Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Survey

This came from Allison... I'll answer here since it is so fitting to the season.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrap. But it certainly isn't any wrapping paper you've ever seen before!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Right now? Colored. I thought I was a white light girl... but I'm liking the colored lights. Don't tell my husband.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Mistletoe is not native to Ohio, so no.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
December 2 this year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Can fudge count as a dish?

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Hmm... there's a lot to love. Our family friend dressing up as Santa and coming by on Christmas eve... getting up before everyone else to check out the goods... opening one present on Christmas eve... etc.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
It sort of evolved. I still hate to think there's not a Santa.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With collected ornaments and lights. Next year I'm toying with an idea for some garland. And I REALLY need to get around to sewing the tree skirt I have in mind!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love the snow. Everyone get where you're going and then bring it on!

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but I can't stop.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Hmm, hard to say. I had a favorite doll growing up and I'm pretty sure she was a Christmas gift.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Being healthy and with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Let's go ahead and use fudge again!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Putting up the tree.

17. What tops your tree?
A gold star with lights.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving... I wish I hadn't slept through November so I could have made more gifts this year.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Silent Night

20. Candy Canes?
They're awfully pretty and they taste ok, too.

21. What do you want for Christmas?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

do you hear what I hear?

So what are you listening to this Christmas? I have TONS of Christmas music. I LOVE it. I loaded it all back onto my iPod and have been jamming away since the first of December.

The first one I've listed is my favorite from when I was a kid. My mom had the record. Yes, a RECORD was my only source for this album until several years back when I found I couldn't live without it and got it on cd.

I'm also a big fan of the Nutcracker Suite. It's probably the only classical music I can actually hum along to. I won't be asking my husband to accompany me to the ballet any time soon, though. He went with me the first year we were dating and aside from it not being a great performance, he just didn't like anything about it. Oh well... I'll take Nana and our little munchkin in the future. We'll have a blast. I remember it being magical when I was like 10. And of course, the Ohio Theatre was nothing less than an amazing work of art... I couldn't believe they would even let people like us sit in their seats!

So here is a short list of what's playing on my iPod this Christmas:

What are you listening to? Anything new I need to know about?? :-)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Last night I got home from work and plugged in the Christmas tree.


Then I lit every candle and oil lamp in the living room. Next it was off to the kitchen to start dinner before John got home. Hamburger Helper taco something-or-other. (Hey, he bought it, not me.) So I made dinner and we ate. John cleaned up the kitchen and started the dishwasher.

We needed to work on a photo project for Christmas, so we sat down at the table in the dining room where I had the laptop and scanner set up. So we were plugging away scanning photos... when what to my super sniffer did I smell?? (Mind you, in pregnancy, I can smell everything.)

FIRE!!!! "John, something's on fire. Check the candles." He looks in the living room.... nothing. Gives me the look like I'm crazy and paranoid. I keep sniffing. "No, something is definitely on fire. I smell burning." I sniff the dishwasher. It's suspect. The dry cycle is on. I open the door and smoke billows out. Aaaah... the smoke alarm is wired to notify the fire department.... open all the windows and turn up the fan!

Turns out the bamboo spatula had fallen from the top rack and was laying on the heating element. Kids, don't try this at home... it's very dangerous.

But what are the chances that this would happen when we are sitting RIGHT next to the dishwasher? On a normal day we would start the dishwasher and he'd go upstairs to play video games and I'd go downstairs to scrap. The dishwasher seals pretty tight, so we might not have figured it out for a while.

Oh, and the spatula happens to be one of my favorite kitchen items. It's for the wok. It was a set of two - for left and right hands. How would you like to tell the left hand bamboo spatula his brother died in a firey accident in the dishwasher? It wasn't pretty, I tell you.

And about that super sniffer.... I got out of my car at the fitness center at work last week. It was the day that it snowed. I was getting my stuff out of the back seat of my car and thought, "I smell a chai latte from Starbucks." I start heading into the building and there he is across the parking lot with his holiday Starbucks cup. He's lucky chai has caffeine or I might have tackled him for it, it smelled so good.

Have a good weekend. And whatever you do... don't run your dishwasher unattended.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

magical day!

Ok, maybe not unicorns and fairies magical... but a really good day anyway. I was excited for today more than Christmas. I know it's useless to worry... but when your symptoms are few, it's nice to have a peak in the womb to know that everything is ok.

This may not be the best picture to see JT (or his sister). But I like that you can see his whole silhouette. We're going to find out if it's a boy or a girl, but that won't be obvious until maybe February. In the meantime, I'm referring to "it" as "he". It makes my husband happy when I do that... so I go with it. We'll adjust later if he is really a she.

He was moving around like crazy this morning! John said he looked like the running man... Flailing his legs and arm buds (aka flippers). There are two arms and two legs. And I swear I could make out some toes! He's looking just perfect so far.

His little heart isn't much bigger than a poppy seed and it was beating away at 158 beats per minute. (For reference, my normal pulse is 60ish and my pregnancy pulse is around 70.) We got a printout of the heart rate and we got to hear it.

We are a happy mommy and daddy today. :-)

Monday, November 27, 2006

planting a seed

On Sunday Pastor Matt talked about being deeply thankful. He also talked a bit about what the pilgrims went through to start a new life in America. Later that day I watched a special on the History channel about their journey. Can you imagine what those people would think of what our country is today? They were a group of 100 or so people with a dream of living a better life. And they made it happen. And now there is a better life for MILLIONS of people. Now that is a seed for which we should be very thankful.

We had some warm weather here over the weekend. So I was out in the yard planting one last round of bulbs - the irises this time. We also put some topsoil and mulch over the other bulbs to help them out. Those are some seeds that should produce a lot of joy come spring. And I will be very thankful that I spent the time planting them and patiently awaited their fruit.

We planted another kind of seed recently, too...

We're having a baby!

We are really excited about it. We have known for years that we wanted to have kids... just had to wait until we really got our life together established. But talk about planting a seed and then having patience. There is plenty to do, but 9 months sure seems like a long time! And thankful... we are soo, sooo thankful for this. We just stared at each other in odd disbelief when we saw that blue line. WHY are we so lucky?!

So here's to planting seeds, having patience, and being thankful in the journey as well as the result. :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

creative turkey leftovers... you know you're gonna need this

I'm not much of a cook, but last time I had some leftover turkey and was hungry for nachos, I improvised. So here is a recipe that is quick and easy and won't make you dread finishing those turkey leftovers!

Turkey Nachos

  • Leftover Turkey, torn into small strips
  • Taco seasoning packet
  • Nacho chips
  • Mexican cheese
  • salsa
  • can of pinto or black beans
  • black olives
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce, shredded
  • guacamole

In a skillet, heat the turkey pieces with a little bit of oil. It's been cooked, so you'll just warm it up. Follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet. In about 10 minutes, your turkey is spiced up and ready to go!

In a separate pan, warm a can of pinto or black beans. Very low heat, just want them warm. (Or you could microwave, but you risk blowing those bad boys to smithereens.)

Spread nacho chips on a plate. Cover with cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds, or just long enough to melt the cheese. Remove from microwave and add your turkey, beans, and salsa. If you are really feeling festive, add black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and guacamole (or if you are a cheater like me, just some avocado will do!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

catching up

The blog posts aren't quite flowing as freely as they were. So here's one to catch us up.

My latest article on Crafty Places is called "Scrap a Feeling." I had the idea for it back in May when I took the photos at Mammaw's house. I completed the 4 pages at the weekend crop in October. I love when I have ideas that come together. Since this layout was pretty well thought out, it was very easy to execute. Next time though, I will have my writing done in advance. I spent about 30 minutes pre-writing my thoughts.

I submitted another article last week, so I'll let you know when it is posted as well. It's the most recent layout I did. It's fairly simple, but I love how it turned out.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Are you hosting or travelling? John and I are hosting both of our families here again this year. I'm looking forward to it. I unearthed a couple fall table cloths I bought last year on clearance. I'm pretty psyched for it. Even though the house is a disaster... yesterday I was viciously attacked by a dust bunny in the hallway. I dust-busted his ass pretty quickly, but I heard the menacing threats of his buddies who are still in hiding. Don't worry... I'll get them.

Are you going shopping on Friday after Thanksgiving? I never used to be into it. But now that we are home for Thanksgiving and I live so close to the shopping, what the heck, I'm in. Last year I went to Target at like 5:30am. It is an experience, that's for sure. I have a little experiment that entertains me for hours in there. I go and stand in front of the most random thing. Act like you are pondering and pondering. Fill your arms as though you are trying to decide. Pretty soon... the people will swarm the aisle like, "Oooh, what's she finding?!" Really, try it with the lamest thing... like batteries or envelopes. Or head to an aisle in a remote corner of the store. And when you've attracted a crowd, move on to another random item.

Hehe. I'll let you know how it all goes. With any luck, by the end of the week I will have a turkey dinner and some early morning shopping behind me. And maybe on Friday I will get some work done on the Christmas gifts I have been hoping to MAKE.

Have a lovely week.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

yo ho ho and a bottle of . . . Ron?!

Tonight was 50 cent movie night. The girls met us at Grinders for dinner and then we bought our cheap tickets for Pirates of the Caribbean 2. We got there a little late, but were lucky enough to find 5 seats together mid-center of the theater. Mind you, the 5 of us are slightly noisy, so the couple we snuggled up next to decided to put a seat in between us.

So halfway through the movie, some dude taps on AP's shoulder and says "Excuse me." What the heck?! All these single empty seats in the theater and you want THAT one?! As he makes his way across my 3 girlfriends and my husband, I realize it's Trucker Ron.

Amy had heard from him at Grinders saying he was 40 minutes outside the city. So he must have found us.

After the movie... our friend Ron took off. We looked all over the plaza for him and/or his truck but found no sight of him. So if you see our friend Ron out on the highway, tell him we said "see ya next time!"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

camping w/McDreamy

Alright... who wants to go camping with McDreamy in Washington state?!!

My latest article is posted on Crafty Places. The article is about finding inspiration. It's mainly geared toward scrapbookers, but a lot of it could apply to any art, craft, or hobby.

Gotta go... still watching Grey's Anatomy. The people drama is nice, but I'm sure jealous of those guys at the stream... it looks so peaceful... aaahhh.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

rekindled an old flame

I rekindled an old flame today. Tazo Refresh Tea. It's not really tea, but an herbal beverage made of peppermint, spearmint, and tarragon. It actually has a lot of body and flavor and doesn't taste like a tube of toothpaste, like you might suspect from the ingredients list. And I think the best thing about it is that it's delightful without sugar or any sweetener. Even the last cold sip is lovely.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

good things

This weekend was chock-full of good things. I mean, it's not Florida... but it was a pretty good fall weekend in Ohio. Here's the list of good things:

  • Noticed that my Christmas cactus has a TON of buds on it. I'm pretty excited. Last year it had a couple flowers. Apparently even that is a good thing because sometimes they will look healthy and not produce any flowers. But we should have a good showing from this guy pretty soon.
  • Pizza bagels and salad. I've never made pizza bagels, but I am apparently very good at them. Whole grain bagels topped with pizza sauce, pepperoni, black olives, baby bella mushrooms, and mozzerella. We may not get pizza delivered for some time!
  • The Departed. I treated John to a first-run movie date for his birthday. It's an excellent film. Marky Mark has some BAD potty mouth though. If you do see it in the theater, get there early enough that you aren't so close to the speakers though... it is LOUD when they are shooting or yelling... which is often in this film.
  • French toast. Whole wheat bread... can't be all bad, right?
  • A long walk with my iPod around my neighborhood.
  • European Papers... this week's artist date.
  • Raking leaves. Ok... not a great aspect of the weekend. But we spent some time out in the sun getting exercise and the end result is that our yard once again looks very nice.
  • A little TJ Maxx fix and Starbucks hot chocolate.
  • Watched Amélie while I did some mending and catching up on reading.
  • Some marketers somewhere think I am made of money. (At least they know what I like though...) We now get catalogs from Wisteria and Sundance. Seriously... if you ever want to get me a gift, just pick a page from either of these! ;-)
  • Great message at church today.
  • Another long walk with my iPod around the neighborhood.
  • Made a great dinner - turkey breast, broccoli, and redskin potatoes. Good cool weather eats. And leftovers for the week ahead.
  • Got a lot of laundry done. Oh crap... it's all over our bed. I'd better go put it away if I'm going to sleep tonight!


Saturday, November 04, 2006

the Artist's Way

Whew. It ended up being a rough week when I went back to work. Between the weather, time change, and working my butt off during the day, I think I went to bed by 10pm every night this week.

While we were in Florida, I started reading The Artist's Way based on a recommendation on Melody Ross' blog. It seemed like the next right step in my artist process. I liked the "You Think You Know Me" class... still working on my book. It had a similar introspective approach. But this book takes it much deeper. Makes you think hard about all the negative and positive things that make you who you are.

The author, Julia Cameron, insists that you have to do "morning pages" and a weekly "artist date" to unblock your creative self. Morning pages are 3 pages of journaling every morning, first thing in the morning. The artist date is 2 hours every week that you spend doing something by yourself that feeds your artist soul. At first read... it seemed like a hefty commitment. :-)

But since I was reading on vacation, I figured I could start doing the pages while I had plenty of time and see if I ended up liking them. I wasn't so good at getting them done first thing in the morning on vacation, but I did them every day. So when I got home, I resolved to get up early every day and write my 3 pages. For the past week, I did just that. Talk about painful! That's another reason I've been tired and going to bed early. I have to get up 45 minutes before we go to the gym to get the pages done.

But I've found that I actually look forward to writing the morning pages. It's quiet and the sun starts coming up as I'm writing. It's a peaceful and calming way to start the day. I love it. And the words come fairly easily, too. I'm certainly not a great writer by any means, but I can use it as a chance to brain dump whatever's rolling around in my head. Which is exactly the point of writing in the morning, get the crud out of your head so you are unblocked for your day.

I have taken myself on 2 artist dates so far. The first day was in Florida when I went shopping around downtown Dunedin. It was like shopping with purpose. Looking at the things I liked in the sense of "could I make that?" Rather than, "oooh, I'd like to buy that".

Today for my artist date, I visited a local shop that I recently discovered on the internet. It's called European Papers. How perfect for a scrapbook artist! They have a gallery on the first floor and a store/workshop upstairs. They are currently exhibiting a travelling display of artist trading cards. There are 700 cards from all over the world. 700 fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand pieces of art. Some of them had so much detail and others were a simple drawing and a few words that packed a big impact. Some were about beating cancer, others were comic. It was a fabulous display and the gallery is so quaint.... I highly recommend it. This display runs through December 9, 2006. And I learned today the next exhibit in the gallery will be handbound books.

So that's what's new with me... spending a lot of time unwinding and thinking about art, not really creating so much (although, tonight... it's on like donkey kong... as my husband says). Happy times.

Monday, October 30, 2006

fun times in Florida...

The hubby and I have just returned from a few days in Florida. Dunedin, Florida... near Tampa, Clearwater. We had a fabulous time. I *almost* have a tan! We did some relaxing and hanging out with friends. It was so refreshing. I have no idea why we don't do that more often. It's a short, easy flight and the weather is grand. Mid-70s to low 80s every day. It rained only one evening when we were there.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Dunedin. Call us crazy, but we love Holiday Inn. Continental breakfast every day and a USA Today at our door. We don't read the paper at home, but somehow this became a quick ritual. OH and internet access so we didn't have to go through withdrawal.

We loved Dunedin. It is a quaint little town. Small town feel with a great art scene. Our hotel was on the Pinellas trail, about .5 mile from downtown. We could walk out the backdoor of the hotel and take a short walk for dinner or lunch. We dined at Bon Appetit & Marina Café, Café Alfresco, Cappuccino’s Bakery Café, and Casa Tina. All are wonderful and recommended. They each have a great menu with fresh fare, including seafood. And the atmosphere is wonderful. Bon Appetit is at the marina. We dined after dark overlooking the harbor. Casa Tina feels like you stepped right into Latin America. And Cafe Alfresco has delightful indoor/outdoor seating.

The whole town was decorated for Halloween. Different merchants and organizations had each decorated a lamp post. There wasn't a single one that didn't look like someone had really put some thought and creativity into. I was loving them! I also visited a stationery store called Paper Players on my shopping day. I splurged in this place and bought "us" something that totally isn't "Florida"... but I left the store, thought about it, decided I couldn't live without it and went back and ordered. It's a self-inking stamper customized with a B and our address. How freakin' cool is this? I can't wait to stamp all kinds of stuff. :-) Oh... and I said it's for "us" because you know John is going to want to use it, too!

We spent one day beachin' it. We visited Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. We parked at Honeymoon Island and took the ferry to Caladesi. On the way in, we saw a lady kayaking. *LIGHT BULB!* I don't know how I convinced him, but John agreed to kayak around the mangroves with me. It was awesome. Sure, it was low tide and we got stuck in the muck a bit... but it was definitely the way to see the island away from all the tourists. I am definitely getting better at kayaking and I find that I love being on the water as much as I expected to. The water on the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for floating around...

So besides maxin' and relaxin' and eatin' and shoppin'... the whole point of the trip was to attend our friends' wedding. John's Navy buddy Dan got married to John's friend Joe's sister. They met at our wedding 17 months ago. They got married at Clearwater Beach at sunset. It was really beautiful. And SO perfect for them. They're both tan and gorgeous and love the outdoors. We had a great time at the wedding and hanging out with them and their families the days leading up to the wedding.

Check out all the photos from the trip here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

10 things I enjoyed as a child

Well this is a totally random post. A few weeks ago I got one of the weekly emails from Ro @ Scrap Girls. She is doing a series called Bachelor's Degree in Me. She has been providing journal prompts for ... let's call it "finding yourself". One of the first prompts caught my attention: "10 things I enjoyed as a child".

I also sent the prompt to my mom. Now, mind you, the woman is NOT into scrapping. I thought she would be tempted even by digital scrapbooking, but no. So when I sent her the prompt, I pretty much expected her to say, "yeah, I'll get right on that." But she sent me back a 3 page Word document with links to definitions and pictures of things and fully detailed descriptions of stuff she liked to do. It is adorable... one of my most favorite "scrapbook pages" to date. It really has me fired up to "trick" the rest of my family into giving me tidbits about themselves.

Do you know what my brother told her after he read it? He said, "Wow, Mom, I guess I don't know you very well at all." Awwww.

But to be fair, I also journaled this prompt. Here are mine... (I got a little carried away and went past 10!)

1. Playing with dolls. Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, etc. I wasn't huge into Barbie. And usually when I played Barbies, Strawberry Shortcake was her younger sister or kid. The husband/boyfriend was always either the bearded Star Wars guy or my dad's old GI Joes. Yeah, let's just say, Barbie was disappointed. Heck, she probably didn't like her house either... it didn't have walls and the furniture was usually scraps of wood from my dad's workshop.

2. Drawing, coloring, cutting paper. I have always loved, loved paper!

3. Playing with cars in the "dirt pile". We were too redneck for a sandbox. We had a "dirt pile" that was way more fun though. Just a random spot of ground my dad turned over with a shovel. We got our shovels, dump trucks, bulldozers and went to town reshaping that bit of earth into roads and stuff. My brother ended up a civil engineer, go figure.

4. Swinging. We had a kick-ass swing set my dad built for us. It had a couple swings and lots to climb on. It didn't have a slide, but I don't think we missed it. There was a bar for hanging by your knees and doing all sorts of dangerous tricks. One of the swings was the jumpy-horse converted from the spring base to a swing. It was also mildly dangerous... because if you went too high, it would flip in midair and dump you off. You have to be careful with those jumpy horses, they're tempermental!

5. Make-believe games. These were usually tactical in nature. My brother and I had a lot of ground for "military maneuvers". Although, it might have had something to do with having the perfect outfit and accessories for the game. Toy guns were always on hand. We also had my dad's old scout hats that really looked like army hats to us... so we were soldiers.

6. Roller skating. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED skating! In the driveway, in the basement, at the skating rink. At one point I had a purple sweatshirt that had a matching skirt of similar material and purple tights. It totally matched my purple & yellow skates... so of course I had to wear them together!

7. Riding bikes. We had an asphalt driveway (on a hill) and a large parking lot that was ALL OURS on the week nights and weekends. You had to be pretty brave to take on the hill... but we were used to it. We started taming that hill with the CHIPs big wheel. Probably not too many toddlers ride their big wheel until they blow out the tires.

8. Blowing bubbles after dark. Did you know, when the dew sets in, the bubbles will stick to the grass? It's magical.

9. Swimming. I could probably write pages and pages about swimming. We mastered the kiddie pool. It was a fixture at our house every summer. Set up on the asphalt near a shady tree, so it'd stay clean and cool for a few days. We also went to a local lake a few times a week. There was a slide and diving boards at the beach and an adjacent water slide that rocked! This was back before huge water parks were all over the place, too.

10. Reading books & listening to records in the basement... our "library".

11. Building stuff with Legos. We went WAY beyond what the directions instructed.

12. Rolling down the hill. We had a lot of grassy hills where we lived. You need a good bath afterwards... but totally worth it!

13. Tubing. Again... the hills. Great for tubing. Sleds, not so much. If only we had enough snow. We would also build ice forts and sculptures out of the snow drifts.

14. Exploring the woods. Always somewhere to hike... always something growing somewhere to check out. We spent hours and hours in the woods. Loved it.

15. Exploring the pond. We lived by a fish hatchery. The pond adjacent to our house was periodically emptied which definitely enhanced its allure. We hunted crawdads, tadpoles, frogs, snakes, fish... anything that moved really. And when it was drained... we loved the MUD!

So there you have it... Stacy's childhood in a nutshell. :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

excited & creative

Tonight I tackled excited and creative. They seemed to flow a little more easily than some of the others that remain. I also realized that I kind of skipped sad... mainly because I am still trying to decide what to do for them.

I journaled on the back of the relaxed page. The embossed stamp area has "inhale. exhale. repeat." Seemed like a good way to summarize relaxation to me.

The creative page is actually a little plain. I did turn the journaling sideways on the back to change it up a bit. And I stamped the date of the journaling... I don't think there were any dates in the book yet.

For excited, this photo of me a Christmas is what comes to my mind when I think of excited. You know, I am not very good at hiding my disappointment when I don't like a gift. I should work on that... but now, excitement... you'll know for sure when I do like something.

That is plenty for today. I'm off to bed...

trick or treat!

Look who I found amongst the jack-o-lanterns at the zoo on Friday! Noooo... not an escapee from the primate exhibit... It's my husband! He was there volunteering w/his company to hand out candy. Some of his co-workers designed these phenomenal pumpkins. I thought they were all just fabulous. But the mummy absolutely takes the cake for me. Such creative people out there. We haven't even bought a pumpkin for home yet. :-(

Thursday, October 19, 2006

scared... and relaxed

Baby steps here. And I have no idea what order I am doing this book. I just do whatever seems easy and fun at the time. Tonight I did some journaling on the back of the "scared" page. I also did the photo part of my "relaxed" page. That's me along a creek taking photos... totally chilled out and loving life.

I have also been taking some time every evening to make notes in my workbook. It's getting some meat to it now.


They're real and they're FABULOUS

So I mentioned that my boss brought me flowers... (I work in the twilight zone, things like this happen there.)

Here is what they look like... Dahlias from her garden. Dahlias that aren't hardy in our zone and have to dug up and stored in cedar chips through the winter. Now that is love.

Don't you love the harsh contrast of this beautiful arrangement against the ugly monotony of my office?!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Tonight I had a bit of time to devote to the "You Think You Know Me" project. The beauty of this small book is that a little will go a long way. Very nice to not have to devote an entire evening or more to a layout!

My "Happy" page is here. I may do a few more happy pages though. But for starters, I did the page about my husband and me. We have something pretty special and it makes me all kinds of happy.

I am wrapping my brain around "Sad". I added a few quotes about sorrow that struck a cord with me. That is all for tonight though... maybe I'll tackle sad tomorrow.

It might be skipping ahead, but I loved this picture of me being "eaten" by the alligator, so I did the "Scared" page. And really, I'm not genuinely scared in the photo... but that would be a pretty horrific scenario if it was real. (Luckily, I guess, not many scared-looking pics of me in my collection.)

Since the book is bound with a binder ring, I can pretty much add whatever I want to the book in any shape or size. So, as I was rummaging through some memorabilia tonight, I came across these quotes that I saved from past issues of O, the Oprah magazine. I knew I had saved all these quotes for a reason!

How about that 75? It's from a valet hang-tag I scavenged from my brother's car! And can you see through to the other side of the Pomegranate Starbucks card? It's a joker! haha!! (Ok, maybe that doesn't mean anything, but I think one side is pretty and the joker is hilarious.)

And here is a tidbit from my day... my boss brought me flowers from her garden. I have no idea how she still has Dahlias surviving the chill, but she does and they are SPECTACULAR. I put my camera in my to-go bag for tomorrow. I gave them fresh water at the end of the day today, so I hope they are still in good shape for a photo.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

you think you know me...

Alrighty! I started my assignments for the class "You think you know me". Here is a pic of what I have so far.

Front cover, back cover, a few details inside, and a binder ring. Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to work on some of the inside pages. For now... tata!

sleepy... re-engergized

Weekend of scrapping... drank a lot of coffee, stayed up late. Had tons of fun.

Last night: paid for it.

After dinner, I told John to wake me up in 20 mins. He did. I kept sleeping... and sleeping. Got nothing done.

I did get a start on the cover for the book I'm doing for Shimelle's class though. Paint had to dry, so I will finish it tonight when I am back in my crafting game.

And here is a tidbit that re-emphasizes the need to get up and go to HEAT (High Energy Athletic Training) class every Tuesday and Thursday:

Aerobic exercise beats gentler 10,000 steps in health study -

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


You want the bad news first? Remember those bulbs I spent so much time planting this week? The bulbs I was so excited about? The bulbs I ordered last spring for mucho dinero? The bulbs I have awaited all summer? The bulbs for which I risked giant mosquito bites on my a$$?!

Well, the rodent that lives under our front porch decided to check out what I've been up to. When I went from the garage to the front porch to retrieve a package, the scene in the photo at right is what greeted me. That punk rodent, whatever it is (skunk, possum, raccoon), dug up 2 of my hyacinth bulbs! The only good news here is that it looks like he nibbled at them a bit but didn't like them. That was was goal of the chemical I treated all the bulbs with. My friend Jenny has recommended hot pepper wax on the ground where I've planted... but I can't find any!

So when I saw this, I text messaged my husband, "Rodent under the porch must die! I am going to home depot." I got some rodent repellent that has some kind of wax to it... but it's not a spray. We'll see if this works. I also got some smoke bombs. I figured at the very least, the smoke bombs would be entertaining. John read the packaging, "do not use under or around buildings". I said, "I don't care... bomb him." Um, yeah... all those symptoms they say you'll experience if you set that thing off under your house... they aren't kidding. We were watching a movie and I stood up and felt a little woozy. John said his throat was feeling weird and his eyes were burning. LOL. We are SO SMART. (We had the windows open and it has cleared out now. I'm sure we'll be fine.) You know what the genius part of this is?? The darn rodent wasn't even in there!!

So you know what the good news is today? The package on my front porch was this month's Scrapologie kit, Signet and Scribe. It's pretty darn cool. I can't wait to start scrappin' with it. (Just as soon as the stink bomb scent clears from the basement.)

And the movie we watched tonight? Scrapped. Yes, John even watched it! I ordered my own copy of it... it arrived in the mail today. You have to at least check out the promos. They are HILARIOUS. I expected the whole movie to be as much comedy as the promos, but it really wasn't. It's a docu-drama by a guy who knows nothing about scrapbooking. Which is a brilliant way to introduce it. He interviews all kinds of scrappers and starts his own scrapbook. The movie is actually really touching. And it applies to anyone who has a LIFE... not just scrappers!

It has been an eventful evening... I'm pooped. Just need to work on a scrap project for a bit and then I am off to bed. N-night.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

thinking about scrapping...

My creativity is not in top shape this week. I did a bit of scrapping over the weekend, but mainly small layouts just for myself. Last week I finished a project for my mom. The article about the project is posted on Crafty Places.

Since my creativity is blah and the weather is so nice... I have directed my attention to planting some spring bulbs. Last spring I was so enamored with the Breck's catalog that I caved and placed a fairly large order. Now mind you, I have a lot of landscaped beds around the house... but they are FULL of plants. I really didn't NEED any more spring bulbs... I just WANTED them.

We are pretty lucky in our landscaping. Most of the plants are self-sufficient perennials. And everything is color coordinated. Mostly we have white and purple... with a little bit of pink mixed in. There is always something in bloom. It's fantastic... exactly what I would have wanted (and I would have had no idea where to start on my own). So now in addition to the daffodils that we already have, I have planted the following
  • Really foofy frilly tulips - "Super Bowl" and "Blue Heron"
  • English Iris mix
  • Purple and white giant hyacinths - "Blue Jacket" and "Carnegie"
  • A mix of grape hyacinths and white tulips - the "winter blues collection" (YUM)
  • Lavender Mountain Lilies
  • Mountain Bells mix
So that will certainly help to get me through the winter. I absolutely love spring... the earth wakes up from hybernating and comes ALIVE. Don't get me wrong... summer is my absolute favorite season. But spring is the host of the show who introduces the main act. And if we need a few cold days so the bulbs know when to bloom, then I guess I will get through it. (Really, winter is just a good excuse to stay inside and scrapbook to me!)

So I guess that brings this post full circle. I am regenerating my creativity like that winter freeze... I signed up for an online class to explore my creativity. If you want to check it out... it's called You Think You Know Me and it's hosted by Shimelle. $15 for a scrapbooking class is actually a great price, I think. But I'll keep you posted on how the process goes... and if it gives me some good inspiration.

I also wrote down some journal prompts from the Scrap Girls newsletter today. Here is one I have done for myself already: List 10 things you enjoyed as a child. The prompt continues to ask "Why did you give them up?" I haven't thought through that much yet. But maybe I will post my answers in a future post and let you know why I don't play with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls any more!

How about you? What did you enjoy as a kid? Fun Tests - Nerd Quiz Fun Tests - Nerd Quiz

I am nerdier than 45% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

weekend wrap-up

something is going on here...
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Friday: made kick-ass stir fry and a key lime pie

Saturday: returned some library books, browsed a church yard sale and got a cafe mocha at that starbucky place. Nothing at the church sale - NOTHING.

Did some yard work and cleaned my car a bit.

Got all dolled up and went to Becka & Jari's wedding. Had a TON of fun!
Took loads of pictures. A representative sample is here.

Sunday: Went to church, then Bob Evans w/the girls, planted some bulbs for spring. Painted my toenails. Lounged around an uploaded some photos.

How is that for deep thoughts?! What a beautiful weekend... I miss it already. Have a great week everyone!

love & prayers

I got this as a forwarded email... since I'm not much for forwarding... here it is. Good solid advice/inspiration to share...
St. Theresa's Prayer:

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you a re exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.. May you be content knowing you are a child of God.... Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
... and a photo of the lovely Mr. & Mrs Jari. :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

dark & twisty

doppler 4
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
New meaning for dark & twisty... it's storming like crazy here. As I type this, a storm is coming our way. It was mid-80s here today - gorgeous day. I drove with the windows down at lunch.

NOW, I am at home and the windows are open. A storm had just gone through when I got home and it was cooling off. Now, the sounds outside are the crickets chirping and cars going by. The sky is getting darker and darker.

Look at the pictures they are showing on tv on the radar! Aaaahh! The pink is hail. The tv people are freaking out. They sent the weather guy down 71 into the worst of the storm - poor guy! Apparently there is some swirling in the clouds where the pink is. That has set off tornado warnings for the whole area.

Okie dokie... gotta go get ready to close windows and help the husband with dinner.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Canaan Valley West Virginia

Here he comes....
Originally uploaded by pwhyte.
Hiking at Canaan Valley was amazing. The rain, the color, the light... sooo much atmosphere on this hike. Just look at this picture... I couldn't stage this if I wanted to. Raindrops on every branch, a rich red carpet of leaves, filtered light.

We are definitely going back. I want to see this place in snow and in spring... and certainly again in the fall. I could spend hours and hours looking around, just watching the forest LIVE.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

scrap your walls!

Aaah, speaking of fall... it is thunderstorming like crazy right now! The back door is open, it feels wonderful! Not really much like fall though... Love thunder and lightning!

In scrapbooking news... I have another article posted on Crafty Places this week. Check out Scrap Your Walls: Love Always. Bill and Theresa and Bailey were this week's victims in my article. Muhaha! I am liking the weekly articles... forcing me to be creative. I want to be able to share more about what I do and how I do... I feel like I have mountains to learn, but I do know a few things that I can share already.

My husband was so sweet today. I asked him for a critique on the article since my mom is on vacation. I figured I'd get the usual: yes. no. that's nice. whatever. But he responded with a very SWEET email saying that the article was awesome and I really do have artist blood in me and it's so great that I'm passionate about scrapbooking. Awww... I love that guy.

And maybe I'm a praise junkie. So what. tee hee :-P

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

adventures in plumbing

Last Friday I visited my brother and sister-in-law. Friday night we had dinner at South Market Bistro. There is no such thing as a national spinach crisis here. Their food is purchased from local organic farms and prepared fresh. The menu is mouth-watering... and so much thought put into every dish. It was an experience. If I could have fit the place in my pocket (or at least in my ginormous trunk) to bring it home, I would have! (Especially the warm blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream.)

On Saturday we went to the dump to get rid of the guts of their kitchen. They are in the midst of a complete kitchen remodel. Of course, the dump is like a smorgasbord to me. My brother practically had to hold me back to keep me from rummaging around. I did manage to scavenge a few of his drawers and cabinet doors that I am sure you will soon be seeing here as craft projects.

Then we did a lot of shopping. Lowe's, Lincoln Interiors (another mouth-watering place), JoAnn, thrift store (more rummaging!), and of course Custom Cut-ups. It was about 4 in the afternoon by the time I really got around to being helpful.

My brother had to re-work the plumbing going into his kitchen... so I learned how to sweat pipes! I could sooo be a plumber's assistant. I'm really good at holding things. (Seriously - these were HOT pipes... and sometimes I had to use muscle. Geesh.)

They're fun people... I'm glad we got to spend a completely random Friday and Saturday together.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

bringing in fall

bringing in fall
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Fall was in the air this past week, wasn't it? The air is cooler and it moves more... the trees are starting to show the colors they've been fantasizing about all summer... things are changing!

I'm not a big fall person. Mainly because I'm not much of a winter person. And since fall ushers in winter, I really have no use for it. I shouldn't complain too much though, because each season really does have redeeming qualities. And as I learned in Phoenix, those long cold winters are THE reason we have such spectacular spring and summer. So I'll suck it up and deal for a few months so long as we have that.

My mums are not in such great shape this year. Not sure who was in charge of shaping and pruning them. But I did find a few to snip and put in this little flower frog vase. Mums are great in vases... I need to get to Trader Joe's for some more when these run out.

Happy autumn!

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm "published".

A few weeks back, right after the Last Scrapper Standing, but completely unrelated to that contest... I found some of my flickr artwork on a site called Crafty Places. This was the article someone had written about my work.

So I ended up exchanging a few emails with the gal who runs the site and she asked me to be on her design team. It's a pretty new web site, so there is the opportunity to grow as it grows. And the requirements were not too bad... a handful of entries per month. I also have the freedom to craft what I want and write what I want. So that is pretty nice. I'm still working on my ability to craft-on-command. :-)

Last week I submitted my first two articles. The first is an anniversary card I made for a friend. I really did make it in a hurry. But I wasn't in such a hurry that I couldn't photograph it. (There is always time for a photograph - especially when the light is good!) Cards are a fairly new subset of scrappin' for me. I got into them when I went to a rubber stamping convention with my sister-in-law back in April.

Which leads me to my second article... a scrapbook layout about Jen. When she was at our house for an all-day crop, we both answered quiz questions from a magazine we got at the crop. I kept her answers to make a page about her and she took mine. Since I had it fresh in my mind, I went ahead and used this as my article submission. I love this idea of capturing quiz answers in family members' own words. It really adds heritage value to your albums. I can just picture our future children reading about their Aunt Jen!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fisher-Price unveils T.M.X. Elmo - Yahoo! News

Fisher-Price unveils T.M.X. Elmo - Yahoo! News

Oh my... this has potential to CRACK ME UP. I mean the original was funny, but now knee-slapping and rolling over, pounding his arm. lol.

I can just laugh thinking about it. Go ahead, act like you don't think it's funny. I can give you my friend Jari's number if you want reminded of how funny Elmo is. :-)

Monday, September 18, 2006

photography weekend

a llama tending his wool
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
It was a total photography weekend. It seems like I haven't had one of those in a while. I have been snapping on the weekends until the battery dies, the card is full, or I get bored... and not really ending up with anything great or special.

But this weekend rocked! I got to do "still life" and people pics at the wool gathering. And more people portaits & candids at my house on Sunday. Portaits and candid people shots are not my best works. I'm much better with nature and inanimate objects, usually. And I'm not sure that I learned anything new about pictures or the camera... but more photos is more photos, right?!

The wool gathering pics were sort of a challenge because of the tinted light in the tents. One tent had a red and white striped roof and the other was yellow stripes. EEeeek! And you know I couldn't just leave them, right? I played with some adjustments in iPhoto... usually that is enough to tweak photos into shape, but I didn't have enough control over the color there. So I brought them into Photoshop Elements and used their automated tools. The Auto Color Correction did the trick. It was actually pretty amazing how it figured out what the right color was. The pictures of just yarn were the hardest because it's so hard to remember what the CORRECT color was. And after you play with it for a while... everything starts looking off and you have no idea from memory what the real colors were. (And I have pretty good color memory, mind you.) Also, probably a good thing I edited the pictures as soon as I got home, or they could have ended up REALLY crazy-looking!

When John saw this photo, he wanted to know why I didn't buy the toy llama... because it's so cute. He was also totally ok with my threats to bring home an angora rabbit. He's an odd one, my husband. :-)

Sunday, September 17, 2006


the toss
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
We had the gang over for grilled burgers, hot dogs, punch bowl dessert, and cornhole today. The weather was again gorgeous. Justin played his trumpet for us... so did Jari. Sarah and Jeremy later played beautiful music on blades of grass. I'm sure the neighbors were QUITE confused.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

a wool gathering

finely knitted yarns
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Today I went with my friend Ellen, her mom, sister, and neice to a wool gathering in Yellow Springs. I resisted the urge to take up knitting... I have plenty of other hobbies, that's for sure!

But I did take plenty of photos. the wool is just gorgeous... alpaca, mohair, silk, wool, cashmere, angora. And in every color and combination of colors imaginable. Mixed in with ribbon and beads. Yum! It's inspiration for scrapbooking and sewing to an extent. I did find some very cool buttons and even a few ceramic pieces to use on a scrapbook page.

It's a friends-filled weekend. I had dinner last night with Jenny and Becka while the rest of the gang was entertaining Jari at his bachelor outing. John didn't get to go because his flight back from DC was all messed up. I picked him up at the airport in DAYTON late last night.

Tonight we celebrated Allison's birthday at dinner w/her, Sarah, Amy, Andrew, and Jeremy. And we have plans for a get-together tomorrow to play some cornhole and cook out. It's a beautiful weekend... so glad for this weather.

Monday, September 11, 2006


September 11. A day for remembering.
Remembering hurts.

The stories and the pictures still make me cry. Big sobbing, get-a-paper-towel, cries. Tonight on the news they walked through the airplane hangar where they have saved much of the debris from the World Trade Center. There is a large "blob" of metal. Not sure how wide, but it was just over the reporter's head in height. It is 4 stories of the building where it got the hottest. It burned as hot as the Earth's core. Paper was instantly carbonized (you can still read the words on it). And surely there were people on those four floors. And this blob of metal is their grave.

Wouldn't it be nice if some of my tears could help alleviate the pain of folks who lost loved ones that day? I wish it could be that way.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's amazing who I look like!

It's amazing who I look like!
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
This is HILARIOUS to me! I'm either a Columbian bikini model, funny girl Goldie Hawn, or the oh-so French Audrey Tatou. OR... I could be princess Leia!! Natalie Imbruglia... whutever. Have you heard me sing?

Ok... find out who you look like and report back. :-)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

photo contest

It's time to submit 2 photos to my company's photo contest. Every year they produce a 52-week calendar that is distributed to everyone in the company (and to the employees of the company that publishes it... just because they like it so much!)

Well, you all know how important photography is to me... not just for scrapbooking, but as a hobby in itself. So getting in the calendar is an annual goal of mine!

The only words I have to go by are to look at last year's calendar. They say, "Many of the photos have a very obvious center of interest or activity. Look for photos in your collection that are a little different and unique." Location seems important... world places. Some past favorites are a pig on the beach in Costa Rica and of course sunsets, mountains, people, and architecture are popular also.

I emailed the group to my family and friends already to solicit some feedback. I asked everyone to choose 2 photos. Right now, the photo of the Detroit skyline (pictured here) is in the lead with 6 votes. The next closest is the Poison Dart Frog bunny with 3 votes. So if you haven't voted yet... click here see the whole set and let me know what you like.

Entries are due by Friday, September 15. I should know by November if I made it or not. THANKS! :-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

what's next

lastScrapperStanding all
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Last Scrapper Standing was fun. It pretty much consumed all of August though! Poor John had to take over on laundry, housekeeping, and making meals. In the end, I didn't win, but I do have a beautiful bunch of scrapbook pages to show for the effort!

I spent the long weekend in WV with the fam. We ate good food, took some photos, sat on the porch, chased goldie at the pond, drove the tractor, and played Rook. It was relaxing and rejuvenating. Just what I needed to re-group and get my mind around everything I need to do this month.

September is the calm before the storm. We have a TON going on in October this year. So I am spending this month catching up on stuff around the house and hopefully getting a few Christmas projects out of the way in advance.

So that's pretty much my life in a nutshell. Now... I wonder how my girls in SCOTLAND are doing?! Did you get there? All is going well?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

tick tock tick tock

lastScrapperStanding 4
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
Last night I finally got some veg-out time. I watched Project Runway for the first time ever. Normally, it'd be something totally up my alley. But lately I feel a bit removed from fashion. Probably because my cute clothes don't fit any more. Bah! But the effers and all the scrappers on 2 peas are talking about it, so I checked it out.

Heck, I feel removed from popular tv, too. We watch King of Queens during dinner and then it's off to scrappin' for me. Lost and Grey's Anatomy will be starting soon! I'm psyched!

As for all the scrappin... the month of August has been such a journey. Last Scrapper Standing has ruled our household. It has given me an opportunity to show off my skills and build some new skills. Having a challenge where you compete against the others forces you to stretch what you would normally do. I have tricks that I remix from time to time for challenges that arise in my general scrappin... but those weren't going to be nearly artistic enough for the competition.

For the final round, I spent about 10 hours on my layout. Probably more than that considering that I sat on the design for about a day and a half to make sure I had really worked through all the issues. That helped so much. Because when I actually put it to paper, it worked. The little cars and the ferris wheel were the right scale and didn't hang off the edge too much. And all put together, it really looked like a ferris wheel.

Only a couple things really perplexed me. When I first put the ferris wheel together, it looked flat. It didn't have much depth. I could have stacked a piece of cardboard or 2 to get the look, but I think it should have been handled with color. Something about the colors needed to be different to make the wheel pop from the base. Not sure. I'd be open to suggestions on that. (Like shadows in chalk on the background or a heavier black line on one edge?)

The other design flaw was the amount of empty space in the middle. It feels like something is missing. And maybe this goes back to the lack of depth. Maybe I should have added some flashing lights to the spokes. That'd draw the eye to the center. :-)

And John is so cute in his support of this. He joined me on the big comfy chair last night to look through all the entries one by one to see what the competition looked like.

Between Last Scrapper Standing and the 3 crops I've been to since April, I have gotten mad scrapping done this summer. And usually summer is a slow time for that hobby. For now, at least, the creativity is flowing and it feels good!

Ok... well wish me luck on the challenge. Can't wait til they post the results. :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I am so tired. My entry for the final round of last scrapper standing is completed and I am exhausted. John seems to think it's a winner... but then, he did have some input on this one... so what does he know?

Tomorrow I will post it for all the world to see... and judge. Yikes!

Judging scrapping... that's like an oxymoron, isn't it? Like having an opinion that's wrong. Well, let me just say this month has been some of my finest scrapping ever, so whatever happens this challenge has ruled! And I can't wait to apply my new scrappin' fever to other projects. Stay tuned...


Sunday, August 27, 2006

about dare 3.5...

Well it has been a whirlwind since Thursday night, I tell you. I got home from a debacle of a FORK outing and all I could think about was sleep. I had spent the previous evenings readying dare 3 and working hard at work... so I was pooped. I sat down with my laptop thinking I'd just catch up for a few minutes before bed... and not worry about the dare until Friday when it was announced (if I even made it... the competition is getting fierce).

Well, wouldn't you know... they threw us a curveball. Dare 3.5 to weed out a few more people. And this one had a tighter time constraint. It was announced late Thursday evening and due Saturday by midnight. Eeek! I had an ALL DAY crop to attend at Red Letter Journals on Saturday! So this meant I had to post by Saturday morning before we left. So I got my pen and my think-journal and started coming up with a concept.

The challenge was to use a wet medium. I'd used paints before in my scrapbook pages. I could immediately think of a few predictable ways to use paint. But what would help me stand out? I have very limited abilities when it comes to wielding a paint brush. So I thought, keep it simple. But whatever I paint, it needs to make an impact on the page.

My answer to dare 3.5 is posted on Two Peas in a Bucket. I've had that piece of glass for a while. My grandma had given it to me to use for x-acto cutting, but I had a self-healing mat, so I didn't need it. And I had never considered using it for any project. but this could work. It wasn't big enough for me to be elaborate. I was keeping it simple this time. The glass was a bit blueish tinted, so that led me to this photo. I've been wanting to work with this photo for a while. It's one of my favorites from this year. And the quote I had seen at Hobby Lobby and had written it down just that week. Everything just fell into place for this one.

So this morning, the effer gals announced the next challenge to allow us time to get going on it. This afternoon they posted the list of folks moving on. I get so nervous checking the list each time!! My name was there. Let me look again. . . yep, still there. 1 of 27 remaining out of the 480 who started this contest. I've created 4 beautiful scrappin' works of art and learned so much along the way.

So I am off to brainstorm 10 patterned papers on one layout. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Good news: I made it. 40 of 89 moved on. (Started with 480!)

On to the final round(s) . . .

Oh lordy.
Bad news: There is a challenge #3.5. Must use a wet medium. Well this is gonna get me right at my inner artist, eh?

Worse news: It's due SATURDAY by midnight!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

last scrapper standing 3 :: my favorite things

My entry is ready! It was actually ready last night. Overachiever, huh?!

Not really... I knew tonight was visit-with- baby- Reagan night, so I worked until it was a masterpiece last night.

My mind may not be processing this challenge thing right. Every week I think BIGGER, rather than more creative. It is still creative, it's just very time consuming when you can't say no to all the ideas that flood your mind. And you know what sucks? When you get it done and the PERFECT smaller design of the same info (if not more) pops into your head. Hello?! Where was that idea 5 days ago?! Next time...

So this is about My Favorite Things. Ironically enough, things that happen to be round. The cover shows a pair of earrings, my camera lens, and the emblem from my car. (Obviously, these were the random items that didn't fit in the categories designated for the book. Sometimes the creativity defines itself!)

The book is not really an accordian book, but it does fold out into multiple pages. I considered that 8 pages could be done on 4, front and back. But that wasn't how I wanted it to look. I was actually aiming for miles and miles of circular pages. :-)

And the backs are blank. Which could be a problem, but I really see it as an opportunity for more scrappin'. I can think of some parallel or future themes along the same lines to fill up the back. And of course, I'd stick with the same rules: all circles, no straight lines!

Wish me luck. I now have 24+ hours of anticipation and nail biting...

Friday, August 18, 2006

who rocks the scraps?!

Originally uploaded by brungrrl.

I made the cut this week on Last Scrapper Standing!

This is such the thrill. My goal was to just make it past round one. Well I accomplished that. But wouldn't you know, once I had a taste of it, I really wanted to make it to week 3! Well now I have. We are down to about 89 people from about 400. Looks like I'm top 25%. Go me.

Next week's challenge... circles!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crashing Internet Explorer

Well.... on a technical note... it seems that my blog crashes Internet Explorer. Uhhh.... I don't know what to do. Just one more reason to use Firefox, I guess. :-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

last scrapper standing #2: Life is a Gift

Whew! Entry submitted just under the wire. The challenge this week was 13 photos on one layout.

I posted it on Two Peas... have a look. This one also took two evenings to complete. I got some good inspiration from all kinds of folks. Funny when you tell people what the next challenge is, they immediately say "hmm", and their eyes roll to the left as their right brain starts churning up ideas. But I was sure glad to have the help on this one... there are just too many directions to go with many photos on a page.

Also, you can click on the link at right to see the other photos of the layout. C'mon, you know you are dying to unwind that string and see what's inside!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

life is a gift

I have a book titled Glimpses of Grace. It is by Madeleine L'Engle. She wrote the much famous children's novel A Wrinkle in Time that I read when I was probably 11 years old. That book was a life-changer for me. It was when I realized a lot of things about life... like that God is everywhere... really everywhere. That he is in science and relationships with other people and in your heartache and your joy. I went on to read more of Madeleine L'Engle's books. Each one was powerful and inspirational to me.

So when I discovered Glimpses of Grace as an adult, I was THRILLED. It's excerpts from both her books for both children and adults that serve as meditations on God and life in general. The book is organized as a reading for each day. It takes 5 minutes to read an entry. But it makes you think and fuels your day.

Today's entry is a father talking to his daughter. He tells her to love life. He says, "You can love it even when you're in anguish." There is something that most people would be afraid to say to each other in the midst of a crisis. But it's true. If you don't love life when it is the worst, how can you appreciate the best of the best times? It's hard to digest when we are in the deepest throws of sorrow and pain that it is something that is good for us. It's hard to understand that the worst heartache you can imagine serves any purpose that is good. But you have to love life and keep faith that there is a reason.

These words were reinforced at church today when our pastor talked about the origins of the hymn "It is well with my soul". The author had lost all his possessions in the Chicago Fire and his 4 daughters had died crossing the Atlantic. But upon feeling the weight of the anguish caused by these events... he wrote a song about eternal hope. He was loving life even in anguish.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Last Scrapper Standing - Dare #1

Dare #1... here is the gist of it:
Journaling. You must create a layout that has all of your journaling on top of your photo. All of it. And it has to be a decent chunk of story...not just a sentence. We want to see you creatively include a sizable story on your photo (or photos). You may add a title, embellishments and whatever you like to the rest of your page, but all the journaling MUST be on your photo.

JOHN: 1+1=us

Shwew. I did it. Only two evenings on this. (Not full evenings, mind you... but my brain did need to rest on the ideas from evening one before pulling it all together.) Don't laugh... I'm slow. It'll get better with practice.

This was not the photo I wanted to use for this dare... but it was among the photos I wanted to scrap, so it's good to have. And the dare provided plenty of inspiration. I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Here is list of stuff included on the page:
  • Paper from Urban Lily
  • Paper from KI Memories
  • Bazzill cardstock
  • Tab from ScrapWorks
  • Stamp from Verses Rubber Stamps
  • Rub-ons from EK Success
  • Rub-ons from Making Memories
  • "Us" sticker from American Crafts
  • Zig Vellum Writer in black
  • Zig Opaque Writer in white
  • Flash cards: vintage school supplies!
There is journaling on the photo. If you don't have a vellum writer and an opaque writer pen, you gotta get them. They ROCK for scrapping. They come in all colors, but a good army of black and white should go a long way. Writing on photos was already my new favorite scrapping technique, so I was really excited that it was the first dare! The journaling reads:

"Since we've been married... I've discovered... You measure in whole inches and ticks. You like lima beans but not peas. You were into model rockets as a kid... and you still are. You cook, clean, AND do laundry. Your love for me never waivers --> (Even when I'm a punk!)"

The tab was a "because it's cute" purchase a few weeks back at a local scrapbook store that is going out of business. (It was also on sale... but look how well it matches... how could I resist?!)

There is also journaling underneath the photo. The hidden words are more personal... so it makes sense that you have to work to get to them. This journaling is on orange cardstock that I distressed. Another favorite technique of mine. Basically... I get to beat the crap out of a piece of perfectly good paper. (Theresa and Jen would so cringe over this.) The inside reads

"We have been married for one year. At times, it seems like WE have always been. Other times it seems like we have so far to go together. Coming home to you is like coming HOME. Our live & relationship fills me with joy and contentment I would never have dreamed possible."

Add some rub-ons, doodle a border, it's good to go. Gluestick it and go. :-)

The lettering I did with a template. Sorry, not sure who made the template... I've had it for ages. I filled in the letters with a design that matches the striped paper and colored it in with colored pencils. (Gosh, I like coloring almost as much as cutting and pasting!!) I love the way these letters turned out. Totally worth the time and effort!

Now, my favorite part. The FLASH CARDS. Jen and Theresa didn't get how I would ever make use of addition flash cards and primer word cards in my scrapbook. Well, how fun is this! (Ok, I admit, I'm not sure what the heck I will do with 6+7, 3+3, etc... but I will be sure to blog about it when I figure it out!) The "us" primer card got cut down so it fit nicely in the sum area on the 1+1 card. It got distressed with chalk and ink so it stands out a bit. Add ribbon, staple, gluestick... title done.

This layout was pretty darn fun. And as soon as I get the photo I need from my mom to do my original idea, I will do it as well... with journaling ON the photo just like the dare. But we'll see if I have time to get that done in the next week while it's fresh in my mind. HOPEFULLY I will make it to week 2 of the dares. I have no illusions of winning the whole thing, but if I can make the first cut, I'll be happy. Wish me luck.

I'll leave you with the words of the stamp I used on this layout (love this stamp... so many people in my life to whom it applies):

Life gives us treasures to discover like the earth, the sky, and beautiful people like you.

Monday, August 07, 2006

happy 31st birthday to me!

happy 31st birthday to me!
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
I had a most wonderful 31st birthday. We stayed home and didn't do much at all! I got greetings by email, phone, post, and in person. My cousins Katie and Kyle called me... they are so sweet to remember me when I suck and STILL haven't sent their birthday gifts to them!

My wonderful husband was OH so thoughtful and got me a card full of gifts. I got a day of scrappin at a local scrapbook store that should be a ton of fun. How cool for him to get me a whole day to myself! I also get dinner and a new computer accessory I've been jonesing for. (Mom & Dad chipped in bigtime on that also.)

That evening we had some of the gang over for ice cream sundaes. The sundaes were yummy and the company was delightful. Jari showed up with yet another card and FLOWERS from him and Becka.

How lucky is this old lady?! :-)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

top o' the mornin' to you!

We visited the Dublin Irish Festival tonight. It was huge this year! I think we only made it through a quarter of the place. We ended up the night at the Prodigals' show. The Prodigals freakin' rock! The lead singer is hot, hot, hot. No really, John agrees!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

she sells seashells down by the seashore

Just a quick post to show off a shadowbox I made for my Aunt Joan. It is a thank you present for letting us crash with her at the beach in early July.

The shadowbox is from JoAnn. The sticker letters are Basic Grey. The background paper I got at a rubber stamping convention in Akron last spring. It's a great textured paper from August Art Paper. The photos are by me and the sea shells are from Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina.

The journaling reads, "Just as the shells in their fragmented beauty tell the story of the SEA... so too are our memories of days on the beach." My cousin Jessica wasn't much into picking up shells on the beach. Most of the shells on this stretch of beach are pretty crappy looking and mostly small and broken. But I LOVE seashells... so I was a determined beachcomber. Jessica tried to catch my enthusiasm, but it just wasn't happening. When I got home and cleaned and sorted the shells... I just kept thinking they were as beautiful to me then as they were that day on the beach when I picked them up. And I couldn't help but think that each shell used to be whole and a tiny creature lived there. And the creature probably lived out its natural life in that shell and when it passed away (or was eaten by a larger sea creature), its shell was tossed about by the sea - probably ferociously enough to break it to bits. And then it slowly washed up onto the shore to bask in the sun. That's when I came along "looking for little pretties."

OK... so my point... those clams, crabs, and conches lives had meaning and even though they got eaten (let's just admit that's what happened to them!)... their legacy lives on. The vessel of their lives is now a memento of memories from that vacation. It all has meaning... and even the smallest of creatures can have the most profound impact by doing hardly anything at all but living here on earth.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

scrap fever

Last weekend my sister-in-law Jen went with me to Wooster to my brother and other sister-in-law's house. We attended a weekend crop hosted by Custom Cut-ups of Wooster. Oh my goodness... WHAT a great weekend.

When Jen got to my house we both unwound by talking about our crappy week. With THAT out of the way... we could start filling up on better stuff! We chatted all the way to Wooster. When we got there, Theresa drove us to Lodi to a Scrapbook Outlet. The outlet had a lot of stuff, not really outlet prices though. And of course... we yacked it up all the way there and back.

OH... while we were at the outlet we stopped by the java joint in the food court. The owner gave us 2 drinks and a cinnamon roll for free and suggested we stay a bit and listen to the musician he had brought in. There was a lot of drama surrounding the music. Apparently one of the other food court vendors had complained about the noise and tried to nix the music... but the java guy was persistent in keeping the music. At least, that's what we understood of the story... it was kind of hard to hear him telling it. :-)

For dinner we let my brother join us for pizza in Amish country. Not sure how that works out... but it does! The pizza was awesome. I think the name of the town was Friendsburg. A little farming town. Apparently they have bring your tractor to school day at the local school there... so I hear.

The next morning we got up early. Scrap weekends are like Christmas. I want to go to bed early so I can wake up and it be scrap day already! (Or CRAP day... as I said, mixing the words CROP and SCRAP.... oh well, I'm a dufus.) Theresa knows how I like to start my day with coffee... so we stopped at Tulipan Hungarian Pastry & Coffee Shop in downtown Wooster. Yummers on both pastries and coffee!

We were at the Best Western by 9:30am. The energy was already in motion because most of the scrappers started on Friday evening. Oh yeah! Find our tables and get set up. Our goodie bags ROCKED. There was a Karen Foster kit with paper and elements, several awesome sticker sheets, and a magazine. AND... we got $10 coupons to spend at the store.

The three of us are kind of picky about having our photos sorted and ready to scrap when we get there. So we don't mess around with sorting and organizing at the crop. So... we started scrapping. We share tools, paper, and ideas and help each other out when we get creative block. And we poke plenty of fun at each other. The girls make fun of my glue stick and my non-archival free habits (oops). And we laugh at Jen for being over organized. (Really though... she is a master of organization.)

That afternoon we took a break and went to the store to use our $10 coupons. There was a free gift when you bought so much American Crafts paper and stickers. The gift was WAY tempting... so we all three indulged. The paper is gorgeous... and I have already used most of the free gift... so I guess it was pretty cool, too. The Custom Cut-ups store is VERY cool. They have an extraordinary selection of stuff. And some very cool ideas on display in the store.

Speaking of ideas... the make-n-takes we did at the crop RULED. One was a page about ourselves, complete with a photo. Another was an idea for using multiple papers from the same line on one layout (this was handy Saturday night when my brain was fried). And the coolest one that I haven't finished yet is a fold-out accordian-style book that we made with 2 boards and 3 sheets of cardstock.

I got about 12 pages done all weekend... this is good for me. Sure, sure. Theresa got a whopping 30-some pages done. We had an awesome time. It is so sad to pack up and leave on Sunday. Can't wait for the next one!