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.