Saturday, November 29, 2008

Skelekitty Rubber Stamps and New Print available on Etsy

My initial order of Skelekitty rubber stamps arrived from Santa Fe today and are available for purchase on my Etsy site at $14.00 each or a set of all 4 for $50.  If you don't have an Etsy account (it's free to join and shop, so you should!), just e-mail me letting me know which and how many stamps you would like to order and I'll send you an invoice,  easy as pie.

"Play Time" Skelekittyrubber stamp
"Play Time" - Skelekitten with yarn

"Time for Love" Skelekitty rubber stamp
"Always Time for Love" Skelekitty with heart

"Welcome Home" Skelekitty rubber stamp
"Welcome Home" Skelekitty rubbing skeleton legs (with cool shoes)

"Skele-Sirena" Skelekitty rubber stamp
Skele-sirena - Skelekitty as a mermaid

I've also created a new print and made it available on Etsy.  It's the angel-kitten from my original mixed-media piece, Love Cats in an 8x10" (well, 10x8" really) print.

Only $15 (plus CA tax if you're a resident).  She's a perfect holiday gift.  Not "into" kitties?  There are several other works available as 8x10 prints too, so check it out.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Showing Thanks (with recipes!)

Regardless of your feelings about the founding and expansion of the US, current politics or religion, Thanksgiving gives us all, whether 'Americans' or not, a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are thankful.

Me?  I'm thankful for my good health (yes, even with the problems I have, they're not so bad really!), Ron and our critters, my family, my dad staying sober for over a year, my awesome friends - including the ones from high school I've refound on the interwebs, Skelekitty, gel medium, the ability to laugh at life's crap, Body Tribe Fitness and Allyson, learning new stuff, autumn colors in the California foothills, Poop-Off, NPR and the ability to spew my thoughts online and the fact that there are people interested enough to read them.

To celebrate all the awesome shit in my life, I'm celebrating by sharing two of my recipes for Thanksgiving day favorites.  First, the recipe for my cranberry-apple pie that drives my father-in-law to do a happy-pie-dance in his chair, and also the cranberry sauce that people who don't like cranberry sauce love.

My signature apple-cranberry pie!
Apple-Cranberry Pie
Oven 375F
Pastry for a double-crust pie*
4-6 large FRESH granny smith apples to yield 6-8 cups of cut apples (TIP: If you live somewhere you can get 'em off the tree, DO IT.  We get ours every year from Larsen's in Apple Hill - Camino, CA - do yourself a favor and get a turnover with sauce while you're there)
6 oz fresh cranberries - washed and destemmed
1 Tbsp. all purpose wheat flour
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
butter (optional)

Peel and quarter the apples - remove cores.  Cut apples into somewhat uneven chunks (for large apples - I quarter the pieces lengthwise then cut them in half crosswise;  for smaller apples I'll cut them in thirds, then in half).

Mix apples with lemon juice, then add cranberries, flour, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar and mix - allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.

Pour apple-cranberry mixture into a crust-lined (uncooked) pie pan and dot with butter (optional).  Arrange top crust and close edges.  Cut slits on top of pie or cut openings using a decorative cookie cutter.  Brush top with water and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. of sugar.

Cover crust edges with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and bake for 20-25 additional minutes.  Let cool and get ready to pass this recipe on to anyone who eats the pie.

*Don't want to make your own pie crust?  Use your own pie plate with Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts - just let them sit at room temp for 15 minutes then unroll and use - they are AWESOME and the only commercial pie crust I would ever use.

F@#%ing AWESOME Cranberry Sauce

12 oz (1 bag) fresh cranberries - washed and destemmed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec or another orange flavored liqueur)
1/2 + 1/8 cup water

Boil water, liqueur and sugar until sugar melts.  Add cranberries and heat until cranberries begin to "pop."  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 30-60 minutes and refrigerate overnight (or at least for several hours to give it time to gel).  Yumtastic!

I hope you all find something to be thankful for today and every day!

xo  Krissi
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Custom Hot Pants (A Tutorial)

So yeah, Abby is in heat and has to wear "lady pants" for the next couple of weeks. Since I have my own disgust for non-biodegradable 'personal items' (diapers, sanitary pads, etc.), I got her washable doggie pants and inserted a washable pad (you can make them yourself out of flannel) inside them. The pants are very functional, but just didn't have ANY personality.

Not until this morning, anyway:
Fashion runways will now be referred to as the Dogwalk

Abby strikes a provocative pose

I'm really sorry I didn't take in-process photos for all of you, but I will divulge every SINGLE technique and product used in an attempt to make up for it.

Supplies: dog in heat, washable doggie panties, decorative fabric, embellishments, fusible medium, scissors, iron
Techniques: Fusing a design to ready-to-wear items is easy and addictive. You'll wonder why you haven't done this to EVERYTHING you wear already.
Directions and details:
I used PUP'sters brand doggie pants (by Simple Solutions) just because that's what was on the shelf at my local pet supply store. Even though Abby measures and weighs as a medium, these are a small and fit her very well. Wash the pants first to remove sizing.

Choose a design or create your own like I did for my custom denim jacket. TIP: create or pick a simple design that will be easy to cut out and not really viney florals or patterns with small thin, designs. I used "Corazones" from the Folklorico Collection by Alexander Henry 'cause I first thought how funny a flaming sacred heart would be over her little doggie-in-heat-butt. Other great designs I could have chosen for this are loteria cards (also by A.H., but tough to find if you don't already have some), dice or cards, sugar skulls, etc.

Position some fusible medium on the reverse side of your fabric, covering the design you want to cut out completely (with a little extra, just in case). Because I was dealing with a heavy material (denim), I used Heat N Bond Ultra, which I don't usually like because the fusible "glue" tends to soak through the fabrics. Because this project was using a dark design on a lightish denim, and I planned to embellish over the design, I wasn't going to worry about it (and I really want the design to stay put on her little doggie butt). If you don't have HnB Ultra in your stash, you can fuse several layers of a regular weight medium onto the fabric (I usually use Wonder Under).

Once the glue cools, peel the paper backing off and begin to cut out the design with SHARP scissors. (If you sew on a regular basis, you should have a pair that are dedicated ONLY to fabric and which never ever cut anything else. Want to know why? Try cutting a detailed design from fabric with paper crafting scissors and look at the weave unravel!) TIP: Make sure you cut out the design AFTER you remove the paper. If you remove the paper afterward, you will pull your design out of shape and ruin the sharp outline.

OK, now for the fun stuff! Iron on your newly created "patch" onto the pants and embellish to your heart's delight!

Did you really expect any less from me?

I used 3mm Swarovski hotfix crystals in diamond (clear) & siam around the hear and citron at the tips of the "holy rays." The glitter is Stickles glitter glue by Ranger products in burgundy/xmas red/orange peel all kinda painted on and smushed together on the flame, and gold on the "rays."

I think she feels sassier already  I know I do.
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The New Doggy Has Chosen Her Name!

Meet Miss Abby!

We tried on several names with her, but this is the one that fit and was also the name that SHE seemed to like the best. She's also starting to respond to it!

Who, ME?

All three kitties are adjusting, but we have some scheduling issues to work out when taking the macaws out to the aviary... Not terribly surprising.

And YES there will be skeledoggies (first portraits will be of Lulu and Abby)!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Bird Day 2009 - Call for Artists and Call for Donations!

Hi everyone!  There are two art related events going on for National Bird Day  this year that I KNEW would be right up the alley of a few of you.    In short, NBD is a day to reflect on the beauty of our native wild birds, but especially to think about how we treat birds in captivity (as a human companion to two "used" macaws, this is very close to my heart).  If you are not in Sacramento for the art show, check out the website for art shows in other cities!

1.  Art Show. 
Sacramento Call For Artists – The Bird Show – January 2009
The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of artistic inspiration.
Ironically, today, nearly 12 percent of the world's 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century and millions of captive birds lead miserable lives languishing in cages.
Born Free USA works to improve the lives of birds living in captivity, to end their exploitation by the pet industry, and preserve their rightful place in the wild. As part of this effort, Born Free works galleries and art venues around the country to raise awareness of the plight of birds through art.

In the Sacramento area the 2009 National Bird Day art show will once again be held at Body Tribe with opening reception on January 10th (Second Saturday).

Born Free is looking for artists who would like to be submit work to be included in the show. Donating a portion of sales to Born Free USA is welcome but not required.

All art must adhere to the general bird theme ...all bird species welcome. We are however, particularly interested in pieces that reflect the plight of captive birds.
If you would like to be part of the show or would like more information contact Monica Engebretson at or (916) 447 3085 x 210
More about captive birds:
Even when bred in captivity, exotic birds are not considered domesticated animals, and all their inherent behavioral and physical needs remain intact. Sadly, when it comes to birds, deprivation of their natural behaviors (to fly and flock, for example) is an inescapable component of their captivity.
Each year thousands of birds are sold into the pet trade to individuals who are under the mistaken impression that a bird will make a perfect pet. Eventually, whether due to frustration, disinterest, or concern, many people attempt to rid themselves of the responsibility of caring for their birds. Unfortunately, few of these birds will find a loving home, and most will spend their days isolated and confined to their cages. Others will bounce from home to home as their caretakers tire of them, and some may be abandoned at local shelters and birds rescues, set free to fend for themselves or euthanized.
Images of trapped birds, captive birds, and "bird mills" (massive breeding facilities) can be seen on the the National Bird Day myspace pages at
More information can also be found at

2. Online Auction!

As part of the National Bird Day Celebration beginning on January 5, 2009, Born Free USA will be hosting an online auction to benefit our work which of course includes protecting birds from cruelty and exploitation.

If you would like to donate an item to the auction please visit our auction staging page at:

We are particularly interested in items that reflect the theme of National Bird Day - birds, flight, freedom, beauty - you get the picture.

Your donations are tax deductible.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We Need This Like We Need A Hole In The Head

But she's just SO DARNED sweet!

She found us Sunday while we were hiking in a state park in CaliFORnia's GOLD (LOL) country and followed us up and over the 2+ miles with a elevation gain of about 500 feet. She had no tags or collar, was hungry/thirsty/skunky and covered in fleas and ticks. We made a makeshift collar and leash out of a strap from Ron's backpack and she seemed thrilled. She eagerly jumped into the car (I can't believe Ron let a stinky/tick-ridled dog in his BMW - LOL), curled up on Ron's jacket and totally passed out on the ride home.

We got her home and immediately saw that she was not fixed; she started having some blood-tinged discharge on Sunday night and ... yep, she was just starting to go into the beginnings of a heat. I was irked at the irresponsibility and Ron was getting pissy, but he still spent 3 hours looking for lost doggie postings on the interwebs' usual suspects: the Bee, Craig's List, etc., etc. (NUTHIN'). My neighbor, Ralyn who is half of another couple without human children but with plenty of furbabies, and I eradicated most of the skunk smell and all of the ticks (eww!). Then I got her tummy full of some good quality food. She slept VERY well Sunday night. On me.
In her "lady pants"
Here's a picture of her in her "lady pants" as Paula from Lakeside Veterinary calls them - much better than "diapers!"

I took her to the vet first thing Monday morning to scan for a microchip but, as I suspected, NUTHIN' once again. Now I was getting a little pissy and Ron was getting angry, but I still posted a "found dog" flyer at the post office of the little gold mining town. Jacks are known for bolting and even the best pet owners have lost a pet once or twice. Yesterday afternoon and last night she had some nightmares - hyperventilating and whimpering in her sleep, but she recovers quickly once she wakes up.

Today I took her to the vet for an actual exam since they were swamped on Monday. He thinks she's "youngish," he guessed about two. Of course, everybody there LOVED her - she was perfect even during her exam! We got a closer look at her neck: what I thought was a rash or irritation from fleas/ticks or a once-upon-a-time too-tight collar turned out to be thick scarring from a bark collar. Now I know these collars can be and are often used safely and humanely, but Jacks are notorious for needing mental and physical stimulation or they'll create their own. You can't use a bark collar in place of regular training and exercise (ever, but especially with high energy, smart, working dogs). How neglected was this doggie to end up with such huge calloused scars on her neck? I started to tear up right there in the vet's office and went from pissy to a combination of heartbroken and outraged. When I told Ron, he was completely furious. I doubt very much that whoever "lost" this awesome little bundle of love is going to want her back, but if they do, they're going to have to deal with Ron, me, his friends and coworkers, a lot of angry punk rockers, animal rights activists and weight lifters.

So it looks like it's official. We now have a dog. As Allyson said, I unwittingly asked the universe for a dog by loving on her black lab Lulu so much. Even two of the three cats have accepted her - I awoke at 4:30am last night to find a dog sleeping at my feet and Finnegan on my chest with Mouse nearby on her "momma kitty." Gracie on the other hand keeps acting like prey and running which sets off the chase instinct in the little Jack Russell Terrier brain. Positive reinforcement training started today - we'll be rewarding every time she DOESN'T go after a kitty when there's an opportunity.

There's really only one outstanding problem: the universe may have sent us a dog, but it's taking its sweet-ass time about sending her name along!


We have a possible contender, Nyssa. It comes from Hebrew Nysa which means "to test" (perfect for a Jack Russell) and Nissa is a feminine name of Scandinavian origin ("a friendly elf"). Also, Nyssa was one of the companions The Doctor picked up during his travels. It all seems appropriate, so we're going to let her try it on for a few days and see what happens.


Her name is Abby. No reason - she just looks like one.
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Dork Alert!

Sneaky sneak preview of the 2008 Christmas episode, "The Next Doctor."

Now, of course, I wish we had BBC America more than ever! I'm not sure I can wait for the Sci Fi Channel to run new episodes sometime in the summer....
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't Say I Haven't Warned You

I mark a lot of my posts with the tag my sick sense of humor in order to forewarn my more 'normal' colleagues (hey, I have a few here and there). Now in all honesty, most of the time the tag could easily be replaced with one like funny or humor, but not in the case of the original post which gave rise to the overly-specific comedy tag, nor in the case of today's.

I've been working on and giggling over a piece called 12 Bad Eggs for the last two days. It's my ode to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - commonly referred to as PCOS or PCOD. It's an annoyance with which I've been living for about a decade, but which resurfaced as an issue earlier this year when I had to choose between having a working digestive system and the meds that were controlling the PCOS. I chose having a tummy that didn't look like swiss cheese and must admit that I'm having much more fun NOT writhing on the floor in pain after every couple of meals.

12 bad eggs - almost finished
ALMOST FINISHED - it just needs the text ("12 Bad Eggs") attached when the paint and gel medium finishes drying.

Detail. My favorite is the one flipping the bird to the fallopian tube:
12 bad eggs - detail
I also have a soft spot for the "alien egg" which is a shout out to Dr. Lisa Capaldini in San Francisco, my favoritest doctor EVER. She was the first to diagnose (jokingly, of course) my collection of auto-immune diseases and other weird-ass disorders as Space Alienism. BTW, despite Lisa's insightful discovery, I don't think the disorder was ever published in JAMA.

I have absolutely NO CLUE if there is anyone out there on this planet who will find this as funny and cathartic as I do, let alone buy it (I think it will be about $70 on Etsy), but I needed to make it just the same.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Art Journaling With A Sense of Humor

Another journal page in my 3 Week Challenge to "say yes to the possibility of success."  This one explores the fear of not being considered a "real" artist because 1) I have no formal art training and/or 2) I'm not pissed off all of the time.
art journal (or not-art journal) page

Along with the underlying fear, there is definitely a holier-than-thou attitude in this piece.  This page was inspired by a "real" artist who terrorized my friends at an art show in March (I was off being a not-real-artist on the Crafty Chica cruise!).
"White Walls, White Lines"by Nicolas Caesar
3-10-2008 (
We met this guy Saturday. He flipped all of us off. Well, he also flipped off lamps, walls, screamed and shouted at the air and really did strangely attract snobby patrons. We couldn't tell if he was coked out, crazy or just entertaining. Either way he was this week's muse. And his art REALLY is about birds and pink floyd.

On a side note when women have plastic surgery and age they start looking more and more like my art. Just that creepy Jack-O-Lantern grin. I think that's cool. 
Oddly enough, I can't seem to find a bio or portfolio of his crazy ass anywhere on the interwebs.  Hmmmm...  Oh well.

I have a fun idea for a new piece so I'm off to work it out.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Winning Skelekitty Shirt Design Is...

Skelekitty with the heart!
Skelekitty's first T-Shirt design (coming soon!)

The final artwork will be cleaned up a little more around the edges, but essentially, this is how the shirt will look (without the copyright notice, of course): white & red "ink" on black American Apparel shirts. We're planning on doing girlie shirts in sizes M (4-6) -XXL (14-16) and we'll probably do a couple unisex sizes too for folks wanting a roomier fit or to DIY them! If you want to reserve a certain style/size, let me know at

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for voting and for all of your feedback! Stay tuned for more information on how to get your own shirt (I just needs to get a printer locked in!) We're hoping to have some for you by Xmas!
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Saying "YES"

One of the artists who participated in the last Suzi Blu mixed-media online workshop created her own Ning community called the 3-Week Challenge. In this challenge, people are asked to what they would say "yes." I've consiously made changes like this in my life before - "yes" to happiness over anger (I'd say I'm at about 95%) and "yes" to accepting my body for what it is and making the best of my physical self (an ongoing battle). This time, I wanted to say yes to the possibility of success, a fear of which has plagued me my entire life. Seems like a weird thing to fear, huh?

Step one from my point of view is to figure out what success might look like and WHY the thought of succeeding is so damn scary, so I created my very first EVER art journal entry/ies:

Possibility of Success journal page
Possibility of Success journal page

Fear of Success journal page
Fear of Success journal page

Looking at this with my critical eye, I'd say more of me went into the "fear" page than the "possibility" page. I hope at the end of the three weeks (11/23 to 12/14), I'll be able to say exactly the opposite.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's More of an "Explanation" Than an "Excuse"

I can never find ANYTHING.

My studio this morning:

HOW did this happen?!?!

My "WTF" moment

Get more details by pointy-pointy and clicky-clicky on the photos.

I'm afraid to go back down there.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

That Darn Cat Is at it Again!

Swiped from The Kitty's blog today:
Howdy cats and kittens!

Well, never let it be said that this kitty lets the grass grow under her paws!  The rubber stamps are still being poured, assembled and mailed out to folks and here I am looking at the reality of the very first SKELEKITTY TEE SHIRT, but I need your assistance in picking the design.  We will only be offering one design first, and we want it to do well so that we can offer more designs in the future!

Here is the plan thus far: we'll be getting American Apparel "girlie" shirts in several sizes from M-XXL (2XL is equivalent in fit to a men's/unisex medium). The design will be silk screened on a black tee with high quality white "ink" plus one or two colors, depending on which design we do: green for the mermaid tail, pink or purple yarn, red for the heart and red for the shoes/tattoo/cherries with green for the cherry stems.  We're looking at using the same people who did Suzi Boneshaker's awesome tees (Krissi has both of Suzi's designs and they pass her tough quality assurance tests).

So what do you need to do?  VOTE Yeah, I know, you thought we were done voting last Tuesday (by the way, nice job America!).  There's a poll at the top right of my blog, so just cast your vote for your mostest favoritest tee design.  Remember we'll only be doing one shirt, at least for now, which design should it be?

Feel free to comment if you have more input on colors, sizes, shirt styles or anything else!

Skele-snuggles (it's getting cold outside!),

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

What A Week

Sorry it's been so long since the last blog. It's been a busy and productive week here at the Casa de Sandvik (we're internationally inclined). The big news was the super highest of highs of the presidential election, followed by the low of Prop 8 passing in a cloud of fear and hatred. However, since Obama won, I feel so proud of the American people for the first time in almost a decade that I've regained all of the piss 'n' vinegar I lost during the B**h administration. I'm ready to fight the good fight here in California so that everyone can enjoy ALL of the same rights that Ron and I do as a married couple (not just 1/4 of them).

Thursday, a bunch of us got together in midtown Sacramento to celebrate Evie "Love" Turner's b-day with some awesome snackage and the best German chocolate cake I've ever tasted. Mmmmmmmm. The sugar crash the next day was totally worth it. A good time was had by all (except maybe for Mr. Fox), and there are many photos to prove it floating around on MySpace.

I loved being able to just sit and talk with folks I never get to see in real life, or that I pass by in the doorway of shows. Super awesome stronger-than-she-looks Darby and I finally got a chance to chat since we were in the same place at the same time and it wasn't Body Tribe on a workout day! Apparently, we both clean up really well - LOL. Anyway, Darby works for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is doing a wine tasting fundraiser this week that promises to be mighty fun. Evie and I will be donating some work to Darby for the cause and there will be a live auction of art & goodies from the grid and, of course, wine from 5-8pm on Thursday the 13th in the Sacramento Grand Ballroom. I strongly encourage my artist pals to donate too by contacting Darby ( or Evie directly!

I finished quite a few pieces this week - two of which are available for sale, one which was a present for the aforementioned birthday girl and the last was part of a collaborative piece.
A brand new sky to hang the stars upon tonight
"A Brand New Sky to Hang The Stars Upon" is a 12x12" mixed media on birch wood piece inspired by these dudes here. It's not in my Etsy shop yet, but it is available for $65 (in the meantime, just contact me directly).

Lovecats (final)
"Lovecats" was another song-inspired mixed media piece and I probably don't have to tell anyone the source of the inspiration (but here it is, just in case you were asleep during the 80s). $100 will make this 1 foot by 2 foot piece your'n (contact me directly until I place it on Etsy).
Love Cats - detail (final)

Lovecats final (detail)

The third piece I finished this week was an angel kitty memorial piece of Evie's kitty, Tsarina (pssst! I need a photo - I forgot to take one!), and involved me stalking her MySpace account for kitty pics. Thank goodness for blogs, Facebook and Flickr or I'd never get pet portraits done!

I overbooked myself again, but cleverly managed to roll the Suzi Blu 'oracle card' art challenge and the secret collaborative piece of which I'm doing 1/9th into a single work. It worked incredibly well - especially thanks to a brief but unbelievably insightful chat on Friday with Temple Terkildsen, my go-to woman for all things pagan, occult and spiritual. Here's a photo of my contribution to the collaboration which features the word "courage" and an anatomical heart with thorny branches & flowers blossoming from the ends.

The symbolism is as simple as the definition of the word: "a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain with self-possession, confidence, and resolution." The blossoms are an indicator of hope - the reason we go forth courageously in the first place. I decided to use it as my oracle card since the word kept popping up in my life (see below). When I discovered that the word comes from the Latin "cor" meaning "heart," I knew it was mine to do since I'm pretty well known for incorporating hearts into my art. Then, when I looked at the guidelines for the collaboration and saw that, of the nine empowerment words (one for each artist to interpret), "courage" was one of the remaining two ... well, there you go. If the universe had been hitting me over the head, it wouldn't have been more obvious. I'll blog more about the collaborative project later when it's less of a secret.

Well folks, that's been my fun but probably less-than-exciting-for-you week. I'll keep you updated on all the new goodies!
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