Monday, July 27, 2009

To Spiral Up or Down? That is the question....

In perusing photos from past trips, I found this terrific photo I took of the spiral staircase in the Vatican Museum which got me thinking about my latest downward spiral into the summer doldrums. How can one have summer doldrums? Well, we've had weird, ookie (that is a technical term...honest!) weather this summer, the hubby is still gone, and I have also been location bound for far too long. You see, I'm a wanderer: I love to travel and see new things. My father warned my husband shortly after getting married that I have always been a busy, on-the-go type person and that he'd better get used to it. Joe hasn't always embraced this part of my personality but for the most part, he goes along with it. If nothing else, it has proven to be a blessing for a family that moves a lot! Getting back to my downward spiral, I find that I get a little depressed if I can't get out and DO things, like travel. Between Alex's summer job, Jordan's summer enrichment program, and now dealing with the aftermath of Jordan's surgery, it has been difficult for us to get out and about for the past few weeks. Don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge the kids the opportunities they've had this summer and I'm thankful that Jordan's surgery has been a success but I'm starting to get a little stir crazy! I said all that to say that I decided to keep on the positive side and create a list of ten things that make me happy (not in order of importance):
1. Cows! Mooooooo!
2. My children
3. Grape Bubble Yum
4. Upcoming Family Camp in Belgium (travel! yippee)
5. Jokes
6. Living in Europe
7. Joy in knowing that God never gives up on me, despite myself
8. A wonderful, sexy, fantabulous husband who loves me, despite myself :)
9. Chasing Mr. Bubbles around the coffee table (Bubbles is a West Highland terrier owned by Alex's clarinet instructor...he occasionally enjoys sticking his face up into the bell of Alex's clarinet while she is playing. What a hoot!)
10. The friends and family who have encouraged me while Joe is gone
How can I not feel better after compiling this list? So I've elected to "spiral up" instead of down and be thankful. To spread the wealth of happiness, I've decided to have a few giveaways this week! Free crafting goodies will make all the crafters in my life happy, right? So here's what you need to do: respond to this post (click on the word "comments" directly below this post) and in your post, I want you to give me a list of the ten things that make you happy. All comments need to be posted on my blog by this coming Friday, July 31st. On August 1st, Joe will have been gone for four months so beginning that day I will draw one winner each day for four days. Think how much better you'll feel for writing down your list of "happy things" and know that you might win free crafting goodies at the same time! For you non-crafters, if you want to play along, I'd love to read about your ten happy things as well. Hope to see your posts soon!

Milk Made with Pizazz!

Being a cow fan, I couldn't resist ordering Lauren Meader's latest Papertrey Ink. Timeless Template called "Milk Made". How can you not love this adorable carrier and matching milk cartons? Combine this terrific template with Stampin' Up!'s new In Color papers and you just can't deny the cuteness factor. Hopefully my Sunday Stamp Club enjoyed this project yesterday because there is alot of cutting and scoring but I think the finished product makes it all worthwhile. If you're interested in purchasing the template for this project, visit Papertrey Ink.'s website for information on how to download instructions. For $5.00, you receive 18 color pages of design information, plus template download information for both large and small size cartons and carriers. You can find even more template ideas by visiting Lauren's blog. Thanks for checking out my latest posting!
Supplies: SU! Petal Pizzaz stamps, SU! Razzleberry Lemonade DSP, SU! Mambo Melon, Crushed Curry and Whisper White cardstock, SU! Mambo Melon, Crushed Curry, and Rich Razzleberry Classic Ink, SU! Crushed Curry polka dot grosgrain ribbon, SU! Scallop Circle, 1 3/8" and Scallop Border punches, Marvy Uchida Super Jumbo and Giga Circle and Scallop circle punches, pink cotton twine, dimensionals, Scor-Tape, Scor-Pal, Crop-A-Dile, piercing tool, SU! rhinestone brads, SU! vellum cardstock

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blogging for Therapy

It's 4 a.m. and I'm supposed to be sleeping but sleep seems to be far off in the distance so I'm parked in front of the computer, as usual. My new goal is to shut the computer off at night so that I'm not tempted to check e-mail and browse Facebook, thereby getting sucked into a vortex of "time death" whereby my day is wasted playing frivolous games like "Farmville". Of course, I forgot to shut the computer off last night so where do I drift when I'm awakened at 0'dark thirty by an unhappy tummy? The computer, of course. Anyway, I attempted to utilize my time wisely by sorting through photos from our trip to Belgium to post here for family and the hubby to view when I decided to browse my list of blogs that inspire me. Recently, a designer named Christine Middlecamp was featured as a guest designer on Ali Edwards blog and I was so inspired by the featured project, I bookmarked her blog for future viewing and this morning seemed to be the perfect time to do so. As I was reading through her blog, I was stunned to learn that Christine lost her husband to cancer last year and is raising her son alone. I was partly moved because Joe's Aunt Jinger is currently battling cancer but also because Christine is raising a son who is just a few years old...just a little guy. Her story and courage really touched me. The artwork featured on her blog is so bright and bubbly and inspiring that it made me want to craft and create and visit my own meager little blog to make it better. So then I'm back to loading photos like a good girl when suddenly I look at the above photo and start bawling. Yes, bawling! It hit me that we had taken this wonderful trip to Belgium only Joe wasn't with us and how I'm often just as alone in raising my children as the designer whose husband died. (I'm sorry if this is too intense for a blog posting so feel free to click elsewhere to a happier place on the Internet.) While writing and crafting are sources of therapy for me, sometimes the best thing is to just break down and have a good cry! I try so hard to be strong for Joe, for the kids, for the people in my life who need me that I forget that it is okay NOT to be Super-Mom, Super-Wife, Super-Person and end up bawling in front of my computer like I am now. I guess I feel like I shouldn't grieve so deeply for my missing husband when I live such a blessed life. Since Joe has been deployed I've been stunned by the number of people who have come out of the woodwork, so to speak, to encourage me so I guess I feel guilty for breaking down. Cards, phone calls, e-mail, invitations to lunch or game night: all have been plentiful and such an encouragement. Joe's aunt is fighting for her life and I'm crying because Joe couldn't be here for a family trip! Seems silly and trivial when viewed from that perspective, doesn't it? Anyway, I know it's okay for me to cry and perhaps it will help me to have more empathy and compassion for others when they struggle through the challenges of life. Well, I guess I should end my blogging therapy here and attempt to get more sleep. If not, I'll probably see you around Facebook :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Altered Notepad Tutorial!

During this week's Tuesday Stamp club we worked on two projects, the first of which is this altered notepad. Tasha Enderby presented a similar project at a demo meeting last year (a very cute project, I might add) and then I was once again checking out Angi Juda's site and found a video tutorial for this project that was slightly different from the one Tasha presented. I thought I'd combine the best of both! While you can see an excellent video tutorial on Chic'N Scratch, I'm going to try to create my own step-by-step pictorial. Have some patience as you view the photos as the lighting at my craft desk is horrible!
Here's a close-up of the top of the pad. Simple but pretty!

For the local folks, POPS printing on Ramstein Air Base will cut legal size pads for you, with three long pads possible from one large pad. I paid $1.50 to have five pads cut (it's 50 cents a cut but they were able to stack all five together and cut them in just three cuts. That comes out to 10 cents a pad for 15 notepads...not bad!) If they're not busy, they'll cut them while you wait. POPS is located in the 435th Services building across from Mom's Video. Okay, for the rest of you folks, you can visit your local mom and pop printing place or Staples/OfficeMax and they should be able to cut them as well. I had them cut to 3" x10" so I could fit the background piece from a standard 8 1/2 x 11" piece of cardstock.

Cut your notepad base to 3 1/2" x 10 1/2" and randomly stamp your background image along the edges. I used the new In Color Rich Razzleberry Stampin' Up! cardstock for the base with matching ink for a tone-on-tone look; sponge edges if desired and set the base piece aside.

Cut your color layer 2 3/4" by 1 3/4" and the white layer 2 1/2" x 1 1/2". Adhere the back of the white layer and apply to the color layer. Adhere a piece of 3/4" x 1 1/2" Designer Series Paper to one side of the white layer. Center and stamp your sentiment on the white layer; set aside.

Cut cardstock 3" x 4 1/4": score at 2" and 2 1/4". Fold along score lines to make foldover piece for top of notepad.

Apply dimensionals to the back of the previously layered piece and adhere to foldover base.

Apply Scor-tape or Sticky Strip to top backside of notepad and the front top strip of the notepad. Remove backing and carefully apply the foldover piece. Do not adhere foldover piece in front to the notepaper! Only apply Scor-tape to the top strip of the notepad so you can still rip your notepaper off the pad when your project is finished.

Once the foldover piece is adhered to the notepad, apply long strips of Scor-Tape to the back of the notepad as shown. Removed the adhesive backing, center the notepad over the base, and adhere to the cardstock base.

Voila! Your notepad is nicely secured to the base and now you're ready for some added embellishment.

I I stamped a coordinating butterfly from the Great Friend stamp set, trimmed the excess cardstock from the edges and applied the image to the front of the notepad with a dimensional. A dimensional pearl from the SU! Pretties kit was adhered with a mini glue dot. Simple and easy! Thanks for patiently going through each step. Please let me know what you thought of my maiden tutorial voyage...suggestions are always welcome! Happy crafting!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So Tweet and the latest happenings

I know I promised to post pics from my trip to Belgium but I haven't quite found the time to weed through them all. Tomorrow is sort of a "Home Day" for me, with no appointments in the afternoon, so maybe I can squeeze in some crafting and blog updating. We've already decided to make breakfast for dinner, pull out the bed in the couch, and have breakfast in bed for dinner. Yippee! Anyway, I thought I'd post some random things since they were on my mind. I'll start with a project first. Isn't this a tweet, I mean sweet, card?! Once again inspired by Angi Juda's site, I CASE'd this idea for a workshop I did the last week of June. Very simple design and easy to put together. Sometimes it's nice to have a project that's quick, just to experience a quick jolt of satisfaction at having completed a project.
Here's a peek at the inside. I just love the SU! Cheep Talk stamp set with its pudgy little birdie.

July 3rd was an absolutely crazy day weatherwise! I had attempted to put together a weekend trip to Paris and so many things seemed to bar the way that perhaps it was a hint to cancel the trip. After the storm subsided on Friday, I was glad that I was not out traveling in such horrendous weather. The day started off well enough, with sunshine but a smattering of cloud cover and LOTS of humidity. As the day progressed this dark, ominous cloud formation appeared on the horizon and next thing I know, we're being pelted by heavy downpour that turns into hail. That's right, July!!!! I've lived in Germany for many years and this is the first time I remember a hailstorm in the middle of summer. I don't know if you can spot the hail pellets scattered over my yard but the above photo is taken from my office window after the hail had subsided. My poor plants took a beating!

When the storm began, I opened the window to the office to watch the rain and a butterfly fluttered over to the window and almost flew into the house! It was a breathtaking moment to watch this beautiful butterfly fluttering under the eave of the house, looking for a refuge from the storm and watching to see if it was going to fly into the house or stay outside. Instead it took cover from the storm just outside the window and stayed for quite some time. There's a life lesson in there somewhere but I'm still pondering on it. Thankfully the yucky weather passed on and we had a gorgeous 4th of July.

I was on Skype with Joe today and looked over to see Alex asleep in her chair. She was helping Jordan play a game on her computer and at some point, she fell asleep. Eventually he left to play Legos in his room but she remained, just snoozing away. I'm sure she'll be happy to see I've posted this on my blog! Hee, hee...evil mommy laughter.....

Recently I purchased a letter "A" on Etsy for the space above my craft desk and it finally came in last week. I love it! I had actually planned to put it in the space above the punches but it didn't look right so I moved the clock above the door and put the stamp quote and a moo card above the punches and put the letter where the clock used to hang. I also added another kitchen bar from Ikea since I've expanded my inventory of punches. The space where the letter hangs still seems a little bare but I'm just happy to have the space organized a bit better until I can figure out what I want to do differently. I know, having a giant letter "A" on the wall is not the most exciting thing that can happen in life but for some reason the pretty font and bright red color makes me happy. We all need a bit of whimsy in life from time to time!
So, I guess that's the end of today's random musings. Lately I've been spending time on other artist's blogs and feeling that my blog leaves something to be desired. Do I change to Typepad or stay with Blogger? How much more time can I spend crafting so I have more exciting projects on my blog that will entice folks to check it out or does it really matter to me? Where do I need to rearrange things in my life that will bring it into better balance with things that REALLY matter to me, like my family and my relationship with God? Can I make it through another three months of deployment? Just stuff I've been thinking about lately. Probably not interesting for anyone reading this but it sure is therapeutic just to write about it! So, off to bed and a little time reading a new devotion book for Bible study on Friday. Until next time!

Number of cows visiting my pasture...


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