Disappointments and Challenges

There is always a degree of apprehension and anxiety when faced with change . . . along with disappointment, discouragement . . . which leads to challenges and looking for the positive . . .

For some, there may be a pay off to being unhappy, angry, disappointed . . . villagedwellingpieces

For others, in spite of disappointments, we look for the positive . . . the challenges within ourselves that we must face to accept not getting what we want to something not being what we thought it would be.

I was all into the concept of die cuts and how wonderful it would be to have a plain template . . . but then, having something ready-made seemed to appeal to me more . . . Allowing me to see where I was going . . .

And changing something to my liking from a ready-made printable seemed the easier way to go.gingerbreadhousebox

But, in truth, it all comes down to your personal comfort level.

Initially, I was overwhelmed by the pieces, as above, that didn’t seem to have a purpose . . . because I never put it together before . . . and it didn’t look like anything . . . But there are more possibilities for creativity and individuality with the die cut pieces than the ready-to-print-out-and-assembly Gingerbread House.

It does go together nicely and it does have all the icing and embellishments in place . . . The first one will look the same as the second . . . fifth . . . tenth . . . fiftieth . . .

There is no surprise there . . . unless I decide to alter it in some way . . . but such alterations may be much more work than if I started with a die cut template.

Yes, if I want, I could make the die cut elements above into a gingerbread house. I can add a wreath on the front door . . . I could make a fence of gingerbread children . . . I can cut out white window frames . . . and add some white “frosting” to the roof tiles . . . And candy canes . . .

Now look back at the first image . . . The die cut . . . 

You have a decision to make . . . What color card stock to do want for the body of the house . . . and for the roof of the house . . .

With the die, I had to decide at that point the colors and cutting the card stock and place it over the appropriate places . . . and later learned how I should have taped it down so it wouldn’t slip . . .

Yes, I was initially overwhelmed and a bit disappointed . . . But, it was all a matter of getting out of my way that I realized there was a learning curve for me . . . I didn’t like it . . . but if I wanted to create something different each time I made this Tim Holtz Sizzix Village Dwelling, I’d have some decisions to make . . . and it started with the first one . . . an experiment . . . and maybe several experiments until I got it right . . . 

I had to learn the die . . . and the Sizzix Big Shot . . . then assemble the pieces . . . and decide what else I wanted to do with it . . . add a different roof pattern . . . add a siding pattern . . . It takes a bit of trial and error . . . and some disappointment that it didn’t turn out as initially imagined . . . but it was all about learning . . . and facing each challenge head-on.

I was watching a movie yesterday about this mathematical genius . . . who really didn’t fit in with others . . . not understanding the dynamics of relationships . . . except those associated with numbers . . . He did learn how he missed out on things . . . and found he wasn’t “all that” . . . especially when it came to his relationship with his mother . . . And, in the end, after waiting for her son to respond to her . . . they learned how to communicate . . .

This gets me to a YouTube video I watched of an interview with an adult who had a famous mother . . . and the relationship they had . . . which wasn’t so much love . . . as respect . . . an admiration of her mother’s talents and abilities . . . It struck me a bit strange . . . Yet, many famous people may be incapable of love or conveying it to their children . . . It is all about them . . . their career . . . their life . . .

It’s all a matter of perspective . . . and how we deal with it . . . 

Life isn’t easy . . . we are faced  with challenges . . .  disappointments . . . successes . . . falldisney2

The same applies with crafts. The whole concept is to have fun  . . . to make something . . . So you get all the tools and paper . . . and find it isn’t as easy as it looks when watching someone else.

You can always throw in the towel and give up or pout and throw the whole thing in the trash . . . or realize it is a bit of a challenge and the first effort may not work out . . . or even the second . . . third . . . oh my gosh! fourth . . . But, each time, you get a bit closer to achieving your goal. Just know that there may be another failure after a success . . .  There are no guarantees.

There’s no guarantee that the more you work at it, that you will succeed . . . It depends upon your perspective of success . . . and respecting the tools for what they are . . . and recognizing their limitations . . . as well as your own . . . but having a determination to figure it out . . .

There are always these wise people who have these wise sayings . . . but we can never bring them to mind when we need them . . .  So, we need to rely on ourselves . . . depend upon ourselves . . . be gentle with ourselves . . . accept that we’re not perfect and things aren’t always easy . . . and alternatively, things aren’t always difficult . . . We may have cycles of success . . . and cycles of failure . . . but it’s just a cycle . . . and we have to go through it until the tide changes . . .

We control our thought, our actions, our feelings . . . there are some things we can’t change . . . nor control . . . but we can focus our perspective . . . we can look for the positive . . . strive to find something funny or different or interesting or unusual each day . . . Surprisingly, you’ll find it . . . because you’re looking for it . . . 

So, what we may be unable to do one day . . . we may be able to do the next . . .

This applies to all things in life . . . I know I throw a lot of concepts at you all at once . . . You may be wondering what I’m thinking . . . But, if you’ve ever had a conversation using Two Cans On A String . . . you miss some stuff and have to fill in the blanks . . . And, drawing the string of what connects life, movies, interviews and crafts together . . . is your challenge of filling in the blanks to make sense out of it for you . . .

Thanks for stopping by!


Oh! I almost forgot!! Click the image of the Gingerbread House on the left to be taken to a PDF you can print out, cut out and assemble. It’s a great treat/gift box.

What Have You Learned Today?

Hi there!

Have you noticed how much you can learn from the internet?

When I got my new printer, I was a bit nervous about setting it up for the first time . . . I got the Epson WorkForce ET-4550 Eco Tank Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax. I was fine with the plugging in and setting up the wireless connection, but I was more concerned about adding the ink to the various compartments. I was used to putting in a cartridge and away I go . . . but I wanted to try this out and maybe save on ink in the process.

Well, I did find a very helpful YouTube video that walked me through the whole process. I also had the written instructions . . . but there is something about watching someone else do it that is helpful.

I did notice that people do their own thing. Yes, they read the directions, but when it’s time to follow through, they just wing it. That works for many confident people . . . and it was helpful for me to watch someone who wasn’t glued to the instruction sheet.

This wasn’t meant to be a review of the printer, but it is helpful in explaining the point of my post. I do highly recommend this printer. I am really pleased by the results I’ve received in my various printing experiences.

This how to video I watched was extremely helpful and it allowed me to calm down enough to set it up and get printing.

I have found so very many helpful and generous people who share their various craft projects on YouTube . . . and I’ve found some rude individuals, too.

And why is this?youtube

Do they realize they’re being rude?

Is this supposed to be entertainment? Or helpful?

I’ve written other posts about vloggers . . . and there are some popular channels with the whole family . . . on their various sporting events and vacations and outings . . . even chilling at home . . . I know at times not everyone gets along, but do we have to video that . . . or when children are rude or disrespectful to their parents?

I’m not a real fan of watching people argue . . . even in a store . . . or in a movie . . . that isn’t entertaining . . . yes, there are conflicts, but they aren’t for airing publicly . . . I thought adults are to be role models for their peers and the young.

Do we truly like hanging out with angry people or argumentative ones? I certainly don’t. And I don’t want to see feuds going on on YouTube . . . or kids who are out of control . . . rude, disrespectful . . . under of guise of “being cute.”

I’m not here to tell parents how to parent . . . or telling you what to watch or not to watch . . . I’m just saying that I’ve been taught to put my best foot forward and to treat others how I’d like to be treated.

I know when I’m not providing something you’re interested in on this blog, you stop coming.

And I know to stop subscribing to YouTube Channels and to stop watching their videos may change the quality of them . . . or they don’t care . . . or people like what they’re watching . . . and people will continue recording what people like.

I may be in the minority . . . I want the best for everyone. I’m very appreciative of those who share their craft ideas without complaining about someone who “stole their idea” or someone who’s angry because they’re not getting subscribers.

As many of you have found here, many of the crafts I’ve shared with you are not my own. I give credit to those who have been generous in their making templates we can download and print out and make for ourselves. During this process, I hope to learn how to make my own designs and to share them here and on YouTube . . . but that will all come later . . . way later . . . I do have so very much to learn.

And, if I do find a better way of doing something, I’m sure someone else has also found it, too. And they may have shared it . . . but I missed their documented discovery . . . 

Many crafters have mentioned that they learned something from a particular individual . . . and sometimes they say they found if they do it this way, it is easier for them . . . but it may not be an original idea . . . 

I do respect that. It’s like the many explorers who see something in the sky and at that exact moment someone else or several someone else’s have observed the same thing . . . they all seemed to be looking for the same thing, not knowing anyone else was doing the same. It’s only natural with a world full of people someone out there is going to come up with a similar short cut or whatever.

From all the videos I have watched, I’ve received some tips . . . I don’t remember from whom . . . and I’ve heard these tips from others as well . . . Does it really matter who was the first to do it? If the goal is to be helpful . . . then I’d say not . . . but if it is to be original and unique and the person worked really hard on figuring it out . . . maybe . . . or is it ego? I don’t know . . . just asking.

I subscribe to those I like on YouTube and I follow blogs that I like . . . and with the vlogs . . . I don’t watch as many of those as I have in the past . . . either I’ve changed or I’m no longer interested in what they find entertaining . . .

There are plenty to choose from . . . and I go for those with people who are real, gracious and helpful . . . not angry, rude and argumentative.

YouTube is a wonderful platform for just about anyone who has something to share with others. It could be reviewing a product or setting one up. It could be teaching someone how to make something — apply make-up, hair styling . . . buying clothing and matching various elements to make a fashion statement. There are many talented people who have a gift in various areas — even cooking . . . there are plenty of people with cooking channels and there is always room for you, too . . . in whatever area you choose. I’ve learned a lot from people who have shown me some computer stuff for my website . . . and using various software I’ve purchased . . .

There are people with tips for writing a resume or going for an interview . . . maybe even taking a test and how to study for one . . . there could also be tutorials for various subjects . . . and if there aren’t there should be . . . it’s all about people helping each other . . .

Thanks for stopping by!


Learning From YouTube Videos

I’ve learned quite a lot about paper crafting from various YouTube videos.

Several years ago I started seriously getting into paper crafts.paper-crafts

I wasn’t thinking in terms of scrapbooks, but in making boxes for hostess gifts and also making my own 3-D houses for centerpieces and a village for various holidays.

There are so many generous people showing how they make various items with die cutting machines, punches, stamps, designer papers and the list goes on and on.

Most paper crafters use various products from various sources. They buy their tools from local craft stores as well as from Amazon. But there is one company that requires their demonstrators to use their products exclusively.

Stampin’ Up Demonstrators have taken YouTube by storm.

For some time now, I’ve found the videos I’ve been turning to have been from Stampin’ Up Demonstrators.

My favorites have been from the UK. They seem to show me how to make different boxes for different holidays. Yes, they have some great punches and lovely papers and use the Sizzix Big Shot for embossing and die cuts. They have their own line of stamps that work right along with their punches.

From listening and later talking with various paper crafters, I’ve learned that you do need to have numerous finished products for your on-line store and you need a variety of tools, papers, punches, accessories, etc. in order to have the materials at hand for what you want to make.

Stampin’ Up seems to do that for their demonstrators . . . but at a price. There is value added in there. For example if you purchase $100. let’s say, you may receive $130. in product value. My numbers may be inaccurate, but you receive value for what you pay. You may be able to select a “free” item or two.

On the surface, this seems to be a good deal . . . and if people buy from you, that is less you’re obligated to buy.

But, if you want to buy products at a discount from Stampin’ Up and you don’t care about the business end of it, this is an excellent way of building an inventory of craft supplies and tools in a relatively short time.

Many Stampin’ Up demonstrators are busy making YouTube videos plus holding craft parties where they may have a make and take type of class . . . they may make sales . . . or not . . . they may get others to sign-up . . . or not . . .

I did some research in my local area.

I found that they’re basically into their own hobby.

They have no website, no videos . . . some will set up a live demonstration in my house if I could gather a number of people together . . .

Well, I have to agree with many of these ladies. My crafts are my crafts. It is a solitary thing. I wouldn’t mind doing how to videos, but being obligated to live demonstrations on even a monthly basis isn’t something I want to do.

I’ve been burned in the past . . . not by any company in particular, but in joining with others at a senior center . . . basically, they don’t spend money . . . they want what they can get for nothing . . . and leave you with a mess to clean up. Yes, that may be extreme, but that seems to have been my experience.

It may be my location . . . or I stink as a demonstrator . . . or so many other factors I haven’t even tried to figure out.

I’m just saying, it isn’t as easy as it seems . . . or as others would like you to believe.

So, nothing against Stampin’ Up, but I think I’ll continue on my own . . . doing my own thing . . . maybe make a video or two . . . build up my inventory of holiday products to sell . . . and have fun crafting . . .

Any hobby does cost money . . . and to get into it to make money isn’t the proper approach, in my humble opinion. It’s important for you to know what you want, how you want to spend your time . . . is your personality one in which you want to work alone or with others in a hands on teaching and learning situation.

Can you show others how to make a product? Do you want to supply the paper, tools, etc.?

I suppose you could set things up so that each person has to pay upfront . . . There have been some YouTube demonstrators who have close to 100 videos, receive little feedback and no contacts to buy their products . . . or people even interested in their challenges or giveaways.

This is truly sad . . . but I could see this happening . . . if you don’t have a lot of friends and people who love what you do.

I believe you need to be involved with those who share your “hobby” and spend time in those venues on-line. They may be curious enough to visit your website or watch your videos . . . it is a beginning. It does take time . . . goodness, I can’t tell you how many videos are uploaded to YouTube daily . . . but it is a large number . . . Then, in your area . . . there is a lot of competition. There are many who have been at it for years . . . they know their stuff and they are comfortable in their videos and with themselves.

As with anything, you need to do what you can . . . knowing it will take time . . . And your comfort in making videos will improve as will your videos. So, I’ve been told . . .

I love it when someone turns on their camera, does their greeting and gets to work . . . they’re relaxed and have everything in place . . . they speak naturally about what they’re showing you . . . some give you some insight into who they are and what they’re doing. It’s fun to be able to blend the two . . . people want to know you are a real person and what you have to say or what you have to show is worthwhile.

I don’t follow a lot of people on YouTube, but I do follow a few . . .

I do look forward to their videos.

And, some for different reasons. Some for the chatter . . . some for what they can teach me. Some, because they seem like nice people.

I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable when the camera is on . . . I’m in the privacy of my own home office . . . I know what I want to say and show . . . I don’t have to upload it . . . I’m not doing it live with millions of people watching . . . I find it strange . . . and then disappointing when no one can find my latest video . . .

Well, when I get into this crafting thing and have a video worth watching, I’ll let you know right here. I may be better with blogging . . . I’m comfortable, relaxed . . . I can stop and think . . . I can take a break . . .

I wonder if blogging was initially as frightening for me . . .

Enough of this . . . thank you for stopping by. I do hope this was informative for you. There are lots of crafts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, wedding favors . . . maybe even for the 4th of July . . . and, of course, for Halloween and Christmas . . . and Easter, if you want to get a jump on next year . . .

Until next time,


2015 Has Arrived


New Adventures Ahead.

Such images as walking through a gateway remind me of Alice’s adventures through the looking glass. It’s not a favorite tale of mine, but it is a starting point of any new adventure to get my imagination working, exploring and wondering.  Some of the characters were interesting, but mostly it was unpleasant for me to read . . . I may have missed something significant within the story . . . and maybe not. It just wasn’t the adventure I was seeking . . . and the attitude I thought uncomfortable. It’s not an ideal fantasy I would choose to explore again. For me, I would want to learn some truths about life and the purpose of why we are here and how to make our dreams come true to the benefit of many. Not for all, because some choose other paths . . . have agendas contrary to my ideal. It’s good to have differences . . . it’s good to learn and to grow . . . to shape my goals and beliefs, attitudes and priorities . . . 

What adventures does 2015 hold? Is it worth the journey? Do I really want to go?

Yes, questions. There are always questions. This allows me to flow . . . and to grow. I may be stuck in the past . . . my “now” reflects what has come before . . . from my ancestors . . . not all great and wonderful people . . . they made their share of mistakes . . . but given what faced them . . . did they have other choices? We may be limited by choices or our perception of them. This is not an excuse . . . and maybe it is . . . I believe it’s all about learning and growing . . . taking responsibility and striving to do better . . .

This is just where I am on this New Year’s Day . . . you may understanding . . . agree or disagree . . . that’s fine . . . does it really matter? That depends upon your perspective and priorities.

I have a neighbor who believes today is the day to take down Christmas lights and decorations. Some are joining them and some have a difference of opinion . . . they wait until the 6th of January. Yesterday’s wind and the tree trimming made that decision for me. My lights are down. My decorations are put away. It worked for me, but not for others. That’s fine. It’s not my intention to dictate to others to follow me. We’re individuals with minds of our own . . . not robots.

Much of what I write about here at TwoCansOnAString.com may be what you find interesting or enlightening or a waste of time. That’s fine. This is my website and I do what appeals to me at the moment. It’s also true of my other 3 websites. One I may not renew when the time comes. It’s a great website and I’ve made lots of sales from it, but I’m moving on. Something for me to seriously look at . . . The interest is still there, but I don’t know about the passion . . . and is that my priority?

I suppose this is my message . . . my time for reflection . . . maybe this is the reason for the cold weather . . . the traffic jams on the freeways of people running off to spend a day in the mountains and the snow. And those heading for home . . . yes, today and this weekend will be a busy travel day for many . . . and maybe on their travels they’ll reflect on 2014 and what’s ahead during 2015 . . . or wait until they arrive home.

Random thoughts . . . conscious or unconscious . . . shaping decisions during 2015.