track for graduating from high school college- and career-ready."


"Growing the Supply of Effective Early Learning Opportunities for Young Children: To expand high-quality learning opportunities in the years before preschool, the President will call for a significant investment in a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership. Competitive grants will support communities that expand the availability of Head Start and child care providers that can meet the highest standards of quality for infants and toddlers, serving children from birth through age 3."


"In his [2013] State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. As part of the effort, the President will propose a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child -- beginning at birth and continuing to age 5. By doing so, the President would invest critical resources where we know the return on our dollar is the highest: in our youngest children."


8.29.2015

Buffalo Bill for Diet Coke: He Wants to Wear You Like a Suit

Since watching Silence of the Lambs recently,
I don't see the Diet Coke commercial the same way:
You're so cute
I want to wear you like a suit
I think you'd look pretty good on me 
Buffalo Bill for Diet Coke:
He Wants to Wear You Like a Suit

But maybe that's just me?
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8.24.2015

It's Monday: Seize It

They're not that different from you, are they?

Same haircuts; full of hormones, just like you.

Invincible, just like you feel.

The world is their oyster.

They believe they're destined for great things,
just like many of you.

Their eyes are full of hope, just like you.

Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable?

Because, you see, gentlemen,
these boys are now fertilizing daffodils.

But if you listen real close,
you can hear them whisper their legacy to you.

Go on, lean in.

Listen.

You hear it?

Carpe.

Carpe diem.

Seize the day, boys.

Make your lives extraordinary.

~ Dead Poets Society ~

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8.17.2015

This Is The Day to See Life's Beauty

The daisies in Dink's memorial garden are blooming beautifully.
Even though she has evolved to another sphere, reminders of Dink are everywhere, especially outside in nature where she was as happy as could be.

It is still hard to not see her Dinking around the way she would, but I know her spirit surrounds and blesses us with her feline godliness, as is proven (I like to think) by the beauty of her daisies.

It is not always easy to make something beautiful from something ugly, or to see the beauty of life when working to get past its ugliness, but it is what must be done. 

Just as the light cannot be seen without darkness, life's beauty cannot be seen without its ugliness.

That is the reminder I see in Dink's daisies and why I like to use flowers from her garden to design goods for my Zazzle shop.

This is the day to see life's beauty (and buy a magnet featuring Dink's daisies!).
'This Is The Day' Magnetic Inspiration from Eve
Available Here


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8.10.2015

My Zazzle Order: Postcards, Stickers and a Magnet, Oh Boy!

I received my order of goodies this week that I placed through my Zazzle shop:
  • 3 sets of postcards
    • I ordered 8 of each and they sent 9 of each; bonus!
  • 2 sheets of stickers
    • 20 stickers on 1 sheet; stickers measure 1.5 inches
  • 1 magnet
    • Not pictured above

My intention with this order is to:
  • promote my work via networking and local stores that allow promotions on community boards 
    • first one posted
  • see for myself, firsthand, the quality of the items Zazzle puts out
    • as Bill and Ted would say: Excellent!
  • send out snail-mail surprises
    • a handful already in the mail!

Cherry Blossoms Promo Card:
These came out awesome, like everything in the order. All the cards are thick, glossy, smooth, bright and bold; I love them! The printing of the text and images is clear; I have not found any errors from the production process. 

I love all the font choices and color options; Zazzle has a huge selection to choose from. For all the information I added to the front of the card, the fonts/colors complement the image well and make the text appealing to the eye (FYI, pretty fonts/colors can entice reading more than bland fonts/colors). 

I designed the backside of the card as a greeting and brief introduction; I will also be adding self-crafted rip-off tags to the bottom. Not all community board locations may allow rip-off tags, so I planned ahead and added my shop websites to the side borders (seen better in the photo above).

Greetings from Sequim! Postcard
I love that Zazzle allows people to select a backside color for postcards; again, they offer a wide assortment of colors. I chose orange for the backside of these cards as it complements the golden Cat's Ear wildflowers on the front beautifully.

The cards can be customized to any color the buyer chooses and text can be added, too. Again, these cards are glossy, thick, smooth and beautiful -- and they are not available anywhere else except my Zazzle shop

'The Best Dink Ever' Memorial Card
Overcoming the loss of Dink has not been easy, mostly due to the way in which we had to let her go, but I work at not letting the sadness overpower me; one thing that helps is her photos.

I made the memorial postcard to send to friends and family as a reminder of our little sweet pea. I have also placed one of the cards at Dink's spot in the window with her box of ashes; seeing her face reminds me that her Dinky spirit is with us even if her body is not.

I chose pink as the background color for Dink's memorial cards; vibrant and bold, girly and sweet, just like Dink. Instead of 'RIP Dink' on the front, as I had originally intended, I changed it before finalizing the order to 'The Best Dink Ever' as those were a few of my parting words to her in our final moments. Dink will be forever loved and she will always be The Best Dink Ever.
Click Here for 'The Best Dink Ever' Magnet

'The Best Dink Ever' Memorial Magnet
I also had a 2 inch-by-2 inch magnet made special for Dink's paternal grandma; losing a grandcat is not easy.

The quality of both the image and text came out crisp and clear, and it works just as it should (pictured above securing postcard to refrigerator). 

I have made these magnets available in my shop, along with the memorial postcards, should anyone want a keepsake of their own (links below photos).

'Sun Sea Lavender Love' Heart Stickers
This is my first set of stickers to showcase Sequim, Washington, the area where I live. These smaller stickers measure 1.5 inches; the perfect size for decorating, crafting, collecting, giving and sharing. Larger hearts, and other shapes, are also available, which is another thing I love about Zazzle products -- lots of options with one design!

I ordered these ones in glossy, as that was the default setting, but matte finish is also available. I like the glossy finish as it is super shiny and catches the eye. And yes, I am secure in admitting that I like shiny things.

Before posting this item for sale I shifted the text upwards slightly, as the text at the bottom came close to the sticker edge. Placing this order helped a lot as far as seeing what the finished product looks like, so I know what to look for when designing products to make sure they come out their best. 

'Blossom Under the Sun in Sequim, Washington!' Round Stickers
I made this set of stickers for promotions and, again, to get an idea of what the product quality is like. The quality is excellent, the stickers are beautiful, shiny, and meet my expectations; on par with anything purchased in a brick-and-mortar shop. 

I used light grey font for my shop addresses underneath the blossoms and it may be too light, but that was the purpose of doing this; to see what it would look like. So now I know and knowing is half the battle. 

I love this photo of cherry blossoms, which is why I used it, but I wanted to add prose to it and thus was inspired to create: Blossom Under the Sun in Sequim, Washington! The rhyming was not intended, it just worked out that way. Having reviewed these stickers up close, it showed me where I needed to make corrections before posting them for sale. Follow the link above (under the photo) to see what they look like now!
Did you know, the United States Postal Service now has Forever Stamps available in postcard denominations? Well, they do. Color me stoked to the max and keep an eye on your mailboxes! 

Overall I am very satisfied with this order and feel more secure and knowledgeable about the product quality having now seen firsthand what some of my ordered designs look like up close. I have ordered through Zazzle in the past, from other stores and also from my own, and knew they put out quality items, but it is still good to see for myself...and to buy items to promote myself around town!

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7.24.2015

I Am Confused: Unpopularly Questioning Transgender

Out of cat-like curiosity, I DVR'd the premiere of I Am Jazz on TLC the other night in order to learn the answer to my question: Is this child an anatomical anomaly that was given a special choice of what gender they wanted to be, unlike most kids?

The answer: No, the kid is not an anatomical anomaly; they were born a boy and felt like a girl inside, and the parents allowed them to become a girl with the assistance of modern medicine, sans orchiectomy. In other words, Jazz has a penis. Question answered -- it's a boy!
Unpopular Opinions: Magnets by Eve
However, this has opened the door in my mind to a stream of hypothetical questions which I do not intend to be in bad taste or hurtful, but sincere, honest questions that deserve consideration by those who choose to consider them. 


* CAVEAT LECTOR *

At what point do parents say 'no' to kids?


At what point do doctors say 'no'? (some said no)

If a doctor agrees to help in such an undertaking, hypothetically due to their personal bias, is that doctor using his best professional medical judgment, or are his personal feelings creating a conflict of interest because they sway his professional judgment; and if so, is that dangerous?


If the frontal lobes, which help process right-and-wrong/cause-and-effect relationships, do not develop until later in the teen years, is a child under the age of 18 (for argument's sake) mentally capable of understanding the long term implications and consequences of choosing to change gender and go against their given anatomical body structure?

How would a straight guy react to a 'girl' when the guy finds out the 'girl' has a penis?  (Vice versa: how would a straight girl react to a 'guy' when the girl finds out the 'guy' has a vagina?)

If a 'girl' is perfect in every way that a straight guy desires, would it matter if the 'girl' had a penis?

How would a straight girl react to a 'girl' with a penis in the girls' bathroom/changing room?

Does the straight girl have a right to be uncomfortable with a 'girl' having a penis in the girls' bathroom/changing room?

How confusing is it for little kids to be told someone is a 'girl' and the 'girl' has a penis?

How confusing is it for people of any age to be told someone is a 'girl' and the 'girl' has a penis? 

If people have the right to be a 'girl' with a penis, do people also have a right to be confused and uncomfortable by a 'girl' with a penis?

If the transgender is a 'girl' with a penis, how come they do not introduce themselves as a 'transgender girl' when meeting new people; in other words, why are they hiding what they are from people -- specifically a transgender -- and leading people to think they are a 'girl' in the conventional, anatomical sense when they are not?

At what point is a transgender deceiving potential mates by not letting it be known what they are? 

At what point would a straight guy feel deceived by not knowing the 'girl' they are trying to pick up is a transgender girl?

While I agree with my statement that if you have nothing to hide you're boring, I do question what is an individual's relative level of acceptable matters to be hidden from potential mates: natural hair/eye color, religion, finances, legal issues, voting preferences, sexual kinks, favorite cocktails, Dungeons and Dragons obsession, genitalia below that is the opposite of what is represented above? 

Does insurance cover hormone replacement and necessary surgeries; and is this what some people think 'healthcare' coverage is meant to be used for? 

If I Am Jazz is supposed to be a replacement for The Duggars, how is it better; specifically, since Josh Duggar is viewed as hiding his juvenile record from the public, how is it better to highlight a person who hides their natural being behind hormones and medicine?

What makes a transgender 'girl' with a penis who likes boys different from a crossdressing homosexual?

Even if a transgender feels female inside and a homosexual does not, for the person meeting the 'girl' with a penis, how does a transgender expect themselves not to come off looking like a lying, crossdressing homosexual? 

If a girl were dressed in a cop uniform and they weren't a cop but they had a penis, would you be confused? 


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7.22.2015

Photography as Shorthand

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then photography is the ultimate in shorthand efficiency. 
Granted, those thousand words can be left up to broad, varying interpretations, so it is not a perfect shorthand system.
However, as I learned from my work as a professional stenographer in the American legal system, black and white text can equally be left up to broad, varying interpretations. 

So, there you go.
The past few years I have gravitated towards photography, more than writing, as my preferred form of self-expression.
While I love to write and have been writing for as long as I can recall (I remember learning to write my name!), sometimes I feel that no words can capture what I want to express; and sometimes I don't want words to capture what I need to express. 
You can learn about these photos and find more of my work available as framed prints, product designs for clocks, tote bags, laptop skins, gadget cases and more in my Society6 store.
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7.18.2015

Hey, Hey, Hey: It's a Marilyn Monroe Quote Mashup with Monica Lewinsky and Bill Cosby!

This Marilyn Monroe meme showed up in my Facebook feed:
It got me to thinking:
Marilyn Monroe got it on with John F. Kennedy, a President of the United States, and she is adored the world over.

Monica Lewinsky also got it on with a President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and she is not adored the same as Marilyn Monroe.

So, why is it that Marilyn Monroe is adored and Monica Lewinsky is hated, even though they both were 'the other woman' to married men, and Presidents at that?
(Answer: Double standards.)

And, if quotes attributed to Marilyn Monroe are viewed as inspirational, would they be equally inspirational when paired with Monica Lewinsky photos?
(Answer: The awesomeness is uncanny!)
I mean no offense with my Monica/Marilyn mashups.
My intent is to get people to look at something in a different perspective and maybe, possibly, peek outside the box that blocks the light. A girl can dream, right?

Real or not, I find these quotes to be inspiring paired with Monica Lewinsky, more than with Marilyn Monroe, mainly because of what she has lived through.

I do not and cannot pretend to imagine what Monica Lewinsky personally went through during the entire Blue Dress incident that ended up becoming what it became.

How would you handle it if it were you:
The attention, the threats, the interviews;
the immense disgust/hatred/etc. that absolute strangers have for you when they judge you without knowing you?

Would you live through it?
I suspect not everyone would.
That is why I admire Monica Lewinsky for surviving it.

It is so easy to say:
I would not have done what she did and she brought it on herself.

I used to say that too.
But that is bullshit.

Everyone makes mistakes.
Evv.
Ree.
One.

The difference is that not everyone recovers from their mistakes.
More power to those who recover and to Monica Lewinsky.

So, then it got me to thinking more:
Would inspirational quotes attributed to Marilyn Monroe work when paired with anyone else who has become condemned in the Court of Public Opinion?

(Answer: Hey, hey, hey, they do!)
Again, no offense intended.
Only an intent to offer a different perspective and an enlightening laugh.

When it comes to Bill Cosby's innocence or guilt in regards to the rape charges, I offer three words of wisdom from Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive:
I don't care.

My personal bias is on Team Cosby no matter the outcome;
I have been entertained and educated by him for so long and from such a very young age (remember Picture Page on Pinwheel, anyone?) that I will not desert him as a fan.

Bill Cosby has never harmed me personally, so why should I condemn him? The legal battle is the accusers' battle, not mine, and I refuse to be swayed by them or the Court of Public Opinion.

It is eye-opening to see people instantly side with accusers that they do not know, nor have been entertained by, nor educated by, nor have they been a part of people's lives if only by making them laugh and think. I know who I do not want sitting on my jury, should I ever need one.

Please, don't forget:
Chuck Berry videotaped women in bathrooms and had IRS problems, yet people still rock out to his music today.

This, too, shall pass.

But should any of these people be role models:
Marilyn Monroe, Monica Lewinsky, Bill Cosby?

People are free to admire, and be inspired by, who they want and for whatever reason they want.

Admiration (and inspiration) is in the eye of the beholder.

Where one person will see good, another person will see evil.
Where one person will find humor, another person will find offense.
Where one person will say 'Spam', another person will say 'I don't like Spam!'


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