Friday, December 31, 2010

Keeping My Goals In Mind

Good Friday Morning! And since I turn into a pumpkin by 8 PM each night, Happy New Year as well. I'm hoping this unfolds into a beautiful and enjoyable day. In my digs, we're expecting temps in the mid-40's and rain so who knows? Despite the warmer (and wet!) weather, we've been blessed with a fair amount of joy and delight. I can't imagine today being any different....but I also lost my ability to see into the future ever so many moons ago.

In the mean time, I'm going to stick to my goals and select some photos for this cute sketch:

Created by Jana Eubank, it's the current inspiration at Sketches In Thyme. If you like it, too, I encourage you to give it a go. I haven't participated in any challenge for over a month, but I've wanted to. No time like the present!

Speaking of presents, yesterday, we took advantage of a generous gift our son received for Christmas. Papa Mike and Grandma Mona gave him tickets to our local Children's Museum. We had never been there before and were in great need of an adventure. Adventure was definitely what we found! Who knew you could put so many educational centers into one small building! Two hours was just not enough time and we will be going back sometime in January. To give you an idea of exactly how much fun my son had, I'd like to share a new favorite photo of mine:

I forgot how slow my point-and-shoot camera could be....and that flash is very important. Still, the blur that he created was a fairly accurate description for the day. I'll be looking for a single-photo sketch for this one.

I'd like to think of a really cute way to close, but my paper is calling to me. Something scrappy, this way comes!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I don't do Resolutions, but Goals Rock my Casbah.

Good Wednesday morning!

It's been a very long time since I have made a blog post and I really do feel guilty about that. Seriously, it's getting to the stage of guilt in which I feel so bad that I try to pretend that I never began blogging at all.... and that's not cool, is it?

I like blogging.

I like reading blogs.

I like establishing the very beginnings of relationships through blogs.

I also like the new PointsPlus program with Weight Watchers.

....and how much better I feel because of the better food choices.

I DON'T like struggling to incoporate a chunk of dedicated exercise time into each day. It's still necessary, as I've got at least 13 lbs left to remove in 2011.

I DON'T like struggling to balance exercise and paper-crafting in my week. Right now, neither is getting much attention because I'm also trying to ensure my son knows he's loved.

I also want him to be educated; pesky teaching never left my blood!

There's a lot to like and want and pay attention to in 2011, huh? There's even more that I haven't written here; but that's more likely because I'm not focusing right now....and I sense a rambling streak hitting full force. Straight to my goals, then?

In 2011, I want to:

* Practice my blogging at least once per week with a focus on segues. (see the paragraph above for my so-not-smooth moves)

* Create a dedicated 30 minutes each day for exercise.

* Complete at least one crafty project each week -- creating embellishments from scratch; scrapbook pages; cards, dimensional objects, etc.

* Remove between thirteen and 23 lbs from my body.

* Re-instill a love of fruits and veggies in my son. I feel off the healthy wagon late Fall and he decided he's never touching fruits or veggies ever again. Monkey see, Monkey do!

* Establish a schedule and curriculum to attempt educating my son at home. I'm not looking to homeschool; but we can't afford Pre School right now and our Head Start programs are packed. I don't want him to be unprepared for Kindergarten.

I have a few more goals that are personal but they're also pretty good and achievable.... I hope! On a final note, I want to welcome and thank my new followers! I did see that the number jumped up significantly over the past week and more. The recent rise in my "follow" number is one of the reasons I really want to get myself back into blogging more frequently. It hardly seems fair to make your investment and not get anything in return, does it?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finally, a crafty moment!

Good Thursday, evening! Missed me? I know, of course you have!... Yeah, I'm a bit over-confident tonight, but I'm okay with that. I've spent the majority of the past nine days doing two things: absorbing the new PointsPlus plan from Weight Watchers AND creating plans and sub plans and surprise plans in case I had to actually leave the house for Jury Duty (dun dun duuuunnnn).

In my first five days on the new plan, I lost 3.6 pounds. For me, that's none too shabby! It also makes me want to go on for several paragraphs with how much I love this new plan; but I won't.... unless it's requested of me.

Jury Duty... Woot to the hoot that cases were never scheduled either day. If they had been, I would have gone in, of course. It's a duty. There are serious penalties for ignoring it. I'm kinda curious as to how it all works. Instead, today I made some beautiful chocolate chip cookies with my young son. Again, he wanted to help in the kitchen so he got to obsess over the vanilla bottle; crack a couple eggs and open them with guidance; gradually add the flour; count to twelve as I lumped dough onto the pans; ask me every 30 seconds if he could the spoon.

When it was all said and done, we had four dozen cookies and a promise to keep. I have a very good friend who managed to talk me calm last week. I was grateful that she took the time; used her patience and training; and took the topic without batting an eye. It was a new level to our friendship and I wanted her to know how grateful I was. Being one with paper, I couldn't simply lump a dozen cookies in a Ziploc bag and call it square. Oh, no! I had to make a little gift box for them to nestle in:

The paper is a mixture of DCWV packs.
The felt flora shadow is Prima Devines.
The butterfly was cut with my Slice many moons ago; and decorated with Prima E Line bling. I love that stuff!!!!!
The lace is from Joann's. I was on a lace kick last Spring and have so much now just hanging around.

I found the tutorial for this amazing idea on Frosted Designs. I knew instantly that this was a project I'd want to take on many times. I rather dig my first attempt; but I'd love to do so much more. This is one of those crafty projects that I'd recommend to ANYONE who sees a lot of paper crafting magic on blogs, but doesn't feel very crafty on their own. The patterned paper packs available at local stores makes it so easy to make something so quick and easy. Seriously, check out the tutorial and give it a try. Cheaper than tins, AND you don't have to figure out where to store the lump of a container, either.

Aside from this, I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of reading my favorite blogs soon. Now that I've got a bit of a rhythm with planning and tracking my food choices during the day, there's time for that quiet joy.....Until I can kick myself into gear with plotting time for regular physical activity. OH! And the looming resolution to do a loose version of home-schooling my son until we're able to enroll him in Pre-School or Kindergarten. Ack! Thank goodness I used to be a teacher by profession or else this moutain would be waaaaay bigger than I could handle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Me? Stylish?

Good Wednesday evening! I had started to write this post last Sunday morning, but life went crazy in a fun kind of way. Now, life is getting hectic in a few different directions.

*I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers online this morning, after doing some reading on some epic changes. I've spent most of the day giddy and absorbing what I can.

* I've got a few scrappy pages completed to go with the most recent Sketches In Thyme Open Challenge, but doubt I'll get them photographed and uploaded in time.

* My son rediscovered snow this morning, so we've been in and out and getting geeked about that.

* On a whim, I loaded Sims 3 onto my computer and have been sucked into that many evenings, once my son is in bed.

*I'm here. I'm reading. I'm participating with challenges, but have to find a way to keep new and old plates spinning.... again! In the mean time, I opened up this post to share it with everyone and explain some impending absences WHILE I cook a new recipe for potatoes.

I thought I'd use a couple of the free minutes I have to catch up on my last blogging award:

This was also awarded to me by the very talented Fern. I am supposed to share eight more things about myself and tag eight more people. I wonder if there are eight more details that are *worth* writing down. Guess we'll find out together, huh? Perhaps I can switch it up and note the eight nouns I'm grateful for. I didn't get around to doing an official Thanksgiving blog, but I kinda wanted to give it a try....

1) Since it's happening right now, just off to my right... I am thankful that I have a loving, fun husband who takes the time to play with our energetic, imaginative son. They've loaded a Lego car with seven inches of Lego bricks...and there's a Lego chicken driving it and crashing it all over the place.

2) I am thankful to have freedoms; like speech and creative expression. While I do find myself holding my tongue frequently, it's good to know that I have every ability to open and let loose when warranted.... (okay, so I keep taking breaks to turn and watch my husband and son play. It's too cute!)

3) I am thankful to have friends and family who understand me completely and continue to love me all the same.

4) I am thankful for the repeated gift of a brand new day; to wake each morning with a roof still over my be able to open my eyes and see the little things that surround me... to have a brain that can do the Math on how long I expect to lie in quiet until my son wakes and we start the day.

5) I am grateful that there is some source of income that graces our family each week so we are able to keep our stomachs filled with nutrition (and occasional treats). While I'd be even more thankful if I were able to contribute to that income; I have to remind myself that it could be far worse. There could be none at all.

6) Now, I'm starting to reach while remaining true. I AM thankful that our home has remained intact; even after the most insane of storms in the past few years. That's brought up, because I'm looking out the back window (above my playing son) and can see a fraction of my neighbor's back yard. A few weeks ago, we had a major wind storm that broke a rotted tree (in his yard) in half. It was less than a yard from his house -- and his daughters' bedroom. Instead of hitting the house, it cracked and smashed his deck to smitherines. There is one tree in our own yard that is healthy, but just as close to our house as that tree WAS to his.

7) I am thankful that there are fourteen people who have chosen to follow this blog. Thank you for helping me feel as though I'm not just talking at a wall. You've been so kind and encouraging.

8) And since he's decided to come over and be RIGHT in my face (quite literally), I am thankful overall for the gift my son is each day. He has his rough days. I have mine. He has his silly days. He has his smart days. He has some days that I swear I just fed him rocket fuel by mistake. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that child changed my life for the better. Without him, I'd be so very lost. I think a lot of people in my circles would be, too.


Now, I'm pretty sure I need to tag others at this point.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Attitude and Style... Brought to you by a dose of Blue's Clues

Good Saturday Afternoon!

Being the first weekend after Thanksgiving, I'm willing to bet many of us are starting to feel the energy and/or chaos starting to build already. Personally, I'm trying to fill my house with as much cheer and spirit as possible....and waiting for my loving husband to take a small picnic table out to storage. It's the first step in making room and rearranging the play room to place our tree in the house. The next step is finding a new spot for our son's cubbies. Yikes!

While I'm waiting on all that (and debating baking a few dozen cookies), I thought I'd catch up on some blog posts. I have a couple more tags to tie up AND some personally exciting news, too.

First up, this award:

It was bestowed upon me by Fern. Seriously, go check out her crafty goodness! I'm floored and inspired by the beauty she creates. The rules for this award are as follows:

1) Thank the person who gave it to me.

Thank you, Fern! Receiving awards was something I never fathomed for myself and this one is beautiful.

2) This is very special because it comes with a wonderful $5 gift certificate from The Digi's with Attitude Store

In order to qualify for the $5.00 Digi’s With Attitude! Gift Certificate I will state 3 things that makes me different from everyone else and then I must nominate 5 blogs. Lastly, I must display the Blog Award Badge (above) in my sidebar and link it back to the Digi’s With Attitude! Challenge Blog.

How cool is that?!

Now the tricky part, three things that make me different... Hmmm....

1) My internal I Pod rarely turns off. There always a relevant song to sing or shake my hips to. Truly, my three-and-a-half year old son can tell you, I probably sing far too often during the day. I just can't stop myself!

2) My energy and drive always resets on Mondays and the first day of each month. While so many others dread the M-word (both, even), I live for it.

3) I'm excited for Christmas (been planning and plotting since September). I believe snow can be romantic. I strongly dislike cold. If we could get a Christmas season, blanketed thickly with snow AND 50 degree temps, I'd be a happy camper....

Put that special Christmas on a Monday and who knows what magic would happen?

And the five blogs I tag...

1)Bev -- 2 Hearts
2)Amarily's Little Corner
3)Tiffany -- Breakfast @ Tiffany's
4)Candid Candace
5)Megan -- CropChocolateDesigns

I know I was also nominated for a second award by Fern, but I think my time to just sit and write has been ended. I'll work on coming back to that one soon!

OH! I also have some fun info to share related to Sketches In Thyme and Frosted Designs! Mainly, it's fun for me, but still, I'd like to share.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh, Karen! Beautiful (and sorry for being so late), it's true!

Good Tuesday Morning! Aside from starting the day up and running because PLAY seems to be the word of the day (and currently a tiny candy cane break to refuel the spider web slinging powers), I need to add a phrase to my vocabulary. Mea culpa. Since I bet I spelled that wrong, I'll just add "my bad." Back in July, I was given a very lovely award from a fellow blogger; the Beautiful Blogger award. I was in shock and delight. I quickly wrote up a response post...only to get super shy and become a horse's patoot. I was quite certain that this would be one of those things that no one would care about. Horse's patoot, I know!

In the spirit of gratitude that Karen reached out to me to begin with, I've updated the original post and highly recommend you check out her blog. Her focus is better health, being active and losing weight. She runs fun active challenges each month that I would also like to dive into in the months ahead.

Without further ado....

I am equally surprised and honored to have received a blogging award! Karen, author of muffin fixation, bestowed (yeah, I'm not sure why I'm all fancy this morning, either) the award of Beautiful Blogger onto me.

Along with this award, I'm supposed to share seven things about myself.

1. As much fun as Summer can be, I'm already looking forward to Fall. It's not unusual for me to start buying sweaters in mid August.

2. In October, 2004, I met my goal of losing 101 lbs. The whole journey lasted two years and ten months. I maintained that loss for several months before ten of those lost pounds found me...Then those 10 lbs sent out a batch invitation to ten more pounds....Then they send an invite to nine more...then I got pregnant.

3. On December 28, 2009, I went back to Weight Watchers to lose the 80 that I had gained back since meeting my original goal.

4. At this point, I've lost 40 of those 80 and seem to be holding steady. I'm okay with that because I've had to put my Weight Watchers meetings on hold until other details of my life improve.

5. I never thought I'd enjoy paper crafting and scrapbooking as much as I do. My mom had bought me a kit (album, paper, stickers, alphas, and so on) It stayed in it's box for well over a year before I finally decided I wanted to give it a try. I was hooked from the first page!

6.Evidently, I easily turn scrapbooking into a competitive activity. I've nearly learned to chill out and just do what makes me happy.

7.There's pretty much always one major obsession in my life. At one time, I was collecting dinner plates like crazy...then clothes...then there was the period of time that I'd spend three hours at the gym every day...then Sims....then blogging....then paper crafting. Now, I'm not sure what I'm going to be obsessed with.

And now to tag seven other bloggers. This is going to be tricky because I'm shy. I will share seven blogs that I like to read and gather inspiration:

1.Senora X -- {Daily Anecdotes}
2.Mellissa W -- Vini Vidi Clicki
3.Steffanie -- Stars N Sparkle Blooms N Bling
4.Stacy -- Scrap with Stacy
5. Beth Moore -- Runs with Scraps
6.2AMScrapper -- LOTSA SCRAP
7. In a scrap of paper -- I've just recently begun reading her blog.

And now, to type up some other posts with more information and further prevent horse's patoot-itude. Evidently, I'm about to get a nuggie from zee boy. I'm thinking that's the universe at work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cooking Class

Hello! Hello! Hello! How does the life find you today? Personally, life today finds me excited and moderately focused...and wanting time to reflect on a few details that have escaped my attention for some time. Think, keeping all the plates spinning at once. Yeah....

In the mean time, I found some fun inspiration at Sketches In Thyme last Thursday morning:

I really like the clean lines of the sketches that originate from Creative Scrappers. I'm pleased that I've finally stopped being shy and started digging in to have some fun. Here's my take on the sketch:

Now, if you find yourself thinking this is a beautiful page.... Well, first of all, thank you, BUT the real credit goes to both Creative Scrappers (for the design, of course) and Graphic 45 (the makers of the patterned paper. The vast majority of this page was created with the Domestic Goddess line. Okay, so Mr. Holtz is responsible for the Distress ink on the edges, too.

One of my favorite details is thanks to my friend, Steffanie, who created this flourish on a transparency:

She has the patience and artistic talent that I lack so I was happy to snag many flourishes from her Etsy shop. She's also brilliant at making paper flowers (an eternal love of mine!).

And for the fluke files, the Distress Stickles (glitter glue) in the center of the Prima flowers dried in a perfect bubble. That never happens!

Lest I forget, the photos are my son and my Mom. It was a special day -- chicken and dumplings from scratch. It's a family favorite and absolutely amazing. My son enjoys the dish so much that he insisted on "helping" us put it together. In our house (to a reasonable and safe extent) that is absolutely an option. He gets to make his own peanut butter sandwiches. He gets to help pour the cereal into his bowl. Occasionally (if the jug is empty enough) he gets to participate in pouring his own juice. He helps us stir and dump measured ingredients into a bowl. He gets to read the numbers/quantity linked to the ingredients we need. He gets to mop up if he helps us make a mess, too.

Cooking is a family event that he truly enjoys. It's something we love to do together whenever possible. Sometimes we use the time to talk about life and thoughts and dreams. Sometimes, we just have fun and laugh. It's part of who we are as a family and what we do. To have him WANT to participate and know this aspect of our love feels good and right.

I share all this because I know that it would be easy to assume (just by looking at these pictures) that we might be crazy. My mom is slicing celery beside him in one photo; and standing beside her at the stove for the rest. He was so intent to practice "slicing" with his dull children-size knife that he didn't care about her plate. He's also received over a year's worth of stove and oven safety lectures from us and knows to keep his hands off....and the burner below the pan was off -- they all were. We did not turn the stove on until he was back to his toys in another room.

I believe that's all I wanted to cover for now. In a few minutes it will be time to wake my son. *sigh* I'm really going to miss these naps much more than he is someday, aren't I?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Good Monday morning! The sky is blue and it's been warm enough so far to get out of the house and into the least for several minutes of physical activity. I'd love to get a few (hundred) more days like this before Winter sets in and we're bouncing off the walls. Since I don't know if that's possible, we'll try to get out more and celebrate life. In the mean time, my little one is enjoying a nice cup of cocoa with marshmallows and I'm enjoying a moment to sit and type.

Speaking of celebrating life, that's pretty much what inspired a layout I'm about to share with you. A few posts back, I shared some photos of my nephew clearing four bales of hay like a hurdle. That same day (a few minutes later, actually) he and my son took some time to just chill on that hay and enjoy a quiet moment together. I'm convinced it would have been some level of sin if I didn't save it to adore for years to come; but how? Well, I relied on a sketch from Creative Scrappers -- Sketch Challenge 129, I believe:

And here's my take:

I decided to keep it pretty simple this time. I had my fill of chunky distressing for a little bit. It's nice to be able to move back and forth with how much detail or however many techniques I choose to do. Besides, the paper I used (Basic Grey, Max & Whiskers) is already grunged up enough in it's design. The Jenni Bowlin buttons and Prima Devines are supposed to give it a more relaxed feeling; but I'm still pumped from running and playing this morning that even I'm getting confused. (Mental note: explore some basic yoga with the child.)

The "G" in Bonding was actually a bit of jerry-rigging. I have some unloved Thickers that I'm trying to use; but I don't have any G's. Instead I cut apart an O and used the straight piece to create a G...then covered up my clever ways by snipping this teeny tiny "display" piece out of the back packaging of some Jenni Bowlin bingo cards. I swear, I use their packaging more than their actual product. Must work on that!

Ah, well! It seems that the cocoa cooled and has been emptied from the cup. I suspect I'll be on the run pretty soon. Thank goodness it's a nap day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giddy to be a Guest Designer!

Good Sunday evening! Granted, it's another gray day, but I'm so giddy that I can barely contain myself. You've likely noticed that I've been inspired by a number of sketch challenges posted at Sketches In Thyme. I've had so much fun that I decided to apply for their new Design Team a few weeks ago.

Since the new team has been posted on their blog, go ahead a take a moment to check them out. Go ahead. I'll wait....

Pretty great group, huh? As excited as I am to be exposed to all that incredible talent, I'm also excited that I've been offered an opportunity to be a Guest Designer for Sketches in Thyme in January and February of next year! Woohoo! The Mavens pick so many amazing sketches that I LOVE; this is going to be an outstanding start to the new year!

So, that's why I've added the new blinkie off to the right. It will take you to the main page for Sketches In Thyme so you can always see the latest Challenge and/or news. Oh, and how about those cool links in the upper right? I'm so happy to see that they've created sections where you can find past sketches in case you want to use them again -- scrapbook pages, cards, even tips and tricks for paper crafting goodness!

Yeah, it's a good day. Hope your Sunday treated you beautiful and well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Keeping Play Time In Your Heart

Good Saturday Morning! How does this fine...gray...leafless day find you? I'm probably a little too giddy to steal some blogging time while my son puts together some puzzles with one of my Aunts. Family has come to visit and I've become third fiddle. Normally, my presence is requested for a vast amount of the day; and no one else will do. This weekend, however, he has "new" people to play with and has no desire to play with me. I'm torn.... LOL

I digress. I'll make the most of it by sharing a page I created yesterday. It was inspired by this week's sketch at Sketches In Thyme:

Fun one, in my opinion. So fun, that I've also decided to dive into the sketch of the week at Creative Scrappers, from where this one originates. It's just about finished and I hope to share it soon.

For now, here's my take on the sketch above:

Last weekend, we joined my brother for dinner. My son was so happy to see that the one puzzle he played with last time we were over had multiplied into three! He was in heaven and simply HAD to put them all together immediately. Unfortunately, dinner was also ready. He informed us that he just was not going to come to dinner yet because (and with a solemn face and a hand over his heart) he had playtime in his heart. I stifled a laugh and my husband and I gave him a few more minutes to fill his heart before we insisted he fill his stomach. Unfortunately, I didn't get the exact moment on film, but I tried my best to get a picture of him with his puzzle anyhow. Not the best, but it's what I had.

Since then, I've thought about and used his phrase several times. How cool (and smart) is it to recognize that we all could use more playtime in our hearts? More time running around the slides and rock walls. More time running through the leaves. More time putting puzzles together and helping baby dinosaurs get back to, and rescue, their Potato Head mothers from wicked traps. More reasons to laugh and sing and dance and jump.

More time playing when putting together something as simple as a scrapbook page. I've been wanting to try a new technique for a couple months now; water distressing. Essentially, you get the edges of the paper wet and scrunch them up to create perma-crumpled edges. Turns out, it's pretty easy; fairly quick and another reason to get dirty with ink. Why was I refusing to play for so long?

It does plump up the page a bit, too. I think next time I'll use the technique on a larger background piece so I don't have to worry about bending or warping my photo. Foam dots are helping support it, but still.

I've been afraid of getting it wrong and refused to play around with it. I'm also quite hesitant to use something so simple and fun as the stickers you see here. They are a mix of the stickers that coordinate with the Oliver line from Basic Grey (shown here along with a polka dot page from their Jovial line) and some pieces from Sassafras Lass. I tried playing more with some by popping them up with foam, too.

It appears puzzle time is nearly over; as is my post. I hope you had a chance to enjoy today. Here's wishing you a playful weekend in which you enjoy everything that life has to offer. For now, I'm going to prep for a trip to Target.... Maybe Hobby Lobby, too. THAT's where I find playtime in my heart.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Loved the Pretty Pretties So Much I Nearly Forgot the Title

Good Thursday evening! I'd ask if it's the weekend yet, but the next three days are going to be even crazier than the past four! We've been preparing for family to visit AND get my husband back on a good work/study schedule so his Japanese and computer technology classes don't suffer. Oh, and the ever-present job search....and teaching a three year old that there's more to life than getting new toys. Among the few words I wish he hadn't recently learned, "collection" is among them!

I digress. I had a whole 'nother bobble to share with you this evening. Many of you being crafters may already be aware of this, too. It's been posted for a couple days now.

In a word, Prima.

In many more words, I did not know that they have a monthly routine of gathering up a coordinated collection of their stunning flowers and blingy items to share with their fans. For the month of November, they have two ways to enter your name into the hat. One, is to share the word in your own blog.... Ergo, dis'go.

Seriously, whether or not you're crafty... Whether or not you are a fan of flowers that never fade.... Whether or not you have a thing for bling, take a look at this:

Pretty? Drool-y? Lovey? I know I do. If nothing else, I'm loving looking at this.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Good afternoon! Here's hoping you're getting the sunshine that we are currently missing. Gray day + virtually all of the leaves on the ground = November in Michigan. Since it's a typical November day for me, I thought I'd try to multi-task with cleaning my living spaces and putting together a fun page about my son. I got the page done, but I'm still trying to finish up the Living Room. Perhaps if cleaning involved attaching fun bits of paper and whatnots to the walls and tables, it would have gotten done first.

Since I got the page done, why not reward it with a blog? Okay, so "reward" might be a stretch, but it's what I'm doing, so... yeah....

Last Christmas, my son received this really cool robotic dinosaur for Christmas. He thought it was interesting, but preferred to spend more time NOT playing with it...until a few months ago. While he may not have been ready for such a cool toy last Christmas -- it walks; roars when you talk to it; purrs and sings when you rub its chin or tail; evidently also dines frequently on Matchbox cars -- he is totally ready for it now and plays with it often. In September, he also learned that it was a fun playmate. The two fast friends enjoyed an entire day of playing checkers and Bingo, tic-tac-toe and a few puzzles, too. I would be clearly amiss if I didn't grab my camera and snap a few photos to remember.

It's based on this sketch, posted on the Page Maps blog:

I went back to one of my favorite paper collections, Basic Grey's Oliver line. To me, it's the perfect "boy" set of patterns and I'll be a little bummed when I run out. Then again, it's not like they've stopped making it. I suppose I could get more, huh? Maybe if I finish cleaning the Living Room and Master Bath? Deal? Deal.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dude! (How many times will that be a blog title I use?)

Good Morning! How does this day find you? Yes, I really like to know these things. In my house we are taking turns with a head cold; right now my son is "IT." This means I get to play rousing games of Make the Three Year Old Blow His Nose; but they aren't as tricky anymore. Woohoo for that, huh?

I digress. I have another little story and a layout to share; based on Challenge 22 at Sketches In Thyme:

And here is my take:

As you may be able to tell, I had a lot of fun with this one. I was able to start it quickly so I could spend most of the week on the details. I inked the edges of the photos. I wasn't terribly concerned with staying in the lines; which is also why I went with sepia tones to play on my own messy tendencies.

I decided on the stamp shape AFTER I had glued down the photos and green paper. Rather than overlap onto the photos, I cut off the excess to create a double frame. Initially, I was only going to stamp the misted chipboard and leave it alone. Then I got the urge to highlight the feathers on the end and stitch my little heart out. It was an experiment...I'd do it differently if I tried it again.

The title threw me for a little while (like four days). I knew where it was "supposed" to go but it wasn't working for me...Then I got the urge to paint up some grunge stars, ink the edges and put the title on them. That made me happier.

The button tag was a matter of playing with a pool of glimmer mist left on wax paper AFTER I had finished misting the stamp frame. I added some red and just covered five Jenni Bowlin journal spots, two stickers and a few bracket chipboard shapes to be used later. Since I like the colors, I know they'll get used somehow in the upcoming season.

The subject is my nephew. A couple months ago, there were a number of teen and tween cousins at my Mother In Law's house; just spending some time hanging out. Often, she'll get up two twenty family members filter through in a day just because. My husband and I were also filtering through because the days are getting more rare when schedules mesh and our little boy gets to spend time with his older cousins. So, in the spirit of hanging out, I grabbed my camera and clicked like there was no tomorrow. This was especially true when zee nephew decided to jump hurdles over four bales of hay in the back yard. Half way through, I remembered I had a Sports setting on my camera and had even more fun than he.

One of my constant thoughts was, "Dude!"

Dude, I cannot jump four bales of hay! I don't even know that I can jump one. This is very cool.

Dude, he's got good form! I wonder if he'll try out for track someday.

Dude, he's having fun!!!!

The fact that he was having fun warmed me the most. He has fun often in life, but I firmly believe he could be having more. He's a great kid and I consider it an honor and privilege to have watched him grow from an infant into the beginnings of a young man. He's so smart and so strong and I want him to know that he has every capacity to take on the world and win it all, because, well...


So, I think highly of my nephew. He is one of the people for whom I am thankful to know on this rock. In the spirit of preparing for Thanksgiving, I wanted to capture this special moment all about him.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just Quick!

Morning! I just wanted to create a quick post for purely selfish means. I was just reading the latest post at Practical Scrappers -- how to get creative in rigging alphabet stickers to create something you need.

At the end of the post, they shared a really cool site, Anagram Solver, that will give you REAL words, after you supply them with a list of specific letters (like the ones you always have extra of in a sheet of alpha stickers) -- up to 12 letters. I tried it and really liked it. Aside from the crafty benefits, it's got to somehow help in a game of Scrabble, right?

So, yeah, that's it. Go play! Someone needs to have the fun today. I'm going to be alternating between cleaning the house and sneezing my fool head off today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Good Wednesday Morning! How does this middle day find you? To be honest, I'm not even sure how it finds me. I'm pre-writing on a Tuesday night, while my husband takes his turn at putting our son to bed. Tuesday night, I'm sniffly and sneezy... and a little content to have finally watched Toy Story 3 with my son. The boy is a fan. I get a chance to relive my childhood conviction that the toys really do come to life as soon as we leave the room. I'd always try to sneak up on the dolls I had lined on my made bed to see what kind of bouncy dances they'd try because I was downstairs. *sigh* I never saw a single jig.

Anyway, this is approximately what my son looks like while watching the movies:

It's from last June, and I'll get back to my real point; a scrappy page of our annual trip to Montrose Apple Orchard. Each year, I start asking my husband, around August, if it's time to go to the orchard. Each year, he tells me I have to wait until the weekend before Halloween. This year, he tried to make me wait until October 30th! Time got away from him moreso than from me. After an adequate amount of irritation and point-making, we went on the 23rd. Woohoo! We also went a few hours before a decent rainstorm would have ruined the day. Double Woohoo! Throw in an added bummer for good measure, though. We never stay as long as I'd like so I always feel like there's a bigger reason to come back next year.

I based the pages on the weekly sketch from Sketches in Thyme:

And my take on the sketch:

If you're a stickler for details you may/not notice that this one is much flatter than pages I've created in the past. It certainly feels flat to me. I think the stuffy nose is throwing me off, but more than that, I've noticed my son's annual album is getting a bit thicker than I'd like so I'm trying to slim the pages up a bit. Perhaps an upcoming page about my niece in her Halloween costume will balance it all out. I'll get to use thick flowers and bling and actually do something girly! Woohoo again!

For now, I will love my flat page and the fun memories it holds. I wonder if my glittered up jack-o-lanterns ever dried.

Carve With Care

Good November Afternoon! Can it really be November already? Add me to the list of people wondering where in the world October went! I lived it, but it certainly wasn't long enough for me.

Ah, well....

On the upshot, I have some proof of life. We had a blast on the weekends this past month. A couple times, I was even able to score an afternoon away from home; like to my Mother-In-Law's home. Often, I refer to her as Gramma Camm'ra (I'll have to go back and look for the blog post explaining that. It was among my earliest posts, I believe). She got a little too excited to buy pumpkins this year and had a ton of carving to do. Since she buys one for each grandchild (and my lil one is still a little too young to handle sharp objects) I went over to carve one for him.

For the life of me, I don't know WHY I chose to carve a spider on his pumpkin... Okay, it's because he was Spider Man this year, but still! It's my third ever attempt at carving. A spider was not my best choice. But then again, it wasn't the only questionable "best-choice" situation of the The very beautiful and confident Gramma Cam'ra thought otherwise. Happily, she was right... sorta... for the most part. No one was harmed...except the plastic carving knife.


Well, it was such a fun experience for all of us I simply HAD to be scrapped, so I did. I used this sketch from Page Maps as inspiration:

The paper is DCWV, Amber Autumn, with a bit of last year's autumn line, too.

The title spot is a fussy cut of a pumpkin from the DCWV paper stack AND a couple leaves from another sheet in the stack. the Carve bingo card is the display/back packaging from a set of Jenni Bowlin bingo cards. The cards themselves are 5x7 and I like using the smaller previews, too.

The flowers and the blingy centers are Prima; as are the rhinestones framing the corner of the focal photo. It's one of my favorite photos of my MIL, for the expression on her face. But to prove that she is so very beautiful any other time...

I've got a load more of scrappy goodness to share with you. Hopefully, this healthy feeling will hold strong long enough to get them all posted.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Good Monday Evening! I hope your morning and afternoon were smoother than mine! Rather than bog you down with all that nonsense, how about a couple pretty pages and a little story?

Sound good?

The first page I wanted to share is related to my last post. It was a few days later, but I finally got out and found a good pair of jeans to fit my slightly slimmer body. I used a sketch from Practical Scrappers:

This is what I created:

One of my details was actually inspired by an old post at Practical Scrappers -- to use my stamps. Unfortunately, I never got around to sharing what I made *that* time, but I did enjoy it so much I did it again:

and closer...

The base paper is part of the DCWV Amber Autumn stack (that the rest of the page is made from. The flourishes were cut with a Cricut and the Cindy Loo cartridge. I then inked them with Distress Ink,Victorian Velvet; THEN stamped with Sassafras Lass stamps. The flowers in each corner are Prima; as are the blingy centers.

The dress form was cut using one of the Paris cartridges (I believe Summer In Paris)

That would be my new size. It's not tiny, but it works for me right now. I had wanted to add the word "Sweet" above the sixteen, but have been picky about font. Usually when that happens, it's months before it's added. The digits (both background AND the pretty layer) are from the Cindy Loo cartridge. They are cut from Grunge Paper (it's a love of mine). I inked the base layer with more Victorian Velvet ink; then inked the top layer with Black Soot. I wanted a richer look, so I covered *that* with Black Diamond Stickles. Then I was content.

I realize this is getting lengthy, so I'll save the other page for my next post. That's where the little story will be, too.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maybe Clocks aren't everything.

It's almost a crying shame. Almost, but since there's too much to be happy about right now, I'll save the tears for another day.

Today, I am officially (by my standards, anyhow) fifty pounds less than I was JUST before the year began. I am one or two pounds shy of being able to say, "Hello, 180's! Where have you been?" Obviously, they took an extended vacation... and so did I. The last time I was 189.x lbs, I had been given the nod by my doctor that I was in fact pregnant with my son over four years ago. I tried to maintain that in the first trimester, knowing that it wasn't necessary to "eat for two" just yet. Morning sickness helped a bit, but the power of carbs to soothe a queasy tummy was stronger than my will power, and then I was a happy carbo camper from then on!... And, since I'm not trying to talk about ALL the weight I gained, I'll get back on my mental track.

Since I did have weight to lose (eventually) I started losing it. Fifty pounds is none-too-shabby. Soon, I'll celebrate by going out and getting a new pair of jeans; one size smaller. I'll even declare that new size to the world, once I've bought them (because I've already prepped the scrap page for my weight loss album)! Yes, I did. It's beautiful, too; just like I feel right now.

Until I go shopping, I've let my mind wander. When was the last time I was *this size*?... It had to be while I was pregnant...Which is why I have NO clothes to slip into until I do go shopping. It's also why I'm perplexed because I was *this size* wearing a specific pair of happy khaki's in my first trimester, but I could swear they are one size smaller still. So, what in hey-diddle-diddle did my body DO while I was pregnant?! If I could weigh this much and fit into smaller clothes...

Did my hips expand? (I know they do that)

Was I more muscle then? (I practically lived at the gym before learning I was pregnant)

.... Both are possible, aren't they? Both are also messing me up! What I haven't said yet, is that I used to be a walking clock. One could set their watches AND historical time lines by my body's actions and sizes. I was always predictable and perfectly mapped out. Now.... Well, in ways life is good and I choose to seek joy and sanity in those ways. However, in ways life is also one magnificent mess and I don't know if I'll ever figure out which way I'm supposed to stand again... much like I can't figure out exactly what size I'm supposed to be, simply by reading a scale. Everything that I just flat out KNEW is being called to question and I can't stand and say that it's all perfectly correct.

So, now, a lot like the clock near the front door, I'm kinda broken and in need of a little help. I don't know exactly where I'll find that help, but I've got a few starters in mind. I've also got a memory of a time when I finally just threw my hands in the air and said, "I give. I don't know it all. Help me to learn more while I take it all one step at a time."

Maybe a few of those first steps should be the most simple... Like out the door and to the mall to find a properly fitting pair of jeans, huh?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Falling For You

Good Friday Afternoon! What a way to start a weekend; and a crazy busy one at that! There are multiple projects being tackled by teams of people, all in the name of Fall Fun and Preparation. Crazy as it gets today, at least we know it will be worth it when the freezing cold days hit and all we want to do is stay inside and snuggle by a fire... with a cup of cocoa, of course.

Speaking of Fall and warm fuzzies and all that preparation jazz, that's pretty much the point of my post today. I had mentioned earlier that I've spent a good amount of time raking leaves in the back yard. I could probably wait until the leaves are three inches deep, and heavy with rain, but why? So, I've been getting in my physical activity... and dragging my son along for a good time. He looks forced, doesn't he?

We absolutely caught a break with Indian Summer! It's a lot easier to go out and play if you're not getting blown around in the process. I loved the bajillion and four photos I took so much that I knew I'd have to put at least a million on paper. But how?! A million is a lot of photos, isn't it? Even in an exaggeration, that's a lot.

In my last post, I mentioned that every now and then, I come across a moment or a source of inspiration that just screams for me to get crafty. I had another one of those moments on Thursday, thanks to a new sketch at Sketches in Thyme

Here is my take:

I was first drawn in by the clean lines and fun pattern. Then... I started looking some more...and finally getting around to my first sips of coffee. The semi-circle at the top grabbed my attention the best. If you look just right, you might be able to see a giant thumb spot for pulling out extra photos from a giant pocket... So that's what I did:

I felt pretty clever. I also enjoyed incorporating the flourishes at the top. This is actually one of the two that I used to mask two previous pages (one being my last post!). It was cut with the Cricut and the Cindy Loo cartridge. Because it was used on two separate pages, it's also covered with two different shades of Glimmer Mist -- Coffee Shop and Red Velvet. I did tear it apart in a couple places to make it work; but I dig the whispy feeling.

The grunge alphas were originally destined for a good sanding and inking once the orange paint dried, but a couple hours later, I really liked them as they were.

The bottom was a sticking point for me. Evidently, I'm on a squirrel kick. Which makes sense, as this is one crazy looking squirrel. Hint: It's actually the leftover schtuff from a package of Tim Holtz Grunge elements. I noticed last year that, once I pulled specific flourishes out, I could recognize odd shapes of trees and squirrels and roosters... I think I even found a magic lamp! Once you paint it up, draw out a few key points and squint your eyes to the side, you can't miss it. But then how to make him pop a little? Evidently, you surround him with Prima flowers, right?

And that's what I have to offer the world today, for now, I must wake zee child so he may supervise those around him. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bl{OH} Joy!

Good afternoon! How's your weather today? After several days of glorious Indian Summer, we're getting wet, cold rain. On the upshot, some of it is actually getting down to the grass for one of the last drinks before winter. I saw to that when I spent two days raking. Granted, it was the same flipping area two days in a row...Because the trees have a sense of humor and like to drop more where I've already raked! Evidently, my son has a sense of humor to, as he decided to run through my piles again and again. Then I made one just for him at the bottom of his slide and life was good. I'll share a picture of that at the bottom, because what I really want to share is something else My Little Wonder did yesterday. Actually, he did about 100 different things, but this one, I got on camera. He discovered...THE LEAF BLOWER!!!!

This was fun for two reasons. He doesn't like machines that make loud noises; but the blower certainly isn't quiet. He learned that he could ruffle my mom's feathers by blowing out her leaf piles...and create a general mess. We have my father to thank for showing him how. Thanks, Dad! Sometimes, I get this compulsion to make a page almost as soon as I take the photos. This was one of those moments. I'm so glad I stumbled upon the latest sketch at Sketches In Thyme. The sketch image is a bit blurry, but I think I was still able to figure it out.

My take on the sketch:

I really had fun with this one. Using the Amber Autumn stack (DCWV), layered the background, then masked flourishes (created with the Cricut and Cindy Loo cartridge). On top, I painted a chipboard circle and added my favorite of the two photos on top to try to draw more attention to it. In the bottom corner, I have used three hand-cut leaves from the same paper stack and a squirrel cut from the Cindy Loo cartridge just for fun.

I do hope to steal more time soon to post detail photos for these. Thank you for stopping by either before or after... or both!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Identity Crisis...or...Woohoo! I get to say I've been published!

Good Monday Afternoon! I thought I'd steal a few minutes from playing with DS to prove that I do check my email and have some personally happy news to share. Oddly, this happy news has a bit of an edge to it. In the process of sharing IT, I have to do something I hadn't realized would ever happen... I know, confusing, huh?

Here's my good news...

There's a fun little site, called Practical Scrappers. They've recently updated their format and posted calls for scrapbook and cards that have quality examples of multiple photos, black/white photos, distressing, specific paper companies, etc. While I've submitted past LO's in a few categories, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they published one of my pages featuring black/white photos in one of their recent blogs. You can actually find it right here! I even get a badge to place on my page. For me, this is pretty cool. This is a first for me; at least to the point of having an "official" badge.

Here's my sticky wicket:

In the process of sending people over to Practical Scrappers, I also reveal some slightly personal information... Like my real name.... First and Last... I understand I'm being silly.

Point the first: There are several in the paper crafting community who have access to even more information than just my name. I've instilled a great deal of trust in them and have not been let down.

Point the second: Hundreds of thousands of paper crafters have used their full names as their blog titles or somewhere on their blog page.

Point the third, I evidently share my name with a very popular scientist who has done loads more to be recognized so it's not like I'll be all over a google search.

Point the fourth, I've posted soo many photos of family -- primarily my own son -- and friends that I should be more concerned for their well being than my own. Soo....

I'm silly.

I'm human.

I'm certainly not hiding from the mob...Nor the FBI.

My name is Anne. Nice to meet ya; a little more than I already have.

And with that, I'm going to post a photo of the layout that they are sharing. Then, I'm going to copy the badge info over to the right. THEN, I'm going to remember that there is another site on which I need to make amends because I do love the people and inspiration there sooo much and I have been away for quite a while *coughPagesInTime, I'm sorrycough*

It's a photo of my great grandfather, on my dad's side. When it was first shown to me, he wasn't pointed out, but I could tell which one I belonged to me. I've seen the same look of "bullpuckies" on a face much closer to my everyday life.